Voyages of Sarah Jean II

Ketchikan to Juneau: May 23 - May 31, 2017

12 June 2017
Beth
Ketchikan, Revillagigedo Island

55' 21.0" N, 131' 41.1" W

We arrived at the dock in Ketchikan at 11:00 am from Foggy Bay and the sun came out! The way the marinas work in Alaska is you call the harbour master as you are nearing the town either by phone or on VHF Channel 73. After giving them your overall length and draft they will assign you a berth. The marinas in Alaska all seem to operate this way. It works well. We were assigned to a slip in Bar Harbour Marina which is at the north end of town. It was a 30 minute walk into town which we didn't mind as we needed the exercise. Bar Harbour is also close to Safeway which is good for provisioning and to the laundromat. Thomas Basin is the marina in the city center. It's closer to all the action, shops, restaurants, museums and the cruise ship terminal! So it depends on your preference and what's important to you, easy provisioning and walking or being close to downtown.

Clearing in to Alaska was a breeze. We simply called US Customs after docking. A friendly customs officer came down to our boat at the dock, asked us a few questions and completed his paperwork. NO questions about food or alcohol. So don't worry about the produce or meat you are bringing into Alaska.

Ketchikan has lots to offer due to the cruise ship traffic. They often have 4-8 cruise ships per day, 4 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. We weren't as bothered as we thought we might be by the cruise ship patrons. We enjoyed talking to the locals who owned shops in Ketchikan, the bookstore, the quilt and yarn store, and the gift shops. Creek St. is a photographer's delight with its wooden boardwalk and colourful buildings. The "Discovery Centre" is a must see with excellent displays of Alaskan life, fishing, mining, logging, tourism and native history. Overall we really liked Ketchikan, our first Alaska town. We stayed 2 nights.

Meyer's Chuck, Cleveland Peninsula

55' 44.3" N, 132' 15.5" W

The narrow channel in Ketchikan was busy as we left with float planes taking off, cruise ships arriving, humpback whales "bubble feeding", numerous other boats leaving and a current! So keep a watchful eye. We had fueled up south of town when we arrived so we were good to go. The weather is still cool in May and we continued to wear our toques and gloves. The snow capped mountains of Prince of Wales Island to the west were beautiful as we sailed up Clarence Strait. The Alaskan ferry passed us going south.

We wanted to go to Meyer's Chuck on a recommendation from a friend and really enjoyed its quaint feel. We decided to anchor as there was a good NW wind blowing in the anchorage and we didn't want to get pinned on the dock. Shortly after anchoring a 112' MV "Shadowfax" steamed into the bay and used its many thrusters to parallel park at the dock taking up all the available space! A small Canadian Nordic Tug "Sandpiper II" that came in before "Shadowfax" was left to anchor out like us. Then a local man and woman pulled up to our boat in their skiff to inform us that we had anchored on the "runway"! Apparently a float plane was scheduled to arrive at Meyer's Chuck in 10 min and he needed the whole length of the bay to land. So we quickly pulled up the anchor and sure enough the float plane arrived. He aborted the first attempt to land and circled around and was successful the second time. After he left we reanchored back in our original spot. There weren't a lot of other choices in the bay. We took a walk ashore but didn't meet any locals. It seemed as though most of the buildings were summer homes. There used to be a school here and the government built the beautiful new dock for the school kids. Now it's just used by the cruisers! We became aware of the size of the tides when we were in Meyer's Chuck. It was a 24' tide that day and the bay looked totally different at low tide!

Wrangell, Wrangell Island

56' 27.4" N, 132' 23.0" W

There was a strong NW wind blowing so we decided to take the more inland route through Zimovia Strait to Wrangell. The route up Clarence Strait would have given us NW winds on the nose. We did enjoy a short sail across Ernest Sound and spotted several whale spouts silhouetted in the sun on this bluebird day. We were assigned to the Heritage Marina in Wrangell by the harbour master. It is a nice new marina (2007) with enough depth for us. The downtown marina is closer to town but not good for boats with draft. "S/V Vagabon" was beside us at the dock, Dave & Liska from Seattle whom we had met in Port McNeil. We discussed strategies for transiting the Wrangell Narrows the next day and then we all walked the 30 min into town. There was 1 cruise ship in dock. Wrangell has a western feel to it and is smaller than Ketchikan, only 3,000 people. They have a number of tours available for visiting the nearby Le Conte Glacier or the Anan Wildlife Conservatory where you can observe bears feasting on salmon in the river in July & Aug.

Petersburg, Mitkof Island and the Wrangell Narrows

56' 48.6" N, 132' 57.9" W

Norm figured out the timing for the famous Wrangell Narrows. From all reports it sounded very intimidating...be at the start of the Narrows at Port Alexander 3 hours prior to high slack at the Summit. The Summit is 2/3 of the way through the Narrows. We would ride the flood to the summit and then ride the ebb out to Petersburg. The whole transit turned out to be quite easy. For anyone who has ever dealt with Yuculta or Dent Rapids in BC this was a piece of cake. The current was never greater than 2-3 knots. It was a lovely ride through beautiful countryside with cottages and people fishing. As we turned the corner at the end of the Narrows the most magnificent snow capped mountains appeared as a back drop to Petersburg. There was a 2 kt current running in that channel but we managed to tie up at the fuel dock and then found our berth assigned by the harbour master.

Petersburg is a commercial fishing town. I've never seen so many large fishing boats in my life! Fishing season hasn't kicked into gear yet but when it does I'm sure the town is bustling. We enjoyed a walk ashore seeing some of the Norwegian heritage sites of this town and found a take-out pizza for out dinner.

Snug Cove, Gambier Bay, Admiralty Island

57' 25.3" N, 133' 58.0" W

We decided to leave Petersburg early the next morning at 7 am as we had a 57 nm day ahead. We were whisked out the channel with a 6 kt ebb current! SOG was 12.5! WOW what a ride! We enjoyed a peaceful early morning motor up Frederick Sound keeping our eyes peeled for whales that were supposed to enjoy the cool waters of this area. The humpback whales come to Alaska to feed during the summer months and then return to Hawaii during the summer to give birth. We didn't see any whales until we turned north up Stephen's Passage and then we saw several. AND we saw our first iceberg! We were so excited. We changed course slightly so we could take a good look at it up close and take photos of course! And we picked up some glacier ice for our gin & tonics later that evening.

As we entered Snug Cove we spotted 2 brown bears on the beach and motored over slowly for a closer look and photos. Then a humpback whale was close enough that we heard him exhale! Snug Cove was just as it sounds, snug and safe and sound. Apparently Admiralty Island is known to have the highest population of brown bears in Alaska so it was a good stop for wildlife viewing too.

Tracy Arm Cove, Holkam Bay

57' 48.7" N, 133' 37.8" W

From our weather reports we knew that Tuesday was going to be the last sunny day for a while. We wanted to see the famous Tracy Arm in the sunshine so on Monday we enjoyed a nice sail over to Tracy Arm. This is where everyone anchors to make the day trip up Tracy Arm and back. There aren't any anchorages at the head of the bay so cruisers usually return to Tracy Arm Cove. The trip is 45 nm so it's a full day. We were astounded at the number of icebergs near the entrance to the anchorage. "Do we need to anchor with the icebergs" I asked? We found a spot away from the icebergs and as it turns out most do not enter the bay due to the shallow water at the entrance. The anchorage is lovely with views of snow capped mountains and surf scoters and eagles calling the bay home. We launched the dinghy and explored the bay. We weren't brave enough to go ashore however even though we had our newly purchased bear spray (in Ketchikan).

Tracy Arm

The day began with grey skies and even a sprinkle of rain and I was beginning to think the forecasters had it all wrong. But then the sun broke through the clouds and it turned out to be a magnificent day. The water was emerald green and the sheer granite cliffs were stunning, carved by ancient glaciers. There were cascading waterfalls everywhere and beautiful snow capped mountains served as a back drop against a blue blue sky. We loved it. The surprise was that we had to dodge icebergs all the way up the inlet. At the turn to North Sawyer Glacier we thought we couldn't go any further due to the amount of pack ice but then a tour boat zoomed past near the shore so we followed his path which was much less constricted with ice. We were able to make it to the last turn to South Sawyer Glacier. The glacier looked like a dam or a rock face. You could see the blue ice and the enormous size of it. We decided not to go further for risk of damaging our boat from the icebergs. With our fin keel and spade rudder Sarah Jean is vulnerable. So we dropped a lunch hook at the waterfall and sat in the hot sun in the cockpit. When we were pulling up anchor a black bear came out of the woods. He looked like he was hoping to find salmon in the stream. It's too soon buddy. Come back in July! On the return trip we saw quite a few more seal pups and their moms on ice flows and I spotted 2 mountain goats up high on the mountain. What a spectacular day!

Taku Harbour, just S of Juneau

58' 04.1" N, 134' 00.8" W

Well after 8 days of sun we finally had rain today. But we are nicely tucked in at Taku Harbour, 20 miles south from Juneau. We're tucked in at the dock here and our friends Fred & Cinda from Juneau arrive on their sailboat "Songline" tomorrow. Can't wait to see them. It's been 4 long years since we've seen them. We both sailed home from the South Pacific and spent some time in Hawaii together on the sail home. They are anxious to share with us this amazing cruising ground they call home, SE Alaska. Stay tuned for some adventures with some "Real Alaskans"!
Comments
Vessel Name: Sarah Jean II
Vessel Make/Model: Saga 43
Hailing Port: Vancouver, BC
Crew: Norm and Beth Cooper
About: Our home is in White Rock BC. We set sail Sept. 8, 2010 for San Francisco, Mexico, the South Pacific and New Zealand. In April 2013 we will begin our voyage home through Hawaii, completing a 3 year Pacific circumnavigation.
Extra: We'd love to hear from you - send us an email at bethandnorm@gmail.com
Sarah Jean II's Photos - Main
Pruth Bay, located on Calvert Island, is an essential stop along the way. The harbour on the east side is well protected and provides access to west coast beaches by a short trail. The former fishing lodge is now a marine research centre. Visiting boaters are welcome to use their dinghy dock.
6 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
We enjoyed a great close reach across Queen Charlotte Sound under sunny skies. At the end of the day we anchored in Fury Cove, beautiful and secure with room for lots of boats . . . but we were alone!
3 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
This funky eco resort is located on the north side of Hurst Island. The area has some of the best diving on the BC coast.
7 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
Sointula is a remote but charming community located on Malcolm Island directly east of Port McNeil. It was established in 1901 by a group of Finnish settlers who wanted to create a utopian socialist society.
19 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
We spent a couple of days exploring this historic First Nations community located on Cormorant Island near Port McNeil.
11 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
Working our way north through Seymour Narrows and up Johnstone Strait.
11 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
A few photos as we head up the Strait of Georgia, kicking off our 5 month trip to Alaska.
4 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
We stopped in Hawaii for a rest and provisions but spent most of our time in the boat yard doing repairs. The photos are of a of a few days exploring wild and wacky Waikiki!
37 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
This was a vigorous upwind sail of 2,300 miles across the equator and the ITCZ.
22 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
We spent our time in the tiny village of Te Tetua. Wonderful, hospitable people. An island paradise! Penrhyn is famous for the fine weaving of hats and fans that the women do, and for the golden colored pipi pearls that are found only on this atoll.
49 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
We spent a couple of weeks here exploring by foot, scooter and snorkel.
20 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
On this passage we were joined by David as guest crew. We also ran into some heavy weather - the BIG LOW!
13 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
The Hauraki Gulf is the vast playground to the east of Auckland where there are many islands and anchorages to explore.
25 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
Located about 100 miles offshore northeast of Auckland, Great Barrier is wild and remote. Breathtaking beaches, abundant wildlife and excellent hiking. We spent a couple of weeks on The Barrier.
30 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
Kawau Island is just north of Auckland. We went to visit our friends Daniel and Michelle on s/v Evangeline. They introduced us to the famous offshore sailors Lin and Larry Pardey who live on Kawau.
21 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
A place with a funny name but it has a beautiful sandy beach and stunning grassy headlands for walking. A super anchorage in south or southeast winds.
11 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
This very protected bay just south of Cape Brett is the home of an old whaling station. It provides access to the Cape Brett trail where we tramped about one day.
4 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
Beutiful oddshore islands just south of Whangaroa Harbour. Clear water and good kayaking. Home of the wreck of the Rainbow Warrier.
9 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
An amazingly protected harbour north of the Bay of Islands. Great hikes with spectacular views.
10 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
A few shots around the lovely town and marina at Opua, our home away from home
19 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
We stayed here a few days en route to New Zealand from Noumea. It is a beautiful tropical setting at the very south end of New Caledonia.
26 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
Photos of our arrival into New Caledonia and the very modern City of Noumea, a startling contrast to Vanuatu.
47 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
This is a great anchorage. We stopped here when winds were in our face as we attempted to go south. Very pretty onshore!
10 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
A few shots of the Blue Hole, a spectacular freshwater spring near the town of Luganville.
8 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
Land of black volcanic beaches, black magic, wood carving and colorful kastom mask dancing!
50 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
A wonderful anchorage providing access to several villages. We saw the most amazing kastom dancing - performed by both men AND women! Balloons were a big hit with the kids!
27 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
Wearing only bits of grass and penis sheathes, thrusting spears into the air, they emerged out of the jungle stomping and chanting . . .
12 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
This where we helped bring a giant marlin to the villagers and where we saw some amazing traditional dancing. The next album is dedicated just to the dancing.
40 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
Home of dugongs and lots of sea turtles, this is an awesome anchorage!
12 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
The biggest city in Vanuatu where we stopped to stock up on food at the great public market.
12 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
This is the seldom visited anchorage where we stopped with friends to deliver much needed school supplies.
40 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
Views of the Port Resolution area including a visit to the fiery volcano!
45 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
This is the most southerly island in Vanuatu and our point of arrival. Beautiful gardens, dugout canoes and the spectacular Mystery island are shown in this album.
36 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
This is the great little island where we spent about a week in September, including our 29th anniversary.
30 Photos
Created 15 September 2012
Our son, Brian, and his girlfriend, Lindsay, visited us for a couple of weeks. We cruised the Yasawa Island Group and had an excellent time - village visits, hikes, diving, good music & great company!
87 Photos
Created 25 August 2012
This small island was simply stunning. A beautiful village, white sandy beaches, great hiking trails and crystal clear water. This island is not to be missed!
27 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
Ono Island is located in SW Fiji at the north end of Kadavu Island. It is surrounded by the Great Astrolabe Reef. The area has some great diving!
46 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
This series of photos guides you through the step by step process of spawning giant clams. We watched this in Makogai.
18 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
A fascinating place with sea turtles, giant clam breeding and the ruins of a huge leper colony.
33 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
Viani Bay is thye anchorage near to Rainbow Reef, one of Fiji's top dive spots. We did 4 dives here with Jack Fischer and got a few good photos.
13 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
This village was one of our favorites. The friendly people are originally from Tuvalu and have brought much of their culture with them - including dugout canoes and great weaving skills.
20 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
This unique island is NE of Taveuni. We visited Albert Cove and Katherine Bay.
34 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
A day spent with Suzy from s/v Sidewinder climbing up to the Tavoro Waterfalls and then hiking the Lavena Coastal Trail.
29 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
We really enjoyed Qamea Island. We anchored in Namata Bay and got to know the wonderful MItchell family. Meet some some of them in this album!
19 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
A few shots from our excursion to the north side including a high mountain plantation and very cool cathedral cave.
11 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
We anchored here for a few days and enjoyed exploring the many islands and hidden caves by kayak.
16 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
Our visit to the charming village of Daliconi near the Bay of Islands in the Northern Lau Group
16 Photos
Created 17 June 2012
One day we took the bus from Savusavu to Labasa on the opposite side of he island. It is a big town with a large Indo Fijiin population. The market is great and the bus ride is an adventure!
23 Photos
Created 12 June 2012
This album shows our arrival port of Savusavu and an excursions to the Cousteau Dive Resort.
37 Photos
Created 12 June 2012
Our excellent passage from New Zealand to Fiji including a stop at Minerva Reef - a circular atoll in the middle of the ocean!
31 Photos
Created 11 June 2012
A few shots of our excellent passage from Tonga to NZ with Kyle Russell aboard as crew.
29 Photos
Created 31 October 2011
We visited the villages of Matamaka and Nuapapu where we went to church, had lunch with the locals and then the next day visited a school. Lots of fun and some great images!
38 Photos
Created 29 September 2011
Even more shots of this great cruising area!
26 Photos
Created 29 September 2011
More of the same great sights and experiences!
36 Photos
Created 28 September 2011
We have so many great photos of Vava'u they are divided into a few albums. This is the first. People, boats, spectacular anchorages and unexpected sights - such as grave quilts!
36 Photos
Created 28 September 2011
Photos of the awesome underwater world of Vava'u including caves, coral, fish and some other creatures.
20 Photos
Created 28 September 2011
A beutiful atoll with a population of only 3 permanent residents awaits those who brave the narrow pass into the lagoon.
25 Photos
Created 5 August 2011
Bora Bora has lived up to its mythical reputation - a towering green volcanic peak surounded by motu islands and a beautiful blue lagoon!
21 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
We had a short visit to these islans but it was long enough to enjoy a visit to the luxurious Le Tahaa Resort. Wow!
24 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
We came to this small gem after an overnight passage from Moorea. Baie D'Avea was one our favorite anchorages so far, made better by very calm conditions!
43 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
This is where freinds Bob & janey joined us. Spectacular bays with towering volcanic spires were the highlight of this paradise.
39 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
The exotic island of Tahiti where we celebrated Norm's birthday. Pics include the Papeete market, super yachts and sunsets over Moorea!
27 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
This tiny anchorage is located on the outside of the atoll so there is no need to deal with passes or current predictions.
9 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
Crystal clear water, sharks around our boat, spectacular lagoons and a funky bar overlooking the pass made this one of our favorite stops!
30 Photos
Created 25 June 2011
This album includes shots of the main village, scuba diving, arrival of the traditional Vaka boats and, of course, our daughter, Amanda, who joined us for some fun times!
29 Photos
Created 25 June 2011
This was our first atoll in the Tuomotus Group. Crystal clear water, beautiful motus and quiet isolation made this stop very special.
35 Photos
Created 10 June 2011
Towering cliffs, a rugged hike, huge wterfall and the site of a Survivor TV series - Daniel's Bay has lots to see and experience!
29 Photos
Created 3 June 2011
Wow - what a great island! Excellent harbour, waterfalls, pine forests and high ranch country. Come inside the album and see!
33 Photos
Created 3 June 2011
We visited Hapatoni Bay, famous for artisans, especially carvers. We also visited Hana Moe Noa Bay and Ivaiva Bay where the beaches were white sand and the water crystal clear!
24 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
Fatu Hiva is probably the most spectacular island in the Marquesas Group. Photos include the Bay of Virgins, mountain hikes and a traditional pig roast dinner.
61 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 27 April 2011
This was our first landfall in the Marquesas. Photos include the anchorage at Taahuku Bay and village of Atuona, along with an inland road trip across island to Puamau Bay.
84 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
We had a wonderful 19 day passage from La Cruz, Mexico to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Group of French Polynesia. Photos include everything from laundry day to our equator crossing.
64 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
We spent a couple of weeks in February exploring the Gold Coast from Puerto Vallarta south to Manzanillo.
47 Photos
Created 16 February 2011
A few shots of the great marina at La Cruz and our explorations around the Puerto Vallarta area.
17 Photos
Created 16 February 2011
We took a panga trip up the Rio Tovara near San Blas. This is a mangrove jungle area with many birds, iguanas, turtles and even crocodiles.
18 Photos
Created 22 January 2011
This magic island is a breeding area for many species of birds including frigates and blue footed boobies. The birds have no fear of people - allowing very close encounters and amazing photos!
38 Photos
Created 22 January 2011
A collection of random photos taken at Marina El Cid and Old Mazatlan. We enjoyed the city, especially the many art studios and galleries.
38 Photos
Created 12 January 2011
A great family Christmas together sailing in the Sea of Cortez from Puerto Escondito to La Paz. Hikes, snorkeling, sea lions, wake boarding, beach cattle and more . . .
112 Photos
Created 2 January 2011
This is the bay and fishing village where we holed up during a big norther.
18 Photos
Created 9 December 2010
This wonderful cruising area is located just north of La Paz. Red cliffs, crystal clear water and white sandy beaches abound!
34 Photos
Created 9 December 2010
We spent about a week in this wonderful Mexican city. It is laid back with no visile tourist industry except for the yachties like us. We liked this place!
16 Photos
Created 9 December 2010
This is a wonderful anchorage on the Baja Cape between Cabo and La Paz. We spent a couple of days here snorkeling, hiking and enjoying the beach.
12 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 15 November 2010
A visit to the town of Two Harbors, including a great hike, followed by a visit to the bigger town of Avalon.
24 Photos
Created 14 November 2010
We anchored in Pelican Bay and did a great hike along the bluffs to Prisoners Bay. Vistas and some wildlife incliding an island fox!
31 Photos
Created 13 October 2010
Beautiful beaches, elephant seals, sand dunes and great hiking - San Miguel has it all!
29 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 13 October 2010
A few shots around the marina while we were waiting out a big blow.
9 Photos
Created 13 October 2010
A few photos a day at anchor in San Simeon including kayaking in the bay and views of the Hearst Castle verlooking the ocean.
12 Photos
Created 1 October 2010
Shots of Monterey, the famous aquairium and a bike ride along the 17 Mile Drive to Carmel.
46 Photos
Created 28 September 2010
Photos of Santa Cruz Marina and a bike ride to the boardwalk, pier and surfer museum. We then road to the cute village of Capitola a few miles south of Santa Cruz.
17 Photos
Created 28 September 2010
1 Photo | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 24 September 2010
Angel Island is located in the middle of San Francisco Bay. We spent the day exploring it on our folding bikes. Awesome views in all directions!
16 Photos
Created 19 September 2010
Passage from Cictora to San Francisco. Departure on Sept 6. Arrival on Sept 11. Crew were Kris & Ryan. Great first passage for Sarah Jean II.
43 Photos
Created 15 September 2010
A few photos of our boat.
2 Photos
Created 2 August 2010