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D & D Nagle aboard MV DavidEllis
Doin' It!
07/03/2014, Wrangell, Anan, Petersburg, Tracey Arm, Juneau

To catch up, after a couple weeks' boat work in Wrangell (at a much more relaxed pace than our work on-the-hard this past winter/spring), we again departed Wrangell,, running back down Zimovia Narrows to Thom's Place to join up with Shearwater (which I crewed from Hong Kong last summer) and Honu (which belongs to another of the SW crew from last summer's crossing). SW and Honu have been enroute from Seattle since early June and now joining them, we are officially an armada. Crewing with us for just a few days, was granddaughter Jordanne, down from Anchorage.

From Thom's Place, it's a short run to Anan Bay where one can view both black and brown bears fishing. We appear to be just a few days early (for the fish run / feeding), so saw only one black bear and a few eagles waiting expectantly for the big feed, and a brown bear on the beach settling for appetizers. Another night at Thom's Place, and back to Wrangell via Blake Channel / Eastern Passage, thereby making it a circumnavigation of Wrangell Island.

A couple more Wrangell days and the armada was to head up Wrangell Narrows to Petersburg. Dorothy was a bit under the weather, so SW & Honu went ahead, bound for the Tracey Arm glacier. The following day, Tuesday 1 June, DE got underway, timing the tide for a northbound passage of Wrangell Narrows. Rather than stop in Petersburg (at the top end of the Narrows), we hung a left up Frederick Sound and into the evening.

2200hrs Frederick Sound north of Petersburg, glassy flat waters, sun setting in glorious golds at 330 degrees True (?! must be a far north summer latitude thing).
Off Cape Fanshaw, a crescent moon above 12-20, 30, 40 humpback whales flukeing, spy-hopping, and bubble-feeding across our whole forward horizon, the mist from their exhalations hanging in the still air against a backdrop of snowy mountains in shades of blue-gray. Stunning! I suppose someone else might've figured out how to get all of that into a photo, but we just enjoyed it.

Wednesday morning rain in the anchorage (Cleveland Passage, east side Whitney Island). I was down on the swim step, preparing to take Rusty & Rascal, to the beach for their morning P&P, when a humpback surfaced and blew just behind DE!

Underway from Cleveland Passage, we tried for Shearwater on the radio and, as I suspected, they'd been anchored overnight just 10 miles north of us in Hobart Bay, Stephens Passage. As we proceeded north in a stiff breeze and bouncy 3 foot chop, we could see Honu ahead of us and SW dawdling behind... fishing. Later Wednesday afternoon, Honu and DE entered Holkham Bay and anchored up in the little no-name cove just inside to the north. Off Holkham Bay are Tracey Arm to the Sawyer Glacier and Endicott Arm to Dawes Glacier and Ford's Terror. We've run up to Sawyer Glacier 3-4 times and it is magnificent. SW will do it on Thursday, along with Honu's crew, while DE continues on up to Juneau for (Hong Kong) crew arriving 5 July.

After anchoring inside Holkham Bay, we ran the skiff out to some house-sized icebergs of surreal, alien space-ship shapes and 100 shades of blue from almost white to purple. We picked up a big chunk of glacier ice and ran back again to the boats in pouring rain.

This morning, Thursday, as we pulled anchor, there on the little isthmus / beach where we'd P&P'd the dogs 20 minutes earlier were two brown bears checking out the smells left behind by R & R!

And this is why all the hassle of keeping DE shipshape is worth it...

Lots of photos posted of the past few days on the DavidEllis Nagle Boat account at Facebook.

07/11/2014 | Dean
I always enjoy your blog updates. Your eloquence paints a picture easy to capture but not the same as being there for sure. Dido your comments on boat maintenance vs. the benefits. I'm up here in the North Channel of Lake Huron, Part of the Great "Unsalted Ocean" as we refer to it. Lots of beautiful anchorages but it's NOT Alaska with it's snowcapped peaks and wildlife. (Although cruising friend up here say a moose last week)
Keep at it. Dean
Jarmo The Giant Finn, Captain David & Dick Towel Hero At Large
06/26/2014, Subic Bay Yacht Club, Luzon Philippine Islands, February '08

Dorothy came into the boat and said "Guess who's here". I looked out, and there on the transient dock was MV Kwakatu, with it's unmistakable Diesel Duck 462 lines and "dog poop" colors. Hey, don't look at me; it was the Hai Zhu Ma boatyard workers who named her that. DavidEllis had her own boatyard nickname: as hull #2 she was "the practice boat".

We haven't seen Kwakatu since that late February 2008, 0300 morning in south central Philippines (east of Cebu), when she sailed away from our overnight raft-up on a big tug, headed SE to the Hinatuan Passage and eastbound across the Pacific with David (the owner) and his crew Jarmo the Giant Finn and Dick Towel, Hero At Large.

We met David & Jamie at the Seahorse Boatyard while boat DavidEllis and Kwakatu were under construction. They were hull #4. But as we got down towards the end of DE's construction, #3 John & Jerry Milici's boat Peking was already shipped, while Kwakatu and DE were completed more or less together, David & Jamie, Dorothy & I living aboard at the finishing dock in the Seahorse boatyard, May thru September '06.

We explored Hong Kong, Macau and Beijing together; we lived on Row 1, Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, a Hong Kong party junk E*Trade, between us, facing towards Jumbo's floating restaurant. We had our first Thanksgiving and Christmas aboard together, carried a roast turkey from DE across E*Trade's deck to Kwakatu. We made our first crossing in our Diesel Ducks together, March '07, four days Hong Kong to Subic Bay PI. We explored Subic and Olongapo, worked the kinks out of our boats, and made day trips out of Subic up to Silangen.

DE needed more work initially than Kwakatu and while we stayed in Subic, Kwak went south along western PI to Kota Kinabalu (Borneo/Malaysia) and thence to Singapore (with our friends Craig & Anne crewing), and later thru the Straits of Malaka up to Langkawi (NW Malaysia). They returned to Subic in early '08 and prepared to head east across the Pacific, home to the USA.

Jamie didn't make the Pacific crossing, but we accompanied Kwakatu and crew the first part of the run thru PI, until the morning we separated near Cebu. Kwakatu went from PI to Palau to Ponhpei (FSM) -- spent 3 weeks on a reef there, but that's another story -- to Majuro (Marshall Islands)' Hawaii and Seattle. If that route sounds déjà vu, it should as that is the route Shearwater took last summer which I crewed to Hawaii. David and Jamie did a summer up the Inside Passage to AK, then down the Pacific Coast, thru the Panama Canal, eastbound thru the Caribbean and up the east coast to their home port in Connecticut.

We have great memories of our adventures with David, Jamie and Kwakatu, whether on the water, in the Hong Kong MTR or the dining room of the Posada de Mong Ha and it was bittersweet to see the dog-poop boat there at the dock. Real life intervened and Kwakatu was sold three years ago. The new owners changed the name to Luck Dragon; they seem very nice folks and we wish them the very best with her. The boat looks in great shape. We miss our friends.

06/30/2014 | Dean
A touching and beautifully written tribute. Thanks for sharing.
There and back again...
pic is Thom's Place
06/12/2014, Wrangell, AK

Bummer! Our friends Bob & Sharon no sooner arrived than they had to leave due to a family emergency. We did get to take them up to the landing at Naha overnight via Clover Passage (NE of Ketchikan).

On the plus side, we hooked up with Jay off MV Westerly, a retired Puget Sound pilot and gentleman who was great company. Running together, DavidEllis & Westerly had a leisurely run up from Ketchikan to Wrangell in gorgeous weather, with stops in Meyers Chuck, Vixen Harbor and Thom's place. Crabs and fish were caught and consumed; dogs ran wild ashore; great conversations were enjoyed and we did what retired people are supposed to do, hung out and enjoyed ourselves.

Compare that 4 day, 3 night cruise to a couple of weeks ago when we made the same 90 nm run between Wrangell & Ketchikan, overnight in one 12 hour go -- worlds apart!

We're now back in Wrangell, in our slip at Heritage Harbor, catching up on some of the boat work we thought we'd be doing once we came off the hard (which never happened cause we went from the hard to underway, cruising with Kate's family etc). The fish boats around us are about to start their season, getting last things done before getting underway. Activity back at the boatyard has reached a frenzy and to add to the insanity, a film crew is running around doing a spin-off of Deadliest Catch featuring the crew at Superior Marine! There's another addition to the boatyard since we left, City of Wrangell's new 300 ton travel lift which is a behemoth.

We've got the canvas cover (bimini) off the frame over the back deck, Dot's trying to do some serious cleaning on it (which doesn't seem to be having any effect). I spent the afternoon with buffing pads and rouge compound working on the very stained (surface rust) stainless steel frame -- having more luck there, but it's tedious and that high speed grinder is a dangerous weapon. I managed to catch a 6-part control cable, which was promptly torn apart and then my shirt caught in it; Yikes!

06/12/2014 | Snarlbakes
Love the title, sounds like a solid adventure, that lift is an impressive piece of machinery, never seen a tire mounted one that big before

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Who: Mike (Dave) and Dorothy Nagle
Port: Sebastopol, CA, USA
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