Our route and current location: [Note - I forgot to turn on tracking for a while - the track is discontinuous but does pick up later]
For those following along at home - and at work - the Sail Blog app is just a straight line, giving our anchored locations - where we end for the day. The Garmin track linked above, which starts in Powell River, gives a fairly continuous track of our travels; showing the ins and outs (and backtracking) we are doing. Also you will notice that the dates of the writing may seem a little off. Entries get written when there is a good internet connection and may reflect that date. We will try to start putting the date(s) we are at a specific location into the heading.
Sitka has five different harbors in town; we were in the largest one that had the transient docks and served as a large fuel and supply stop for most of the fishing fleet. There were many fishing boats from small 25 footers to large 150 foot tenders that buy fish and supply fuel to the smaller boats while they are out fishing. Use of the tenders allows the fishing boats to stay out longer if the run is good, without having to return to Sitka to unload the catch and fuel up. The transient docks see a large turnaround of commercial fishing boats and that is what Sitka harbor is set up for. We had inquired earlier while we were in Petersburg about staying in Sitka for the winter and were told that it was not a problem. The harbor did find a place for us to stay on the transient dock while we made repairs, but when we followed up our earlier inquiry we had made from Petersburg, there was no place for us to stay for the winter other than a dock with no power or water. That simply would not do - so we opted to leave as soon as we had the new parts in. We would be returning to Petersburg, where we had a winter spot on a nice dock confirmed by the harbor master, Glo.
Sitka was not just about finally getting in after a mechanical breakdown. It is a very interesting town, and we managed to do quite a bit while we were waiting for the new alternator and regulator. One of the first things we did was to take a walk around the town. It is one of the larger towns in SE Alaska with a population of @ 3,000. It actually has two high schools and one of the larger hospitals in the area. The town itself extends about a mile NW from the harbor we were in to about two miles in the East direction. There are many grocery stores, marine supply stores, as well as general hardware stores, restaurants and bars. It does get quite a few cruise liners in during the summer season, but not nearly as many as Ketchikan.
We made a couple of day trips that were very interesting. There is a teaching salmon hatchery in Sitka with an associated science center and that we made one of our day trips. It was very interesting to see and finally learn about all the different types of salmon as well as other marine fisheries that were actively being harvested in SE Alaska and the different fishing boats that are used. The return salmon run for the hatchery was also going on, so we got to watch while the hatchery staff would net the fish and capture the milt and eggs to use for spawning new fry. They produce thousands of eggs which they then fertilize immediately and store to allow the hatchlings to be released in a timely manner. Only a small percentage of the fry make it back to hatchery to reproduce.
Another good side trip that we took was to the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka. The Raptor Center takes injured birds of prey and provides housing for them. The Raptor Center rehabilitates the birds that they are able to, so that they can be released back into the wild. The ones that cannot be rehabilitated well enough, are placed into other spots, like wildlife centers or zoos. While there were mostly eagles at the Center, we also saw several hawks, owls, and a few other birds.
One of the last things we did before the new alternator and regulator came in the mail, was to take a hike on the very nice trail system that is in Sitka. They go up into the mountains behind the town and are very well marked; consisting of both gravel trails and well built wooden stairs and ramps where applicable. We hiked up to Harbor Mountain starting on the Gavan Hill trail behind the high school, and were rewarded with a spectacular view of Sitka and the surrounding area. It was a beautiful day, and we made a long traverse on the trail hiking to the outlet at Harbor Mountain road. We capped off a great day be getting lucky enough to hitch a ride from some folks back to the marina just as it started to rain!
The alternator/regulator finally arrived and I had them installed by a local marine electrician. We have been learning quite lot on the boat maintenance side of things, but having electrical work done correctly on a boat is critical to the safety of the vessel. I was content to be the 'helper' on this occasion and learn from the pro on the job. :>)