Little Green Boat

Spruce visited Japan and Alaska in 2018 after time spent in the South Pacific, NZ, Australia and Asia.

17 August 2018 | Gulf of Alaska
15 August 2018 | Gulf of Alaska
09 August 2018 | Jackpot Bay - Prince William Sound - Alaska
07 August 2018 | Otter Cove - Prince William Sound - Alaska
04 August 2018 | Seward - Kenai Peninsula - Alaska
04 August 2018
04 August 2018
04 August 2018 | Seward - Alaskan Kenai Peninsula
03 August 2018 | Northwest Fiord - Kenai Peninsula - Alaska
03 August 2018
03 August 2018
03 August 2018
01 August 2018 | Northwest Fiord - Alaskan Kenai Peninsula
22 July 2018 | Geographic Harbor - Alaskan Peninsula
18 July 2018 | Agripina Bay - Alaskan Peninsula
14 July 2018 | Sand Point - Unga Island - Off the Alaskan Peninsula
10 July 2018 | Volcano Bay - Alaskan Peninsula
06 July 2018 | On Passage - Dutch Harbor to Bear Bay - Alaskan Peninsula
03 July 2018 | Dutch Harbor - Alaska - USA
03 July 2018

Magnificent Mountains

17 August 2018 | Gulf of Alaska
Sue & Andy
Distance Logged: 319M; To go 28M; Ave Speed 5.5kn Mount Fairweather and the surrounding range of mountains have exhibited a glorious backdrop through our dog-house windows since dawn this morning. Superb snow-capped peaks, a plethora of glaciers wending a passage through the terrain, have deigned to discard the usual mantle of fog or rain and allow mere mortals to see their magnificence. Overall, we have been truly blessed with excellent weather, for this part of the world, since we first arrived in the Aleutian Islands almost 3-months ago. The views have been stupendous and the term awe inspiring, often over-used, often genuinely applies here in Alaska. The decaying frontal weather of yesterday eventually dissipated towards evening, the absence of minor squalls enabled the seas finally to settle. It is surprising how even short -lived 15-20 knot squalls offer little benefit of sailing but maintain the sea's surface in a lumpy unhelpful condition. The earlier impediments to speedy progress, headwinds and short choppy waves, have left us unable to accomplish traversing the sound into the inshore passage before the ebb tide flows this evening. We shall opt to stop at the nearby natural harbour, named Graves, in Murphy Cove, described in the Sailing Directions as "�... has depths of 11 fathoms or more in its outer part and affords snug anchorage for small vessels." Just what we are looking for until 4am tomorrow, when we shall haul our anchor and enter Cross Sound on the last of the flood bound for Elfin Cove.

Crossing the Gulf

15 August 2018 | Gulf of Alaska
Sue & Andy
Distance Logged: 197M; To go 165M; Ave Speed 5.3kn�...but speeding up now. Prince William Sound is great fun with her glaciers, bears, otters and ice. However, time is short and we still want enough time to see some of the Inside Passage in Alaska's historical South East. After venturing north past 61 degrees of latitude to the impressive Columbia Glacier, we are now pointed east-south-east towards Cross Sound and a more gentile version of Alaska. We left Port Etches, a bay at Hinchinbrook Island, at 04:30am yesterday and are now just past half way on the 360M passage east and south . Our last blog for Prince William Sound has a large photo so we shall delay posting that until we get back to internet connectivity.

Ice, Pines and Wildlife

09 August 2018 | Jackpot Bay - Prince William Sound - Alaska
Sue & Andy
August, the height of summer, a heatwave across the northern hemisphere, but everywhere is not warm. In Nassau Bay, where the Chenga Glacier meets the water, large chunks of ice periodically calve into the sea. Spruce nosed into the broad bay; gently she meandered her way between crystal blue pieces of rounded melting ice. Some of the fragments already reduced to hand sized shards, almost transparent in the water, clinked along the slowly moving hull. Larger segments could be pushed aside, but with some difficulty, using a spinnaker pole. Weighty, dense multi-year glacier ice is solid, not something to bump a hull against too speedily. A placid breeze picked up, smaller fragments of sparkling ice started in motion towards the leeward side of the fiord, and larger sculpted pieces remained piloted by a slight current rotating through the bay. Harbour Seals watched our painful progress with bemusement. Each hauled onto a floe, arched upwards hence minimising the area of body that made contact with freezing ice. Perched alert, head following our track, prepared to slide into the water if any imminent danger should be perceived. This character (photo) scrutinised our passage through his domain, nose twitched furiously as he tried vainly to gain a scent of the intruders. Apart from the low vibration of our ticking engine, the only natural noise was creaking and groaning of ice straining to break free from the glacier front, clearly audible at a distance, the occasional rumble and splash announced a successful partition. We travel northwards, beyond escaped floes drifting wantonly in the outer channel; the scenery is varied, beautiful and awe-inspiring. Huge mountains, their lower slopes cloaked in coniferous trees that steadily reduce in size as they march upwards; the front line evaporates into scantily clad rock, exposed buttresses above frown at their surroundings, more gentile inclines coated with greenery soften the daunting effect of overarching snowy peaks staring into glaciated fiords. Within this magnificent eternal amphitheatre, creatures that are more ephemeral live their lives. Groups of Sea Otters roll peer and dive; Bald Eagles stationary in trees, white heads confirm their location; Phalaropes and other water birds frantically paddle and bob below the surface at our passage; whales blow in distant bays, and seals are also hauled out on warmer weed covered rocks. Our circuit of Prince William Sound continues in search of bear, grand scenery and a visit to the huge Columbia Glacier in the far north, reputedly a shadow of in earlier years.

More Wildlife

07 August 2018 | Otter Cove - Prince William Sound - Alaska
Sue & Andy
Up with the breaking of dawn we sprang into action. Tea was made before we hauled anchor. The fishing fleet still snoozing we slipped by them with hardly a ripple. When we arrived yesterday evening, they were so busy, laying seine nets, forming the purse and seemingly winning so few fish for their efforts. Black bear on the beach! A mother with three small cubs foraged the tide line. Another single bear kept a respectful distance. Wow! Our first day in the sprawling region of Prince William Sound, and we have already seen five Black Bears. Sue helmed Spruce through the channel between islands, enjoying the spectacular view unfold before us. Otters were everywhere, at least twenty through the first few miles of the strait. These creatures were shyer than we had seen before. Such comical expressions with button noses and white whiskered faces, they laid back as if relaxing in deck chairs, watching as the world goes by. We wonder what they are thinking as we pass. So many salmon are jumping. Andy decided we have time to troll. Spruce was slowed to 1.5-knots, the bright lure and flasher towed astern�...but no luck, we are unsure if the salmon like this particularly brash shade of pink. A tricky entrance, some weedy rocks evident, others hidden below the glassy surface, slowly we edged into our chosen anchorage marked on the chart. A Black Bear, hunched over a tasty salmon, was surrounded by a crowd of Bald eagles and Seagulls, biding their time waiting for scraps. The bear slinked away like a thief with his bounty. A Sea Otter, with its camp follower, a gull, shadowing its every move, watched us closely as we laid the anchor. Periodically the otter swam in a wide circle around us, checking to see if we were a threat. With only its head visible, a harbour seal glided across the bay. The urgent squeaks of Bald Eagles starkly interrupted the buzz of silence, setting the gulls off into a raucous laughing chorus. Reflections of pine trees in the jade green water are distorted with faint wind ripples. Grey rocks splattered with white guano showed where the gulls roost at night. A haze of grass, red tips glowing, soften the edges of the rock. Bright tender green ferns unfurl in the growing warmth of the day, white daisies punctuate the grassy banks. Old man's beard hangs like a limp flag on stiff branches of the fragrant pine, while orange moss envelops their tender shoots, gradually suffocating them. The tide gently squeezes into the cove. A swirling mass of grey finned silver-bodied fish, glinting as they leap skywards; the salmon are gathering to fulfil their ultimate task in life. The entrance of the river is littered with fine boned skeletal remains of their brothers and sisters. As we travel regions where wildlife is less affected by human activity, we feel privileged to witness a wonderful world that is sadly disappearing so rapidly.

Fitness - Out for a Hike

04 August 2018 | Seward - Kenai Peninsula - Alaska
Andy & Sue
One of the limitations since we reached the Alaskan Peninsula has been due to bears. We have mentioned the reduced numbers of salmon running on the south side of the peninsula this year, so far. The bears have seemed hungry; hiking on shore has had less appeal than we originally intended. There is one area for hiking close to Seward, and accessible by road, the Exit Glacier national park. We heard this name for the glacier was adopted in 1968 when a team traversed the Harding Icefield, from Homer to Seward, their exit point was down this glacier and the name stuck.
The glacier has receded a long way since 1968. There is still a good hiking trail alongside, it sretches to the Harding Icefield at around 3,600 feet altitude. Our hike only went to 1,500 feet and the Marmot Meadows promontory that overlooks the glacier. A spread of alpine meadow flowers extends in all directions. This is reputedly bear country. One Black Bear was sighted by rangers close to the meadows, but so many hikers are on the trail that the chance of meeting a bear with such a cacophony of noise seems slim.
It was lovely to get out of a town and to stretch our legs on an uphill gradient.

04 August 2018
One creature we did sight, albeit on the road trip to the glacier, was a young Moose. Searches in Maine during previous years failed to get a decent sighting of this beast. Only glimpses in headlights, when one does not want to meet a Moose. They usually have a collision with vehicles at night.
Vessel Name: Spruce
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg Rassy 42 - Enderlein Design
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, UK
Crew: Sue & Andy
About: Sue is an artist, plays the flute and guitar. Andy enjoys technical challenges and hoped to learn to speak more Spanish. Unsuccessfully:-( Maybe this year?
Extra: During 2013 and 2014 we sailed across the Pacific to New Zealand and then Australia. 2015-18 brought into Asia and on to Japan ans Alaska. The past few years cruising has enabled us to visit many countries, meet lots of interesting people and to understand the world a little better.
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Spruce's Photos - Trek to La Ciudad Perdida
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No room inside
A view on the early trail from a high vantage point
Mules hauling food ahead to the Cabana where we
Kate & Marlyn on the first day
A swim before the uphill commenced
Early part of the trail
Local cattle, a species from Africa we were told
First night
Mules patiently waiting for the day
Marlyn & another member of Magic Tours staff working in the cook-house
A clay oven/stove - four at this camp and all different sizes
Muleteer urging his charges onwards and upwards
A farmstead beside the trail
More mules lugging food and equipment. No mechanised transport on this trail.
Enrique (nicknamed Pinochio) preparing food. If he said the trail was going to be "a little bit uphill" then get your climbing gear ready :-)
Packing sacks to load onto the mules
Cabana 1 - the only hammock accommodation, thankfully.
Mule early in the morning ready for loading
Early morning light
The group heads out
Kate ready for some knee punishment on the downhill bits
Another swim - we usually had one per day. Left to Right: Orla, Thomas, Andrea, Rachael and Mikey
Not sure what these were but didn
An ancient Native Indian burial site, probably plundered many years ago
A rest at a summit. Fresh fruit to moisten the mouth
Inside a Kogi (Native Indian) home
Inside a Kogi (Native Indian) home
Frog sleeping during the day
A Kogi mother and children
A Kogi child
Probably a beautiful butterfly to be...don
A Kogi village
Our guide, Jesus, briefing us on the Kogi culture. The mortar and pestle artifact in front of him is used to hold lime which is used to mix with and chew cocoa leaves. The mild cocaine dose released assists the Kogi to combat sickness at high altitude, hunger and keep them moving in a hostile environment.
Mosquito nets over bunk beds at Cabana 2
Trying to dry wet gear in the late afternoon rainy period
One of the weird and colourful bugs en route
River flowing during a comparatively dry period
A Kogi woman weaving a strap for a mochila, a bag to hang over the shoulder)
Entertaining ourselves in the evening.
A plant seen quite often in the forest
Mikey and Andrea lead the way across the river. Orla and guide, Jesus, following. These rivers can quickly increase in depth making crossings hazardous. Crossings were made before the afternoon rains and melt-water emerged from the Sierra Nevada snow-cap
Another plant
Andy and Lena in a hollow tree
Fungi on a tree...not quite all in focus but you get the idea
Another strange fruit on a tree at the Lost City...not sure what it is?
Large palms not removed from the site of the Lost City when they cleared the site in the 1970s and 80s
A Map-Stone. The small star bursts (if you can see them) are settlements and the long lines are the river routes.
A Kogi Native Indian man walked up the main pathway - it gave an air of historical times
One of many routes up to Ciudad Perdida
One of the horse fly type of bugs - the proboscis goes straight through trousers and they aren
Its was all up from here
We tink this is know as a Number 88 butterfly but can
Looking down on the lower levels of La Ciudad Perdida from the higher part.
Andy meets the one of the local army detachment. Security of tourists has been a high priority for the Colombian authorities since the trail to La Ciudad Perdida re-opened. These chaps are heavily armed and very friendly to tourists.
Andy with the vista behind. We needed to be up there early before it clouded over, but the insects were vicious.
Our group enjoying the scenery
The "throne" occupied by the Shaman while passing judgement and giving advice to the citizens.
View from the city
River water had to be purified before filling our water bottles for the day
The five day part of our group Left to Right: Jesus (Guide), Lena, Andrea, Thomas, Ibra, Scott
A bonus swim for a few of us on the penultimate day. Enrique took time out from kitchens duties to take us down a steep hill to a fantastic waterfall. Mikey emerges from the torrent.
Maeve & Rachel desperately hang onto their bikinis
Joanie avoids being bowled over
Another strange plant
The final furlong, almost finished. Left to ight: Kate, Joanie, Maeve, Rachel, Orla, Mikey, Mark, Andy
This spider was about 6" (150mm) across from leg tip to leg tip...nobody was willing to put their finger close for size perspective.
One of the many beautiful butterflies. They didn
A rest at the top. L to R: Orla, Enrique, Rachel
A wasp nest on a leaf
The cow wasn
Another pretty plant
At the finish: Joanie
At the finish: Rachel
At the finish: Orla
At the finish: Maeve
At the finish: Mark
At the finish: Mikey
Packing the mule sacks for the next group to depart
At the finish: Kate
The hardest working member of the team. The mules carry food and other essentials along the trail leaving the hikers to carry only light weight packs.