Reporting from Elfin Cove
07 July 2017 | Elfin Cove Dock
Thursday, July 6
Well, our final crossing of the Alaska Gulf was difficult. We left in very light wind and had a beautiful sunny day for the first half of the passage. But, of course things sometimes change, and change it did. It was nothing dangerous, but just damned unpleasant. All day, we had had the wind on the nose, but it was light. Then, in the late afternoon, the wind speed increased to the mid to high teens, and whipped up some chop with a perfect resonance to just let the boat get to our cruising speed of just over 5 knots, and then a wave would just stop us, down to about 2.5 knots. Over and over, big bounce, slamming everything around and if you were the off watch crew, you were nearly airborne then followed by weighing about three times your normal weight. Over and over, all night long. The big worry was that we were headed to the Cross Sound that is very tide dependent to get in. If we did not maintain our 5 knots average speed, we would arrive late, and our flood that we needed to ride in would become a 5 to 6 knot ebb. Then what? So, it was a stressful night, figuring alternate arrival plans and such and neither of us sleeping.
But, things do change, and change they did. Round about 0300 the wind lightened, and the awful bouncing stopped. We kept the power up so we could make up for a few bad hours of slow going, and bingo! All of a sudden, things were good. We made the tide on time, and Lutz and Gabi had arrived Elfin before us, so they were on hand to take a line and help us tie up. Then, it was July 4th in Elfin Cove. This is a beautiful boardwalk town. There are no streets or cars. There is a fork lift on the fuel/fish off loading dock. Otherwise, nothing. Boats and floatplanes only. We were immediately invited to a free breakfast at one of the fishing lodges here. Nice. After a nap, we set out to see what the festivities were. They day had a number of activities such as a parade (mostly children walking along the board walks) games such as bobbing for fish heads, fish tossing and the ultimate the greased pole. They had set a very sturdy 20-foot pole from the dock to over the water. This pole was generously coated (repeatedly) with Crisco shortening, and a little flag was erected at the end of the pole. Object of the game was to run, leap on to the pole, slide out and grab the flag before you fall into the 40 degree water. Motivation to win this game was a pot of money, coming from donations from businesses and from people, like us, who had great fun watching the spectacle. It is easy to imagine all of the injuries that could result, and there were many good falls, but everyone remained smiling and laughing, and it was a wonderful time. Eventually, there was a winner, and I believe his prize was $1600 or so. It was a great day, and lots of fun.
It is now the 6th, and we will leave tomorrow for Hoonah, about 40 miles down the road. Once again, it will be tide dependent to leave, so we have a favorable tide to leave on early in the morning. Gabi and Lutz have decided to continue to Sitka, so we will not see them for a while, but they will eventually return to the "Inside", so perhaps we will catch each other again in a while. We are glad we stopped here. It is a beautiful place, and while we were here, the local fishing fleet came in to change over from King Salmon gear to Coho Salmon gear. Lots of activity, and we always enjoy mixing it up with the fishermen. This group here were the smaller boats, many were couples who fish together. It is a really special thing, and we met two boats who were single women doing this. Think of them next time you are shopping for salmon. Don't buy farmed. Help out these hard working people and buy wild Alaska! You would be impressed to see what they do to bring you that fish.
Ok then, enough for now. Travel in the morning! Be Excellent to Each Other!
Rod and Elisabeth,
"Your Rock and Roll Argonauts" "Les Pirates d'Honneur"