Warm at Warm Springs
12 July 2017 | Baronof Warmm Springs
Monday, July 9
First of all, good news on the engine. The fuel/water separator remained clear throughout the day, so our engine is happy, and correspondingly, we are too. Although we had rain in the forecast, we were graced with no rain for most of the day. But, in exchange, we had pretty strong winds directly on the nose and an adverse tidal current most of the day. Thus, we kicked the engine revs up higher than we normally run to try and maintain a 5 knot average speed. Chatham strait is a long straight north and south body of water, so the fetch has plenty of room to build into some pretty good waves. Did they slow us down? Yes. Were we jumping and hopping? Yes, but not as bad as out in the open Gulf. Was it another work day that had us wondering when does the fun begin? Yes.
So then, when does the fun begin? At about 1600 we turned out of the washing machine into the protection of Baronof Warm Springs Bay. Ah....the fun begins/ All of a sudden, we were in calm water, no adverse current, and no wind. Warm Springs is just that. At the end of the bay, there is a little settlement of a few houses, a beautiful waterfall, warm springs and some anchoring spots. There is also a dock (free) on which to tie up. There were also many boats already tied up, and we set up to anchor, spend the night, and be gone tomorrow morning. But, there were people waving at us on the dock to come in and tie up there. Hmmm.... lot of boats and just a little space in between a big fish boat and a trawler. Can we possibly fit in that little spot? Doubt it. But they called out to us that there was 55 feet, we are 43+-, so well, maybe we give it a try. "Will you take lines and help us in?", I yelled. "Gladly!" was the response. So, we circled to change over from anchoring to dock tie and made our approach. The waterfall creates a current that was pushing us into the fish boat, and I needed to clear both boats, so it was dicey. But I got close as I could, and actually pushed off our stern just as we cleared (almost) the big anchor of the fish boat, and just as we were almost clear, I saw that the little antenna tree at the back of our radar mast was destined for contact with that big anchor. A quick blast of power (as I could hear our helpers call out that we had "Plenty of room up front!", and we just, ever so gently, kissed the anchor with our antenna tree. Whew! Too close for my comfort, but, hey, we were now in, and is this spot ever beautiful. We had not planned to visit the warm spring baths, it was only to be a stop for the night. But, a conversation with the guy on the fish boat changed our mind about the bath.
There are two options. The original warm spring is at the top of the waterfall, and you would go sit in the hot creek. Some say it is too hot there, but the view to the anchorage is stunning. The other option is the cabin. The locals have built a cabin divided with three rooms that face the anchorage and are open on that side. Since the walls separate the tubs, they are quite private from each other. They are fed continuous clean, fresh water from the warm spring. Sounded nice, and we chose to give it a go. It was amazing. We felt like cooked noodles after the bath, the view was simply amazing, and the high mineral content made us forget all about the somewhat difficult day out on Chatham Strait. We will stay the for another night, just to relax up and enjoy this perfect example of what we were hoping to find in cruising the Inside Passage. Nice people here, all traveling from somewhere, some in very small boats, all having a nice time together. One of our neighbors is a former Navy P-3 pilot, and he and I shared stories about having been at Moffett Field, where I learned to fly, and was an air traffic controller, at nearly the same time back in the 1970s. His education was also in biology, so he and Elisabeth had much to talk about too.
Suddenly, it feels like cruising!
Be Excellent to Each Other!
Rod and Elisabeth,
"Your Rock and Roll Argonauts" "Les Pirates d'Honneur"