Beautiful cruising day, Inside Passage, BC
19 September 2017 | northbound Verney Passage, west side Gribbell Island
"Whoosh!" And then it was over. Another cruising summer in Southeast Alaska finished, done, gone. "That's all folks!" We've still got three weeks of running south on the Inside Passage through BC ahead of us, good company aboard with which to share it -- Ben, Hilary & Capt-Capt Wade -- and, no doubt, some adventures still to come; but Summer's over.
It's cold enough for hats and gloves when we take the dogs to the beach morning and evening and often dark as well. This morning, anchored in Lowe Inlet off Grenville Channel, south of Prince Rupert BC, we rowed the skiff to the beach in the dark, for pee & poo patrol, finding our way back to DavidEllis by the anchor light at the top of DE's mast. The long, days of Alaskan summer have passed.
It's been a great summer! We ran one thousand miles, from Seattle to Wrangell with returning crew Clancy & Sue, during May. Dorothy and Sue had a knit-a-thon, while Clancy kindly helped me get DE shipshape after a long winter sitting at the dock. First half June, with Karen, Roger and Linda aboard (and our 5 year old grandson DJ!) we cruised Wrangell Island anchorages and ran up through Wrangell Narrows to Frederick Sound, to see humpback whales, in spite of wet and windy weather. Our Aussie boat neighbors Warren & Heather from Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter (Hong Kong) joined us for an exploration of the west side of Prince of Wales Island, last half of June. My 16 year-old niece Jaselle took her first-ever airplane trip to join us from Ketchikan to Wrangell for July 4th to Tracy Arm for glaciers. Not to mention whales and bears and otters -- oh my!
Mid-July we left DE in Wrangell, Rusty and Rascal with Andi (Knitty Gritty's roller-derby pal) and flew down to Sonoma County for our 50th high school reunion. I was originally reluctant about the reunion -- after all, there would be no one there but old people -- instead is was just a bunch of kids we went to school with. Then back to AK and DE in time for Capt-Capt Wade and Hong Kong Aussie friend Kevin to join the crew. Wrangell to Sitka, via whales, orcas, hot springs and a reunion with SV Carina who we last saw when crossing the Pacific aboard MV Shearwater, 2013
Jim and Kathleen joined us in Sitka, from where we ran back to Baranof Warm Springs and saw bears, bears and more bears along the way. A special treat for our guests, was spotting a colony of the rare and elusive Sitka flamingo. Jake, who we first met at Hebe Haven in Hong Kong (and later buddy-cruised with us in SE AK aboard his SV In Your Dreams, along with Shearwater, and Honu) joined us for a run from Sitka to Juneau, via Elfin Cove and Hoonah, which included a glorious hour with a pod of 20-25 humpbacks bubble-feeding at the intersection of Chatham and Peril Strait. And should you happen to stop by Shirley & Merce's Coho Bar & Grill in Elfin Cove for a beer or a burger, and have the urge to use the restroom, you're welcome; Jake and I installed the new, insulated-tank toilet.
Very end of August / beginning September, Dorothy, Rusty, Rascal and I dawdled back to Wrangell from Juneau, checking out areas we'd never been into before. Wrangell Harbor lifted DE out for a quick power wash and inspection by Don at Superior Marine. Don's the guy responsible for our beautiful paint job topsides and our perfect bottom (7 years after blasting and re-coating).
After the lift-out, Dorothy, the boys and I spent a couple days just catching our breath and visiting with Wrangell friends, before starting the southbound passage, back to our winter world.
Are we tired of it? Working on the boat during the winter; cruising SE AK in the summers? Not a bit. Are there other places we'd like to cruise? Of course! Our friends Ginger & Peter aboard SV Irene are now in Greenland having mostly completed a west to east Northwest Passage transit, and we'd like to do that also with the goal of a couple years in Northern Europe. For a variety of reasons that's not in the cards right now, and may not happen at all. In the meantime, we're loving what we're doing.
Winter's coming and we have a wish list of projects and improvements for the good ship DE. How far we get will always depend on time, money, energy and other unknown variables. For certain though, is that we've got an appointment at Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-operative 10 October, for a rebuild of the house charging system -- bigger alternation, bigger charging cables etc, etc.
The weekend before our boatwork appointment is the Port Townsend Kinetic Sculpture Race. We're hoping to finish our southbound passage in time for this eclectic event.
As I write this, tomorrow is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, so until we spy yer sail on the horizon, mate, I be wishing ye fair winds and bountiful booty... Arrr.