The Big Blue

02 August 2020 | Fury Cove
31 July 2020 | Meyers Passage
26 July 2020 | Ketchikan
22 July 2020 | Petersburg
20 July 2020 | Petersburg
16 July 2020 | Appleton Cove
10 July 2020 | Sitka
07 July 2020 | Gulf of Alaska
04 July 2020
04 December 2014 | Anchorage
24 July 2014 | Bulldog Cove
21 July 2014 | Shelikof Straight
10 July 2014
02 July 2014
28 June 2014
19 June 2014
17 June 2014
14 June 2014 | Passage

Fury Cove

02 August 2020 | Fury Cove
Mark
Yesterday we had yet another warm sunny day as we motored past Shearwater (now closed to tourists,)
out into Fitz Hugh Sound and on to Pruth Bay, where it is said that there are some of the best beaches on
the entire west coast. However, the research station, Hakai, and even the island itself are also closed
due to Covid. This is normally a prime destination for visiting yachts, so it was eerie that there was no
sign of life at the facility, and no boats anchored out in front. The large ocean-facing beaches are
normally accessible via a short hike through the woods to the other side. It was frustrating to be here,
and unable to go ashore and visit these places due to Covid 19. We clearly are no risk to anyone as there
isn't anyone here. But rules are rules. We did set the crab pot after anchoring in the cove just to the
north and this morning were pleased to pull up 5 in the pot, with 3 keepers!
Today was a short and wet 17 mile run out Lama Passage and down Fitz Hugh Sound. Danny and I did a
little fishing at the entrance into Fitz Hugh and caught some rockfish for us to eat while keeping the
carcasses for crab bait. Though it was wet and foggy, the seas were calm with just a light headwind. On
seeing a reddish ship emerge in the fog, I had Lolo turn on the AIS to identify ourselves. At first, the AIS
target just showed Canadian Vessel. But after some time, the description confirmed it was a Canadian
Coast Guard cutter. We watched them change course and veer off toward Safety Cove - presumably
satisfied that we were an authorized vessel in transit. We continued on to Fury Cove and after winding
into the small protected inner harbor, we found a nice place to anchor with two small sandy beaches
framing a small opening looking directly out into Fitz Hugh Sound. Though wet, it's quite picturesque.
Tomorrow, we will continue on to Port Hardy, where we'll change the oil, get fuel and water before
continuing on.

Making tracks

31 July 2020 | Meyers Passage
Mark
We've had a string of nice days and have take advantage of them to make some serious tracks down the coast.
We departed Prince Rupert and had a lovely 65 mile day sailing with sunshine and following wind and seas. Anchored last night in a
spectacular little place called Lundy Cove. As soon as we dropped the hook, I dropped a fishing line and immediately hooked into
something that was large enough to begin stripping line off my large ocean rod. Not necessarily wanting to deal with a large fish after the
long day, I was not too disappointed when the line went limp as he'd gotten off. I messed around just a little longer and couldn't hardly
get the line down without it being hit by a black rock fish and when I did get it down to the bottom, it was fish after fish of some other rock
fish. Luckily, it wasn't very deep and so each one I released sped away down to the bottom. Lundy cove is just outside a saltwater
lagoon surrounded by granite and at high tide the ocean spills into and out of the lagoon over the boulders in addition to it's normal outfow
spot. In short, it was yet again, another spot I'd like to spend at least a couple days exploring. But, we found there is weather coming our
way, and we really should make some mile and get away from Queen Charlotte Sound. And so it was that today we left Lundy at 0800
and headed south. Listening to the VHF weather, we found a discrepancy between the French version - which was predicting FIFTY
KNOTS SE, and the English version on the same VHF weather, predicting 15-20 SE. We had really wanted to stop in McMicking and
stay, but that would put is with another 45 miles to go against the SE winds on Friday and since the velocity of those winds was
somewhat in question, we opted for a quick 1 hour treat to duck in there and take a swim, before heading on. After eventually ducking
into Laredo Channel, we rode the last of the flood in and over the shallows - seeing 20 feet at one point. This coincided with the fact
there is only 5 feet at mean low water, so our timing was just right. Once through, we dropped the hook just on the other side, shut the
engine off and ate dinner. Basking in the calm and clear night, we just found the forecast for Queen Charlotte Sound has now been
upgraded to a full gale. It is good to have made the prudent decision.

Ketchikan

26 July 2020 | Ketchikan
Mark Ward | Rainy
We arrived in Ketchikan on Friday and were lucky enough to get a very nice slip on the Ketchikan Yacht Club float just a stone’s throw from the yacht club building which has laundry and shower facilities! Once tied up, I set off via city bus to the post office to retrieve my package from Trans Atlantic Diesel – a new front main oil seal for the engine. This would be Saturday’s project. On my return, and since it was nice and dry out, I took the opportunity to repair the head of our genoa as we’d somehow managed to rip the Kevlar webbing off of it the day before while beating up Clarence Strait. I had tried reaching the only sail maker in Ketchikan, but found that he’d unfortunately passed away a few months ago. Unfortunately, we did not bring the Sailright sewing machine with us on this trip, so this job would have to be done by hand. Luckily, we have all the things we need to do such a job. The top of the sail is many layers thick, requiring the use of an awl to make a hole for each and every stitch. A few hours later, and with pretty sore hands, I had it done and we hoisted the headsail and rolled her up.
On Saturday I mopped out the oil under the engine did an oil change and installed the new oil seal. Everything went without a hitch, but in the process, I also discovered the bolt holding the pulley on the crankshaft had become loose which resulted in the woodruff key wearing out. Danny volunteered to longboard to the closest Napa auto parts store to pick up a replacement and on his return, we completed the job and buttoned up the engine compartment. This should resolve the slobbering oil issue. Today I was reminded of the adage that cruising is often referred to as “fixing the boat in exotic places.”
We’ve been enjoying a few days here in Ketchikan, doing some shopping and getting our laundry done. Today, we’ll get fuel and propane, go out to dinner, shower up and be ready for our next leg – Prince Rupert, BC. We won’t be able to go ashore for anything but fuel while in BC due to Covid, so tonight will be our last night in a town for a while.

Who's got crab legs?

22 July 2020 | Petersburg
Mark Ward | Rainy
Today, I was on a mission to find some live Dungeness crab. Petersburg is literally engulfed in a cloud of boiling crab steam, yet there are no live tanks or boats obviously selling crab on the docks. Likewise the processors seem unable to comprehend the idea that someone would want to buy a couple live ones. I guess the tourists are missing so nobody is catering to our particular need. I had to go under cover.
Stopping by the Napa for some boat supplies, I casually asked if anyone was selling crab off the docks. The clerk hesitated and said, “well,…the crab season is winding down, but sometimes there are some skiffs that come in later in the afternoon and they may have some. If you can’t find any, let me know and I have a couple numbers I can call.” So off I went to the middle harbor and walked the two floats. But there was no activity and no obvious crab sellers. I would need to come back later in the afternoon. And so it was, after I took a load of laundry to the Laundromat and dried it, I set off again with my bucket. On the south float of the middle harbor, I met a stately older gentleman cleaning his gill net and he asked if I was looking for a boat. “No,” I said, “I was looking for anyone willing to sell a couple of Dungeness crab.” He looked me over and said, “Well, you can check with that guy over there.” I looked at the boat he was pointing at. It was covered in tarps and clearly hadn’t moved in some time. But there was a modest skiff tied alongside. The gentleman walked over with me and poked his head under the tarp. “Hey, you selling any crab today?” “Yep. 10-bucks a piece for the bigger ones. How many you want?” I chimed in and told him, I’d take 3 if he had them. “I’ll have to pull up my trash can. Give me your bucket. And hey, you’re not an undercover cop are you?” “No!” I said, and pulled out $30 bucks from my wallet. A few minutes later, he handed me back my bucket and I was off down the dock with my prize.
And so it was, tonight we feasted on the freshest and most delicious Dungeness crab we’ve ever tasted. After getting the water headed, Ginger watched as I ripped their heads off and rinsed the gills and guts off each half. Then, I took them in and straight to the boiling water. The garlic mashed potatoes I’d made seemed to lose relevance as we each dove into the steaming pile of crab halves on our plates. Ginger’s senses were heightened as Danny kept sliding her pieces of crab under the table, decrying “This crab doesn’t even need any butter!” We proceeded to cover the salon table in crab shrapnel. Hmmmm, we are leaving tomorrow, but perhaps we should go visit the “crab-man” again.

Petersburg

20 July 2020 | Petersburg
Mark Ward | Rainy
Yesterday we arrived at Petersburg after an easy motor up from Portage Bay. We picked up some glacier ice and filled the deck cooler with it before coming in. We proceeded to fuel up and are now in a slip for a couple days waiting for some weather to pass before we transit the Wrangell Narrows. Our leg included the rest of Peril Straight and then a long smooth motor down North Chatham Straight with a brief detour into Waterfall Bay. Baranoff Island is truly a jewel and one I'm glad to have finally seen. We overnighted in Warm Springs Bay, an amazing little community perched on the rocks right next to a raging waterfall. Hot springs feed several bath houses that overlook the tiny bay and allow for your own personal hot tub with privacy, but just up the boardwalk a ways, and amongst towering rain forest spruce, lays the source of the springs, marked on a boardwalk post with just the word "HOT." There are two pools, one spilling into the next and then just 20 feet from that, the raging crashing white water of the river. We spent our time alternating between a small cut in the rocks filled with freezing river water, and the less hot of the hot pools. When we'd had our fill, we walked up the boardwalk just a bit more to find Baranoff Lake, the source of the raging river and waterfall below. Trout bag limit signs surely piqued my interest, but we needed to move on.
The next day, we beat out of Chatham Straight and also up Frederick Sound in rain and 20 knots on the nose. We were treated by a spectacular whale breaching show as a young humpback breached repeatedly. On starboard tack, we sailed on our coarse but just kept getting closer and closer as the show continued. The final breach, was way too close for comfort and while Danny took some pictures, Lolo and I decided it was time to tack away. Neither of us wanted to be aboard one of those boats to have a whale crash down on the decks! As we tacked away, the show continued, but we quickly left them behind. After a long wet beat, we anchored in Honey Dew Cove on the north end of Kuiu Is. The next day we again beat 35 miles into 20 knots, stressing the cat out and soaking most our rain gear to the bone. As we approached Portage Bay, the current was ebbing 3 knots out of the entrance, but we were able to motor in. Just inside the neck of Portage Bay, we found a nice shallow anchorage, fired up the heater, had dinner and went to bed early.
We are now berthed next to S/V Bob in Petersburg. Time to do some exploring while Lolo works.

We left Sitka

16 July 2020 | Appleton Cove
Mark
Sitka
After arriving in Sitka, we fueled up and got an end-tie in Eliason harbor for a few nights. We did laundry and some exploring, while taking some notes on places we wanted to revisit and had a nice dinner out. White King Salmon, steamer clams and rockfish fish and chips were shared with wine and Fresh Squeezed IPA. The place was a ghost town compared to any non-Covid summer day, but pretty dang nice for us and the food and service at the restaurant was really very good. As we wobbled home, a good night's sleep was in order after the big crossing and we slept in soundly. Lolo spent the next couple days working while Danny and I tackled some projects, then we headed out to Goddard Hot
Springs Saturday morning. The rain cleared and clouds parted as we watched numerous humpback whales breaching and tail-slapping, before arriving to a bright sunny calm anchorage at Goddard and waited our turn to hit the natural hot water pools. As we soaked in the upper pool/bathhouse, a gaggle of gals on a girl's day off took over the lower pool and had the time of their lives. Laughter spilled out in waves long after we left and I was sure there must have been some Champaign involved. We enjoyed some of the fresh halibut I'd previously caught in Seward with Tom and Jenny and made that al-la Marx Brothers style - Macadamia nut encrusted coconut curry. Had a great evening and again, slept well. We spent the next day trolling for salmon and had a couple on, but ended up accidentally catching two black
rockfish - which was awesome anyway as that's Danny's favorite fish. A couple more days, running errands and waiting for Lolo to finish her meetings, and we finished things off with a spectacular meal at Ludwig's Bistro. The food and deserts were amazing and a bit of a splurge as we'll be eating aboard for the next while. We then went for a spectacular walk after dinner through Totem Park. The paths led into a grove of giant trees and historic totem poles that were simply dwarfing. I'm so glad we got to see this spiritual quiet place and feel the history of its past. The totem artistry was ominous and fantastic!
We left Sitka today and transited Peril Straights and are now anchored in Appleton Cove - and old lugging camp. We watched a local fishing boat check his Dungeness crab pots, one of which he pulled 20 legal crabs from. Just one! I like this place. We may have to bribe him tomorrow with cash!
Vessel Name: Radiance
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau First456
Hailing Port: Seward, AK
Crew: Mark Ward, Laurence
About:
M [...]
Extra:
Radiance is a German Frers designed Beneteau First456 sloop. She has the deep lead fin keel and tall rig. She competes in the local sailing regattas and had taken top honors in all events on multiple occasions. Laurence and Mark have returned from a 2.5 year blue water cruise that essentially [...]
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Added 22 June 2013