We arrived late in the day and stayed in the little cove outside of Tracy Arm, called no name cove. So…. Is that the name - or does it just not have a name? Hmmmm….
We looked for bears but never spotted any in our cove. There was a great big iceberg right outside the cove entrance, just a taste of what was to come. Marc and I had fun gathering mussels off of the beach, and steaming them for dinner in white wine and tarragon, then dipping them in melted butter – divine! First, we had to only eat one and wait half an hour, in case they had PSP which is very toxic. There were no ill effects, so we gobbled down the rest. The next day, we stared the cruise up Tracy Arm to look at the glacier up there. The day was cold and wet, which really suited the mood of the arm. This place is so dramatic – high mountains and cliffs, with great “U” shaped valleys and mist and fog all around. The waterway snakes up the fiord – which is a fairly narrow passageway, with tremendous steep granite walls, like a canyon. I took some great photos ! We never made it to the face of the glacier, but the trip was still well worth it. There comes a point where it is futile to continue. The waters were so chocked with ice, there was nowhere to go but back. I did manage to snag an iceberg in my fishing net that has served us well keeping our drinks cold. The ice is crystal clear, and the chunk I netted was about 20 pounds. Back in our little cove, we caught crabs and more mussels, and had a feast of Thai red curry mussels, complete with coconut milk and cilantro, over rice. Yum! Cracked Dungeness crabs were the appetizer – we even caught 2 little king crab, but threw them back.
In the morning we left our little cove and headed back to Petersburg for the festival. I am so glad we did! We requested a slip at the south docks this time, what an improvement! Still a ton of fishing boats, but not the derelict kind. The docks were wide and nice with 50 amp power and plentiful water. Our Brit friends from Cloudy Bay were there, and soon 3 more magnificent Nordhavn Passagemakers showed up that were traveling in a group, and they all docked together with Cloudy Bay (Serendipity, Skie, and one other) Skie had their boat sent over here from Australia on a transport ship to cruise the Northwest waters.
Saturday was beautiful weather, and it was festival time! The parade was great – the most unique thing was the little Norwegian kids in their fancy garb dancing and playing in the streets. A lot of men and women had beautiful hand knit Norwegian sweaters and many of the more traditional women and girls had pinafore dresses in shades of blue with white caps. Very authentic! Then there were the young men and women that were styled after the Norsemen of yore – they sported the double horned helmets, and flowing furs of wolf pelts– legs attached! These were mostly the singles in their 20s, strutting their stuff. The men looked and acted very macho.
After the parade, there was a herring toss and catch contest in the street. 2 rows of contestants line up facing their partner – there were about 75 or so pairs of participants. The fish (about 8 inches long) are handed out – one per team. The fish are then tossed between teammates, and if successfully caught, they advance to the next stage. The gap is widened with each volley (“take a giant step back!”). The contestants eagerly scramble to position themselves for a good catch, and then are initially pleased which quickly turns to “grossed out” when they actually catch the slimy fish. It was so funny! I had my movie camera with me, and will be able to post video when I return home. After the contest, it was on to the Elks Club for the smorgasbord. Excellent food! We accompanied the 4 couples that were on their Nordhavns, including our friends Henry and Janice on Cloudy Bay.
The next day was rainy, and even though the festivities were still going on, not many make it out due to the weather. We decided to take this opportunity to rent a car, and travel around the island. There was an older couple that wanted a car, too – we took the last car, so Marc invited them along for the tour. It was a fun morning despite the weather. We had a nice visit with the older couple from Seward. Quite a few tourists come from all over Alaska to join in the fun for Viking days. We talked to several people who came from Juneau on the “fast ferry” (4 hours).
We left Petersburg early Sunday morning heading out towards Baranof Island. We made it as far as Honeydew Cove, just north of Kake. Beautiful anchorage. I caught my second fish on the way, but it was not the halibut I was fishing for! We saw many whales and dall porpoise. I almost got stuck on shore in the morning, the tide goes out so quickly up here because there are often 16-18 foot tide changes. The water just won’t stay still. After much struggle, I managed to wiggle the diinhgy to the deeper water. All before my morning cup of coffee! What you will do for your adoring pooch (the sod was tossed overboard weeks ago, she didn’t like it anymore)
The next stop on the way was Red Bluff Bay. This is where we saw our first grizzly bears, and some fantastic waterfalls. We had the bay all to ourselves (all 10 miles of it) This was a great place to motor around on the dinghy, which is how we spotted our first bear – we were able to navigate pretty close to shore, and shoot a lot of photos. After that, we went back to Cinnamon Girl for dinner. We had anchored close to shore, and watched our second grizzly of the day munching on vegetation right on the shore. It was great to make dinner and watch the bear out the window – a safe distance away.
On to Warm Springs Bay – what a treat! There is a small public dock there, with quite a few boats already tied up (about a dozen boats) The boats on dock squeezed together to make room for us on the inside of the float – the preferred side due to currents. What was amazing about this place was the plentiful water - hot and cold! They had a dock hose that ran constantly from the snow melt – gravity fed – and pure. We filled our tanks with the untreated water (as everyone does). The best part was the plentiful warm water, flowing down to the bath houses and, if you are up for the hike, the pools on the side of the waterfall in three beautiful rock basins. The larger basin was extremely hot, you could cook yourself in there, but the second one down – was just right. The little one on the cliffs edge was a bit scary, and not that big, but you can reach out and touch the raging waterfalls from that vantage point – tempting!
The next day was not a great day due to a faulty sensor that indicated we had water in our fuel. I guess that is better than actually having water in your fuel, but what an ordeal. We were free floating while diagnosing the problem, and then couldn’t get the motor started – long story short – drained the fuel filter – got an airlock – didn’t know how to re-prime the motor – consulted several people back home (Thank you Tim and Forrest!!) Tim pointed us in the right direction, and Forrest confirmed. Marc was in the engine room reading the manual while the shore loomed - well – it was 2 miles away :-). The fish were so plentiful under the boat, that every time Marc wanted a read on the depth finder it read 20 feet - that is how deep the school was, creating a false bottom depth! I know better than to believe that when the charts tell me “no way” but it was still disconcerting because the fish school went on and on (we were actually at a safe 1500 feet). At this point, we felt we needed to make a beeline for Angoon (a very old Tlingit village, which was the closest bay) because we still were not sure if we had water in the fuel or not, and needed to diagnose at the safety of the docks. It was a tricky entrance due to current but we came in very near slack (a good thing). I couldn’t believe the eddies in the water on the inside of the bay. We stayed on the old fishing docks, and never even make it to town. We did have quite a show of all the locals fishing the small bay in their runabouts around and around the bay trolling for kings. Marc talked to the Volvo service guy in Seattle on the phone who believed it was a faulty sensor, based on what we told him. So now we have 2 new sensors coming to Juneau. (a spare!) CG has 3 systems that run on diesel – all were affected by draining the fuel from the Racors – the main engine, furnace and generator. Marc was able to prime the main engine, and the furnace, but we still have not been able to revive the generator – yet.
We left Angoon on the next slack tide early in the morning, and saw a humpback in that little bay right in front of us in 40 feet of dead calm water - amazing. We were out in Chatham Straight which was rather bumpy on the way up to Tennakee Springs. Ducking into Tennakee seemed like the best idea due to the rough ride, and one I do not regret! A nice wide bay, and tons of dall porpoise to escort us to the docks. They must be so used to the boats turning into the marina, they actually made the turn ahead of us as if to say, “hey come this way”. It was so neat! When we got there, it was hot. We talked to some people who were taking a boat up to Whittier. They had traveled all the way from Seattle – in the last nine days. I thought I had misheard them. I asked if they had stopped anywhere, or did they travel all night. They assured me they had stopped along the way. Must have been one heck of a weather window, and fast engines is all I can say. I felt like a slacker!
We walked to town, which I loved. It was just a dirt path, and the only vehicles on the island are ATVS and bicycles, except for the fuel truck and fire truck. Most of the dwellings are from the early 1900s and very cute. They are right smack on the trail, many of the porches and back doors touch the trail, and they are very close together. It is a close-knit community, and they are even able to support a public school. There are just a handful of students, but they all go on to do good things from this little village, I was told by a local. I was also informed it is mostly a retirement community.
I was told by the harbormaster the electricity was out after our jaunt to town, so we were not able to get any juice from the docks. While walking down the trail. I stopped to talk to the local men (citizens) trying to fix it. The young guy had a 20 ft telescoping pole with a boat hook looking thing on the end of it. He was trying to perform surgery on a switch next to the telephone pole 20 feet in the air and was getting cheers and advice from his elder not so dexterous- burly, bearded, paunchy, suspendered comrades, a.k.a. Alaska men. I stopped to ask one of them– “Is he going to get it fixed?’ the answer came back, “Oh, it always gets fixed, it’s whether its today or not.”
Hours later, the lights came on. When we awoke the next morning the power was already off again *sigh*
Well, that’s it for now, I will let you know how the trip ends next time, stay posted, and thank you for reading. Stay tuned for pictures, there is no way I can post photos with this internet speed!