Today was a day off to catch up on laundry, chill out, and shrimp off the back of the boat.
June 30, 2021
With all of Steve’s family traveling back to the lower 48, it was time to depart Ketchikan. Liz and Tonia went on a quick excursion to the Tongass Totem Museum to learn the history of totem poles in the Southern Alaska. It was quite interesting.
The wind was not cooperative in the low 20 knots when we started our journey north. As we got into the Clarence Strait, the waves also picked up and we briefly joined the Alaska Space Program with a few moments of low gravity. We decided to abandon the float plan for the day and head for protection in Smugglers Cove on the south side of Cleaveland Peninsula. It was a beautiful and much calmer space to anchor. We did get to see whales so that certainly made the detour worthwhile (though pics never really do the experience justice).
After getting settled in we got out the kayaks and checked out the shore. Some nice people left a swing and we poked around. Tonia is frustrated with the lack of recycling in Alaska but that didn’t stop her from doing a beach cleanup while on shore. Much more garbage washed ashore than one would have thought for a remote island!
Today was fishing day. We made arrangements with Capt. Sandra of Chick Charters to go out on a full-day charter. The morning was scheduled for salmon fishing and the afternoon for halibut. Capt. Sandra started the morning by setting the lines and then calling her pet eagle. Ok, it’s not her pet but it comes to her when called to get a free meal.
Capt. Sandra took no crap from the crew, and we were, um, quickly whipped into shape. Pole up, pole down, no lip ripping. So many rules. I was promoted to net duty after pulling in a nice king salmon.
We pulled in 11 salmon over the morning and there were at least 7 more that got away. The worst was a large king salmon that tangled in the downrigger line and manage to break free. Capt. Sandra was not happy with me for that mishap!
The afternoon was a little rougher as the halibut are farther out in the open water this time of year. After pulling in one good-sized halibut, we snagged a dog fish. For some reason me and dog fish have a sordid history. Then the wind really picked up and the waves began to get unmanageable, so we called it a day.
If you’re ever in Ketchikan and want to go fishing, we would highly recommend Chick Charters! She caters to families and women so it’s a great time for anyone that wants to give charter fishing a shot. We enjoyed a delicious fresh salmon dinner that night prepared by Steve and sides by Barbara and Tonia.
We were back to Ketchikan for fishing charter next day and for Steve’s family to fly out two days later. We had a lovely dinner with great view of town and water at Cape Fox treated by Steve’s brother Gary. Here are just a few random shots from the day.
The Coda crew was eager to get back to the fishing, so we headed back towards Ketchikan. While they attempted to repeat the halibut harvesting, we settled into Alava Bay with the forest service cabin within view.
It was midsummer (celebrated the Saturday after the Summer Solstice) so we enjoyed homemade Swedish meatballs by Christian & Liz along with pickled herring, boiled eggs, potatoes & onions, and more. Barbara treated us to a homemade apple pie with pecan crumble on top. YUM!
Before departing Ketchikan, we checked out the 55North Bakery & Coffee and enjoyed a delicious sticky bun and peanut butter cream pie (think Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie but with homemade peanut butter cookie awesomeness). A definite must-return treat!
We saw seals and had a misty welcome to fjords. We planned to try to anchor in the Punchbowl Cove. However, there was a large boat across the anchoring using the only mooring buoy for their stern tie. So off to Punchbowl Northeast. The trip totally explained why we were in the Misty Fjords. The visibility went down to 100 feet it a couple places. We found the anchorage and set up in about 75 feet of water. The detoured bay was totally worth it though!
The fjords totally blocked all modern technology, and we could not even use VHF to check in with Coda. Had to get the dinghy out and travel halfway back to get in contact! Coda was behind us as they were fishing on the way over. They picked up a nice halibut so after they settled in, we had a great dinner.
June 25, 2021
Matt, Christian, and Steve’s son Nick went out early to pull the crab trap – a nice haul with eight total, five of which were keepers – and then the long haul back to the mouth of the inlet where the shrimp trap was dropped on the way in the day before – a smaller haul of three shrimps. It was a very misty and chilly ride there and back but all were troopers. We had a nice crab dinner that night!
The rest of the day we puttered around on the dinghy in the bay checking out the stream that connected at one end, snow that fell at one side, and looked for wildlife (alas, no bears) finding mostly birds and seal appearances.
Our final day of boating before reaching port was just under 6 hours, thankfully! We were all ready at this point to get our sea legs on land again! We arrived to Ketchikan, AK, and we stopped for fuel for the first time after Roche Harbor filling up with 426 gallons (still had about ~170 gallons in the reserves). Maddie, our fuel dock helper, was super nice and gave us some tips for restaurants and sites, saying to check out the town as the local businesses are hurting without the regular seasonal cruise ships that are still on hold until late July. We docked around 1 pm and after securing boats, we headed to town for lunch at Ketchikan Crab & Grille enjoying a meal we didn’t have to cook. Oddly, the restaurant hails from Florida!
After lunch, we checked out town walking by some live music on the dock and popping into a few stores on the way. Store options were a little limited as many are closed on Sundays &/or Mondays here. There was surprise cruise ship, the American Constellation, that also came into port. It was a smaller cruise vessel as the current limit is 250 passengers. We also saw a National Geographic cruise ship that looked like it was awaiting passengers to arrive.
We also stocked up on provisions walking a mile to Safeway though we took the Sourdough cab back as we’d loaded up a bit too much to carry back!
June 21, 2021
Started off the day with Jellyfish Donuts provided by Christian & Liz. YUM! They made the donuts to order for toppings.
Today was laid back with some more ambling around town and general hijinks. 😉
We did happy hour/early dinner at the 108 Burger joint, which had tasty fried cheese curds for these native Midwesterners along with three aioli options (Erika would be jealous).
June 22, 2021
We checked out Creek Street, which is built up primarily on stilts along a salmon run, the Ketchikan Creek. There are establishments that used to be brothels and such but now converted to shops featuring local Alaskan artists, except one that’s Dolly’s museum for a well-known lady of the era. We saw some wildlife too – a seal and cat.
June 23, 2021
Went for run and played Clank. Reprovisioned for the weekend.
We left Kumealon Inlet and exited Grenville Channel to take on the last leg of Canada and enter back into the U.S. and Alaska. We bypassed Canadian port Prince Rupert and crossed the last of the open waters with the ocean to our left/port side. Most of the day was pretty calm and easy going though the last couple hours on the open seas were progressively more rocky with bigger swells. We made it through and reached Foggy Bay, the first anchorage spot in Alaska after checking in with U.S. customs by phone (they let us all back in!). We were greeted with our first bear sighting, a black bear on the shoreline in front of us!
The crew were all tired after a nearly 11-hour boating day yet we still had to secure anchorage. Christian volunteered to help Coda anchor and stern tie to shore. He kayaked the stern line to shore (not near the bear sighting) to tie to a tree and then we rafted off of Coda. Only a minor injury slipping on the precarious and slippery rocks.
Once secured, a dinghy ride followed to greet No Regrets, a boat also moored in Foggy Bay that had been shadowing us along our route ever since the Strait of Juan de Fuca in WA.
Today we started out from Kutze Inlet and headed towards Grenville Channel. The nickname is The Ditch because it is 45 straight miles of the same thing. We planned on arriving to the beginning of the channel around noon so we could have lunch and wait for the current change. However, when we arrived we had a favorable 2 knot current so we just kept cruising. The current change that was supposed to be in our favor was not all that helpful and we slowed a bit mid afternoon.
At about three-quarters of the way up Grenville Channel, we stopped at Kumealon Inlet for the night. Another beautiful anchorage!
This could also be titled “Waterfall Day” as we encountered many today. Tonia was napping when we came up to the first one and almost missed it. Christian, Liz and I were up by the helm when we heard Tonia exclaim. “What! You weren’t going to wake me up for the first waterfall!” Luckily she was up in time to see it and many others that followed.
The day was overcast and raining most of it so the pictures have a mostly gray filter.
We spent the night in Kutze Inlet by a waterfall. But not “the” waterfall as we didn’t go all the way to the back of the inlet.
The great news is the ocean crossing was uneventful! It was a very long day and most of the photos are from long distances.
We traveled across the Queen Charlotte Strait, around Cape Caution, and ended the day just north of Bella Bella in Cavin Cove. The odometer said we traveled 99.5 miles and we clocked in just shy of 12 hours. The waves were a little rolly polly during the crossing but thankfully didn’t have any possessions thrown about. Overall, a great, but long, day.