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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Sunday, September 05, 2010

A Quick Spin in SE Alaska

Sitka kayaks

On our last day in Sitka the rain stopped and the sun almost came out.

Sitka park

We learned that Sitka security systems can be simple yet effective, but we wonder if this system might be more dangerous for the person that sets it nightly than for the thief.

Sitka security

As we left to make our way through the narrow passes and sounds of SE Alaska we confirmed that Alaska is the land of sport fishing boats, seaplanes and state ferries.

sport fish 1 sport fish 2

sea plane ferry columbia

The coast guard is vigilant about keeping the navigation markers in working order.

Navigation maintenance

Though sometimes foggy, when it cleared we were rewarded with beautiful vistas.

foggy morning

view revealed

A much anticipated stop on our tour was the Baranof Warm Springs. A stop complete with a float for the boat to come alongside!

Baranof dock

We tied up with a view of the falls. Any closer and maneuvering the boat would have been difficult with so much water coming down from the mountains.

tying up at Baranof

We had to decide between the public bath house and the warm spring pools a short hike away - so we resolved to do both.

Baranof bath house

The scenery was beautiful, and neither the bathhouse nor the hot spring pools disappointed.

Baranof lake Baranof lake outlet

Baranof warm springs 1 Baranof warm springs 2

Refreshed from the soaking, we untied the lines and crossed Frederick Sound.

leaving Baranof

Frederick Sound is known as an area where hundreds of humpback whales congregate this time of year and our transit was in calm conditions perfect for seeing the them.

Humpy Frederick sound 1 Humpy Frederick sound 2

Humpy Frederick sound 3 Humpy Frederick sound 4

Though typically we would rather be sailing than motoring, it was a treat to have our day made more enjoyable by such great entertainment. We stopped the motor for almost an hour just to hear the whales blowing and communicating. This was the first time either of us had been around so many whales.

Calm Frederick Sound Sunset Frederick Sound

At the east end of the sound is a town called Petersburg. On our way in to town we saw the masts of a fishing boat sticking out of the water and the salvage boat just arriving.

Sunken boat Petersburg

Salvage boat Petersburg

In town we learned that the boat had struck a large chunk of ice in the middle of the night and had gone down within minutes. We had seen some small bergy bits in the channel and this boat reminded us why we are not traveling at night with ice and logs to avoid.

Petersburg man cave

The town of Petersburg was fun to explore with old building and a Norwegian influence that reminded us of Ballard and Poulsbo, WA.

downtown Petersburg

Petersburg historic bldgs

The town is a very active fishing town with several processing plants and even a large bunkhouse complex for workers.

Petersburg dock

Petersburg view

We were told that sunny days in Petersburg are rare and the good motoring weather made it prudent for us to leave the comfortable dock in time to transit the Wrangle narrows after a quick one night stop.

Marcy Petersburg

The channel is marked by 60 navigation markers in the narrows. They were easy to follow and our timing of the tides on Marcy was done perfectly to avoid the potentially nasty area in the middle of the 20 mile long narrows where the current reverses. The markers come fast and furious around marker number 42 and look a bit intimidating upon approach but all in all it was an easy transit.

Wrangle narrows

Our last stop in Alaska at an inhabited location was a small community, Meyers Chuck, where even the post office has a dinghy dock.

Meyers Chuck post office

Upon arrival we were greeted by a couple, Carol and Dan, who have a home on the island and who keep a troller at the dock this time of year. Luckily for us Dan was able to do a quick brazing repair for us, saving us a run-around in Ketchican. We were very grateful for his help and enjoyed a nice afternoon with them.

Meyers Chuck

After Meyers Chuck the weather began to deteriorate and our progress south was halted at Foggy Bay for a couple of days to wait for an early fall storm to blow through SE Alaska and northern BC. This storm was just a reminder that we need to keep moving south to avoid the fall storms that will probably arrive soon. The storm blew over and we were on our way to Canada just in time for labor day weekend.

Alaska fish boat

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