May 25, 2011
Today we played tourist and took the rental car with Jim & Cheryl to see the sights of Juneau. The weather promised to be sunny and warm. We started with the enormous Fred Meyer, which is reputed to be ¼ mile long, and seems like it when you are inside. From there we drove to the Shrine to Saint Theresa, which is located some 15 miles north of Juneau on the coast looking up the Lynn Canal towards Skagway, with views to the mountains of Glacier Bay off to the west.
After stopping at Costco and Home Depot, we made a visit to the Alaska Brewing Company and sampled beers like the Smoked Porter before finally returning to downtown. In town we walked around in the sunshine and had lunch at the Red Dog Saloon, a totally tourist experience with mediocre food, shopped for new cookbooks at the bookstores, and finally back to the boat for a rest before a pot luck dinner on Sea Jay. The sunset this evening was great, with tomorrow promising to have even better weather before rain returns on Saturday.
May 26, 2011
Departed the Intermediate Vessel Float and headed for Swanson Harbor via Stephens Passage, Lynn Canal and the intersection of Icy Strait, Lynn Canal and Chatham Strait. We have stayed in Swanson Harbor before and used the public floats, which were empty when we and Sea Jay arrived early in the afternoon. We soon had the crab pots set, hoping for a big haul. Later in the afternoon a bald eagle flew to the dock and watched us for about 30 minutes, we think looking for a handout. Finally, with a lot of screeching when two more flew overhead, the eagle took off and we were able to get a picture. By evening, both public floats were nearly full with Juneau residents coming to celebrate Memorial Day. Several of the boats set up tents on shore and there were several beach fires. An evening check of the crab pots brought no luck, so we moved them to a different location in the bay.
May 27, 2011
This was a lazy morning, with a breakfast brunch of biscuits and gravy, then a fishing expedition looking for the elusive halibut. Jim Matheson and Patrick took off in the tender for a spot about 8 miles from Swanson Harbor, but we had only artificial lures and were having a hard time staying on top of the pinnacle in Icy Strait where the locals claim halibut are abundant. Making a side trip to Hoonah for herring we encountered porpoise, humpback whales and sea lions. Hoonah has improved their fuel dock, just not quite open yet, and has a new transient float, but the main harbor looks the same as four years ago.
Returning to the fishing location, we found that another boat had anchored over the pinnacle. We just drifted and Jim caught a pacific cod, which we released.
A check of the crab pots showed we had managed to attract 2 legal crabs and a bunch of smaller crabs in the new location. After a long day we grilled chicken on the BBQ for dinner.
May 28, 2011
This was another lazy morning, with clouds, light rain, and cold temperatures. The crab pots had six nice Dungeness crab, our daily limit for two people, so we processed them and turned some into crab cakes for dinner. The wind came up and Icy Strait looked too rough to fish from with the tender, so this was a day to relax and read. An evening check of the crab pots brought one crab which we gave away to the boat across the dock, which had come up empty in their pots.
May 29, 2011
Although it did not rain overnight, the skies were still overcast, with cool temperatures. The yield from the crab pots was very poor, only one additional crab. Patrick and Jim went in search of fish again, but still no luck. There were a number of boats fishing, but no one was having luck. The late arrival of warm weather has apparently delayed the arrival of halibut into the interior SE Alaska waters. We were treated to a smoked and BBQ'd leg of lamb cooked by Jim for dinner.
May 30, 2011
We were awakened by boats departing early to get back to Juneau. The skies were clear and it promised to be a warm day, for SE Alaska. Departing Swanson Harbor at 0830 we saw numerous humpback whales, but none close enough for photos as we headed south into Chatham Strait. The winds were from the north and with our boat speed, the apparent wind was near zero and we were able to don short sleeves for the first time in weeks. We arrived in Tenakee Springs at 1245 in the afternoon, and after shutting down the boat, Jim and Patrick headed up the inlet to look for a place to set the prawn pots. Neither the weather nor the currents cooperated, so they returned with the pots, only to find out that they could have set them a shorter distance and in shallower water. Next time we will know better.
Crabbing in Tenakee Inlet, normally good, is reported to be sparse, and no one knows why. After a potluck stir fry dinner to reduce the amount of leftovers both we and Matheson's are accumulating, we watched a DVD on Antartica travels and called it a night.
The plan is to depart tomorrow for Takatz Bay for a 1 day stop, and then work our way to Sitka via Peril Strait, planning to arrive on June 4. There will be no phone or internet until then, although we have internet, but no phone in Tenakee Springs.
We have now travelled 1070 nautical miles since departing Anacortes.