Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Juneau to Glacier Bay

May 28, 2012

Bill and Ruth Craven departed this afternoon after 30 days recreating Bill's voyage of 60 years ago.  We began the preparations for the next several weeks as we head to Sitka via Glacier Bay.

May 29, 2012

Our permits are in order to enter Glacier Bay on May 30, 2012 and remain until June 2, 2012.  When we called for a permit we found we were still in the system from 2007, so it was easy to update the information and get a permit number.  We will still have to stop and be briefed on the regulations and sign the forms.

Spirit pulled away from the dock in Juneau at 0850, following Serena down Gastineau Channel around the end of Douglas Island and up Stephens Passage to Saginaw Channel where we entered the southern Lynn Canal.  Turning south we headed to Swanson Harbor, our staging point for Glacier Bay.  In 2011 we spent Memorial Day weekend here with the Matheson’s on their vessel “Sea Jay”, along with many other Juneau residents celebrating the holiday.

We were the only two vessels when we arrived at 1530, so after mooring at the public float, crab pots were set at the far end of the harbor.  We were pleasantly surprised to have cell phone coverage in Swanson Harbor this year.  We don’t know whether it is the new cell phone amplifier on board or improved coverage from AT&T.

Checking the crab pots in the evening brought 2 nice crabs to the pot to boil.

Today’s run brought our total distance travelled to 1197 nautical miles.

May 30, 2012

The rain was persistent and cold overnight as a cold front stalled and is still just offshore.  The crab pots only had one more legal Dungeness crab which was quickly processed for crab cocktails this evening.

Spirit and Serena departed Swanson Harbor at 0700 for the 35 mile run to Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay.  We will be out of cell phone and internet coverage for the next several days.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Petersburg to Juneau

May 23, 2012

After morning walks and final purchases Spirit left the dock at Petersburg at 1014 to minimize the effects of the flood tide in Wrangell Narrows.  A good plan, but upset by the large oncoming tug and barge in the middle of the channel..  Squeezing by on the right, we headed out into Frederick Sound and stopped for a brief fishing test on a pinnacle reputed to be good for halibut.  However, the current was running over one knot and we could not stay in place so we pulled in the fishing lines and headed out Frederick Sound to Cannery Cove in Pybus Bay where we anchored at 1805.  The weather had cleared to sunny and both Patrick and Colin set prawn pots before the evening was too late.
Cannery Cove Prawns

This day’s run brought our total distance to 969.4 nautical miles.

May 24, 2012

The prawn pots yielded on 3 dozen prawns, but they were all good sized, plenty for a meal for 4 people.  We pulled the anchor at 0910 under sunny but cool skies and headed up Stephens Passage to Holkam Bay and the entrance to Tracy Arm.  Spirit and Serena crossed the bar into Tracy Arm at 1430 and since the day was early and the skies were sunny both vessels headed up Tracy Arm to evaluate the ice conditions and make a decision for the next day.  The ice was heavy and we called it quits at “Ice Falls”, with over 12 miles to go in increasingly heavy ice and not enough daylight to go any further and still get back to No Name Cove (also called Tracy Arm Cove) before dark.
Morning in Cannery Cove

Spirit and Serena anchored in the empty cove at 1830 and we all gathered on Spirit for a dinner of garlic prawns and Greek salad provided by McCaffreys and pulled pork (which had been in the slow cooker all day with barbeque sauce), garlic mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and a dessert of ginger cookies that Miriam had baked earlier in the day on the calm crossing of Stephens Passage from Pybus Bay.
Ice Falls, Tracy Arm
Serena leading the way through the ice in Tracy Arm

We finally called it an evening at 2200, still light.  Spirit has now travelled 1032.2 nautilcal miles.

May 25, 2012

After a calm night at anchor we started the engine at 0800 and headed for Endicott Arm under partly cloudy skies.  We were astounded to be able to get to the glacier face with only minor twisting and turning.  After spending several hours listening to the glacier talk and calve we reluctantly returned to No Name Cove for the evening.  The run down Endicott Arm and back was a total of 79 nautical miles but worth it.  After  anchoring at 1830  we enjoyed garlic prawns (from Pybus Bay) and chicken fettuccini alfredo for dinner.  When we arrived back in the cove there were two grizzly bears on the beach which ignored us as we approached the beach in the tender.  By the time sun had set there were four vessels anchored in the roomy cove.
Small Calving at Dawes Glacier

Still one mile from Dawes Glacier
Brown Bears in No Name Cove

The log now shows 1101 nautical miles with 43 left to go before arriving in Juneau.

May 26, 2012

Departing No Name Cove at 0700 in light rain we encountered humpback whales shortly after crossing the bar leaving Tracy Arm. 

We only got a few tail shots before they disappeared.  The last whale was seen as we headed up Gastineau Channel into Juneau Harbor where we docked at the IVF (Intermediate Vessel Facility) at 1230.  We have now covered 1143.6 nautical miles.  After arranging a car rental and going to Costco for provisions we all gathered at the Twisted Fish restaurant for dinner.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wrangell to Petersburg

May 21, 2012

We decided to have a down day and spend it in Wrangell, torn up streets and all.  Laundry was done, we walked into town and shopped, had lunch at the Stikine Inn and then a potluck dinner on board Spirit with Craven’s and Lennon’s from the Selene 53 “Tranquility”.  Bill and Ruth made a chili relleno dish that we all enjoyed.  Later in the day the Selene 57 “Argo” arrived, so there are now five Selene trawlers in Wrangell.

May 22, 2012

Spirit departed Wrangell at 1100, shortly after both Serena and Argo, and headed for Wrangell Narrows.  We had timed the tides so that we rode the last of the flood tide north to the center (Green Point) and then the ebb tide north to Petersburg where we arrived at 1600.  The weather was a mixture of sun and light showers.  After great pizza at “Papa Bears” we returned for dessert on Spirit where we also visited with Marj Oines, a longtime friend of Miriam.  There are 4 Selene Trawlers here tonight, Josie, Argo, Serena and Spirit, all moored on “D” dock.

We have now travelled 913 nautical miles since leaving Anacortes.  Our next destination is Tracy Arm, and then on to Juneau.  We will be out of cell phone contact for the next three nights.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ketchikan to Wrangell

May 18, 2012

Today we played tour guide for Bill, Ruth, Colin and Donna.  After picking up a rental minivan we headed to Saxman Village for photos and browsing the shop.  Heading down the road towards Herring Cove we stopped and watched a pod of Orca’s close to the beach.  Turning around at the end of the paved road, a mere 11 miles from Ketchikan we stopped once again and watched the orcas.  After parking at Creek Street and walking the boardwalks down to Dolly’s, the brothel museum, we had halibut and chips at the Alaska Fish House before heading out the northerly direction from town. Driving to the end of the road we stopped at Settlers Cove park and walked the trails around Lunch Falls.

Getting back in the car we then stopped at Totem Bight, with a collection of totem poles and a longhouse and then stopped at Wal Mart, a waste of time before pre-provisioning at Safeway and finally returning to downtown Ketchikan where we searched for Bill’s brother’s house from 60 years ago.  We could not find it!

After a long day we returned to City Floats for dinner and a obligatory stop at the Arctic Bar, Ketchikan’s oldest surviving bar, celebrating 75 years in business.  After Bill called his brother Howard we discovered we had the wrong address, confirmed by the lady bartender in the Arctic Bar.

May 19, 2012

Bill found the house he remembered this morning and after turning in the rental car we departed Ketchikan City Floats and refueled both vessels.  Spirit took on 640 gallons of fuel and headed up Tongass Narrows, up Clarence Strait, turning into Ernest Sound just past Meyers Chuck and headed for Santa Anna Inlet where we arrived at 1730.
After anchoring we set two prawn pots before grilling flank steak for dinner.  After dinner we pulled the two pots and found 32 spot prawns in our two pots.  After chocolate cake and drinks to celebrate Patrick's 65th birthday we finally called it a night in peaceful but cool conditions.

May 20, 2012

The rain continued overnight, but not heavy.  The prawn pots had mixed results in the morning, with only 3 dozen more prawns.  We decided to move on to Wrangell and arrived at 1415 after an uneventful trip up Zimovia Strait.  Since it was Sunday, everything closed at 3:00 PM so we missed shopping.

 The man street is torn up for repaving, so the town is even less attractive than usual, but as friendly as usual.

We have now travelled 874 nautical miles since leaving Anacortes.

Pictures in a few days!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ketchikan Arrival

After a very long day across Dixon Entrance from Prince Rupert (we departed at 0530) Spirit arrived at Ketchikan at 1600.  There were three cruise ships already here this early in the season, the Westerdam, Diamond Princess and the Zuiderdam.

The seas were a little sloppy in Dixon Entrance for about 25 miles, starting about 5 miles from Dundas Island and continuing until about 6 miles south of Mary Island, with 6-8 foot swells on the beam and a moderate wind chop (11-16 knots) on the bow, so the stabilizers got a workout along with the wipers.  Spirit is once again covered with salt which will get washed off in the morning.

Customs clearance procedures were brief although the vegetable regulations seem to change daily.  We were able to moor at City Floats just in front of "Wild Blue", a Selene 53 and then "Serena" rafted alongside "Spirit".   This location is close to the city center, but is right under the Arctic Bar, one of the oldest in Ketchikan.  Fortunately, the music does not really penetrate our hull.

Bill and Patrick made a quick walking tour of downtown Ketchikan before the sun set at 9:30 PM, with a search for Bill's brothers apartment from 60 years ago to continue in the morning.  The cruise ships were all leaving and the town was rolling up the pavement, very little was still open.

After 83 miles today for a total of 781 miles since Anacortes we had an early dinner and plan on sleeping in, provided the cruise ship arrivals in the morning do not wake us up.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ocean Falls to Prince Rupert

Today we arrived at Prince Rupert, the next to last stop on Bill Craven’s voyage 60 years ago.  What took the SS Prince Rupert 2 ½ days has taken us two weeks, with many more stops and a much slower speed.

Since leaving Ocean Falls, once a thriving town and now deserted ruins, we transited Gunboat Passage to Shearwater, verifying that our stabilizers now work.  The number of vessels at Shearwater planning to stay the next night at Bottleneck Inlet sounded like too large a crowd, so we took a more scenic route through Reid Passage, Percival Narrows, up Mathieson Channel to Jackson Narrows, crossed over Finlayson Channel to Klemtu Passage and photographed the longhouse at Klemtu and then headed up Tolmie Passage to Princess Royal Channel where we turned in at Khutze Inlet.  We anchored at the head of the inlet in front of the falls, now mostly silent because the snow reached all the way to the water, the most snow we have ever seen.  The weather cooperated all day, with lots of sun.  Spirit was one of three vessels, accompanied by “Serena” and “Miller Time II”

Two crab pots were set and all three crews spent Mother’s Day evening on “Miller Time II”, a 68 foot Ocean Alexander Trawler from Edmondton, Alberta which we were moored close to in Shearwater.  The next morning our two crab pots were loaded with 26 legal crabs.  We kept our limit of 10 and returned the rest.  Departing Khutze Inlet at 0830 in sunny weather, we passed by another deserted cannery, Butedale, which has deteriorated even further just in the past year.

Proceeding up to the end of Princess Royal Channel we crossed Wright Sound and began the long trek up Grenville Channel. Bill and Miriam baked fresh French bread for dinner. The tide was ebbing against us so we hugged the eastern shoreline and avoided most of the current. Arriving at Lowe Inlet at 1545 we headed into Nettle Basin where there was a black bear feeding on the beach a few hundred yards from Verney Falls. The anchor was set in front of the falls at 1600. Although the sun was shining, the wind was cool, nonetheless Bill Craven and I cleaned our share of the crab (Miriam had cleaned her share earlier in the day) while enjoying the sun in the cockpit. The black bear came back to the beach as we finished a delicious dinner of fresh Dungeness crab, freshly baked French bread and salad. By nightfall there were four vessels in Nettle Basin.
Black Bear in Lowe Inlet

Bill Craven at Ocean Falls

The next morning we continued the trek up Grenville Channel, one of the least interesting sections of the entire trip.  Exiting Grenville Channel and crossing the section of Chatham Sound prior to entering Prince Rupert we encountered 20 knot winds and six foot seas with very short period due to the outflow from the Skeena River against the wind.  We coated Spirit with salt spray before entering Prince Rupert Harbor and docking in brisk westerly winds at Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club at 1615.
SS Prince Rupert at Prince Rupert 1952

After the rough water, we sprayed Spirit down to get rid of some of the salt and then joined McCaffrey’s at the Breakers Pub for dinner.  The weather forecast is for 30 knot winds and two meter seas in Dixon Entrance in the morning so we have decided to remain in Prince Rupert and play tourist for another day.  Bill has already taken a short walking tour to remember what it was like 60 years ago, but more is planned in the morning.

Spirit has now logged 698 miles since leaving Anacortes, with only 83 miles left to go before we arrive in Ketchikan.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Port McNeill to Ocean Falls

Yesterday we took part in a parade of pleasure craft leaving Port McNeill between 0600 and 0700 to cross Queen Charlotte Sound (Cape Caution).  As we headed up Gordon Channel for the slight right hand turn north to Cape Caution and Fitzhugh Sound we spread out due to small differences in boat speed.  The swells increased to about 6 feet but the wind remained light and the ride was pretty nice.  The sun came out and we cruised north with the swells now on the beam, somewhat larger, but still comfortable.

We noticed a difference in our stabilizer performance, but dismissed it for some reason.  The weather continued good and we bypassed  Fury Cove and headed for Green Island Anchorage behind Addenbroke Island.  Two other vessels were already anchored but there was plenty of room for both Spirit and Serena.

The prawn pots were set, but came up dry.

The next morning we confirmed that our port stabilizer was jammed hardover, causing a list and loss of boat speed.  Troubleshooting and calls to Seattle on Colin McCaffrey's satellite phone led to the discovery of a jammed feedback potentiometer on the port stabilizer.  We limped on into Ocean Falls where, with the assistance of Colin on Serena, we were able to fix the problem and restore normal operations to the stabilizers.

We enjoyed being greeted by two Orca's as we entered the harbor at Ocean Falls, forcing us to shut down our engine as we watched them go by.

Bill Craven spent some time exploring the deserted town of Ocean Falls, one a regular stop on the steamer runs to Ketchikan, and now consisting of mostly empty streets where houses once stood which formerly served a town of 7,000 people at it's peak.  When Bill was here in 1952, many of the streets were wooden boardwalks, all of which are now gone.

We celebrated fixing Spirit by grilling steaks on the new BBQ for both crews (Spirit and Serena) and sharing a potluck dinner on Spirit.

Our next stop is Shearwater, then several days without phone or internet until we reach Prince Rupert.  Photos when we have a faster internet connection.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dent Island to Port McNeill

Spirit departed Dent Island Lodge at 0605 under calm skies and headed through Dent Rapids.  Winds were predicted to be gale force when we reached Johnstone Strait, but we thought we would beat most of the winds.  By 0750 we had cleared Greene Point Rapids, reaching speeds over the ground of 15 knots, with mild turbulence on the downstream exit for nearly one mile.  We had originally intended to also transit Whirlpool Rapids, but the predicted currents were nearly 8 knots and viewing the rapids through binoculars convinced us that it would be foolish to attempt today, so we continued down the channel and entered Johnstone Strait at 0930.  The ebb tide up Current Passage both helped and hurt, since the winds were steady at over 25 knots, with occasional gusts to 30.  The eddies and rips were more severe than in Greene Point Rapids, with Spirit taking several rolls of nearly 20 degrees as the current and waves pushed us around.

However, conditions improved as we headed towards Port McNeill, with the biggest danger the amount of floating logs which we had to dodge.  The ebb tide continued to help us until we were 1 mile from Alert Bay, just 7 miles from Port McNeill.  We moored at Port McNeill Fuel Dock and Marina at 1500, having covered 78 nautical miles for a total distance traveled of 359 nautical miles.  Two other Selenes were there, Serena and Celestine, along with a few other vessels all waiting for calm enough weather to cross Cape Caution.

After re-provisioning with fresh vegetables we re-examined the weather and decided to defer the decision to cross Cape Caution until morning.  The decision, with seas to 3.8 meters at the West Sea Otter buoy, convinced us to spend another day in Port McNeill.

We spent the day on maintenance chores and then pizza for lunch at the Sportsman Steakhouse and Pizza place close to the head of the dock.  We watched the weather all day and it looks like we will be able to cross in the morning.

Our intended destination is Green Island Anchorage, but weather will be the final voter.

We have included a picture of Bill Craven at the age of 13 with his parents and their first grandchild, taken in Ketchikan in 1952.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Prideaux Haven to Dent Island

We spent 2 nights at anchor in Eveleigh Anchorage in Prideaux Haven, under mostly sunny skies and light winds.  After launching the tender we all went for several nature rides, one at extreme low tide and one in the evening at high tide.  Saturday was Cinco de Mayo so we fixed chicken Enchiladas for dinner and watched “The Iron Lady” in the evening, supplemented by popcorn and margaritas.

Sunday morning we pulled the anchor at 0630 to ensure “Spirit” arrived at Yaculta Rapids shortly before low slack current.  “Serena” was just leaving Squirrel Cove as we passed by and both vessels transited Yaculta Rapids and Gillard Passage with maximum currents of less than 4 knots.  By 1100 both vessels were tied to the dock at Dent Island.  With the extreme low tides we ended up with only 2 feet of water under the keel.  We are the only guests this evening at Dent Island.  Bill and Ruth took the Jetboat to Campbell River for sightseeing and on the way back the boat broke down and they were stranded in Campbell River for the evening.

The weather forecast for Queen Charlotte Sound (Cape Caution) does not look favorable for the next few days, so we will just stay here and be pampered for another day until Bill and Ruth return.

After boat chores, laundry, a session in the fitness center and a soak in the hot tub we gathered in the lodge with McCaffrey’s for appetizers and dinner where Miriam and Patrick shared the tenderloin of beef and a poached Dungeness crab which was preceded by seared scallops and a mixed green salad.

The next day, after the return of the Cravens from Campbell River, we took the jetboat, now repaired on a wild ride in the rapids, including a ride around the whirlpools in Dent’s Devils Hole and the overfalls in Arran Rapids.  Seeing the power of the water at maximum flood tide made us really appreciate the importance of hitting slack tide exactly.  We saw one bear, a large group of Pacific Whiteside Dolphins, Stellar Sea Lions and then watched an eagle snatch a rock cod off the table at Dent Island.  After enjoying another great dinner, with menu choices such as rack of lamb we reluctantly called it a night before our early departure the next morning.

We depart for Port McNeill at 0530 in the morning at high slack tide and will meet up with McCaffrey’s on “Serena” there before crossing Queen Charlotte Sound, probably on Thursday.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Princess Louisa Inlet to Prideaux Haven

A heavy cloud layer obscured the nearly full moon when we were awakened by the alarm at 0330, so we knew that exiting Malibu Rapids would be in total darkness rather than having a hint of dawn.  We pulled away from the dock at 0355, just ahead of Serena and navigating by radar and GPS began the trip back to the rapids.  High slack water was predicted for 0430 and we did not want to be late.  Even though it was totally dark, as our eyes adjusted we could make out the steep cliffs on both sides, but not the intersection of the cliffs with the water.  Spirit left a trail of phosphorescence as we glided at 6 knots through the dark waters.  Birds, startled at our approach left shimmering trails in the dark as the scurried out of our way.

The Young Life camp at Malibu was well lit, and as we entered the rapids we picked up speed, making a right turn around the swimming pool at the end of the point, now only about three feet above the water at high tide.  A few hundred yards later we made the left turn at the outer entrance and headed back down Jervis Inlet.  The skies gradually lightened and we encountered rain and moderate wind in Princess Royal Reach, along with some choppy seas.  The further down Jervis Inlet we proceeded the more the weather improved and by the time we reached Malaspina Straits we had partly cloudy skies with only occasional rain squalls.

We were abeam Westview at 1200 and cruised slowly by for photos.  Serena stopped in Westview for the evening and will join us at Dent Island.  We then slowly headed to Powell River, the first stop on Bill Craven’s voyage 60 years ago and speculated on which dock the SS Prince Rupert moored.  The derelict concrete ship breakwater, which was much newer in 1952, continues to deteriorate, with significant amounts of rebar showing through and many of the ships listing badly.  The concrete ships were all surplus from WWII and some were originally powered and some were barges.

As we passed by Sliammon we saw three eagles chasing a seagull, attacking it and finally one eagle forced the seagull into the water where the eagle continued to attack, finally landing in the water itself.  We had never seen an eagle take off from the water, but after a few minutes, with a lot of thrashing and splashing the eagle was airborne once again.  The seagull looked like it was wounded in the wing and could not fly, so at some point the eagle probably returned and finished the seagull off.

After photos we cruised past Lund, the last town on the Malaspina Peninsula, up Thulin Passage through the Copeland Islands Marine Park and on to Prideaux Haven, arriving at 1530.  The BC commercial prawn season opened today and there are floats and boats everywhere the water is deep enough to catch the prawns.  There were only 2 other vessels present when we entered the bay, one of them in Melanie Cove.

Powell River Mill and Concrete Ships

Eagle attacking seagull

Finally airborne again
Today we covered 85 nautical miles and have travelled at total of 249 nautical miles consuming 180 gallons of fuel since leaving Anacortes.  Based on engine hours we have averaged 7.32 knots, including the slow entry and exit into Vancouver and into Princess Louisa Inlet.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Vancouver to Pender Harbor

After a leisurely morning uin Vancouver, we departed ast 1100 to ride the flood tide north.  Cruising by Point Atkinson light for photos we then headed up the Sunshine Coast under partly cloudy skies, nmoderate winds and following seas.  There were lots on rain squalls to the west, but we avoided them until after dark.

Point Atkinson Light

Rainbow in the morning at Garden Bay
After anchoring in Garden Bay we made a quick final provisioning stop at Madiera Park since our next few days will be out of phone and internet contact as we visit Princess Louisa Inlet for ther first time since 2007.