Sunday, April 26, 2015

Alaska 2015 Part 2

April 25, 2015

The weather report is not promising when we arise at 0600 for a 0700 departure.  There is a 996 mb low in the Gulf of Alaska headed our way, with predicted gale force winds both in Johnstone Strait and the Straits of Georgia.  However, the winds are not supposed to arrive until evening, so we head out of False Creek.  There is some rain, and the temperatures are on the cool side, but the seas are calm.

We soon break out into a sunny patch, still no wind, and spot “Seeker” about 4 miles behind us.  The seas remain calm as we approach Pender Harbor, so both crews make the decision to press on to Desolation Sound someplace.

By the time we approach Grief Point, the decision is to head to Gorge Harbour Marina, so we call ahead and reserve dock space.   Both vessels arrive within 10 minutes of each other shortly after 1900, having completed more than 94 nautical miles in 12 hours.

The restaurant was still open, so the Miner’s and the Gill’s had a quick dinner before the restaurant closed at 2030.  Later in the evening the weather forecast still is predicting gale force winds in Johnstone Strait on Sunday, so we will probably remain in Gorge Harbour.

Spirit and Seeker moored in Gorge Harbour Marina
The Floathouse Restaurant and outdoor pool at Gorge Harbour

The good news is that we are now 25% of the way to Ketchikan, having now logged 163 nautical miles.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

As predicted, the wind was out of the SE, gusting to 25 knots in the marina.  After toast and tea on “Seeker”, Mike Miner and Patrick headed out for a run to Whaletown, about 2 miles away.  Patrick soon regretted not staying in better shape as Mike left him in the dust.  About noon light rain began, with the winds continuing to gust across Gorge Harbor. 

The balance of the day was spent doing chores around “Spirit” and watching the news about the earthquake in Nepal.  Patrick was there in the fall of 2012 and was able to compare his photos to the devastation shown on the news.  The Nepalese people are going to need a lot of help rebuilding their country, but may never be able to fully restore the World Heritage sites destroyed by the quake.

Although a return trip to Nepal was still on the bucket list, perhaps it is better to remember how it was before the destruction and deaths of so many people than go back and see the destruction.

The evening ended with a soup and salad dinner aboard “Seeker” while we planned the next few days journeys and reflected on the Nepal earthquake destruction.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Alaska 2015 - The Journey Begins

Alaska 2015 - The Journey Begins

After a shakedown cruise to Roche Harbor to attend the Selene Owners Rendezvous, Spirit returned to Anacortes Marina so that the Alaska fishing gear could be loaded.  After all, with all the boats on display at the rendezvous we did not want to look like a fishing boat, even though that is what we mostly do.

Returning to Bellevue briefly to see our grandchildren who are growing up so fast, we returned to Anacortes and had dinner with Dianne and Bob Tucker who will join us in Ketchikan in several weeks and coordinated with Johnson’s on “Steel Tiger” who will meet us in Port McNeill in just a few short days, weather permitting.

April 22, 2015
Starting our final day in Anacortes until September, we met the Hislop’s for breakfast at the Anacortes Bowling Alley, one of the best places for breakfast in town.  After refueling to top of the main fuel tanks, filling the propane bottles, filling the tenders with gas, re-installing the downriggers and a few more last minute maintenance items, we pulled the yellow power cord, started the main engine and quietly left the dock shortly after 1400, just at low tide.  The intent was to minimize the effects of the minus tides as we headed to Sucia Islands.
The Grady White in tow on the way to Sucia Islands

Catalyst and a fishing vessel in Echo Bay

The weather cooperated, with the winds never above 15 knots as we made the short 22 nautical mile journey to Echo Bay, Sucia Islands.  Our route took Spirit on the east side of Guemes Island, past the now familiar anchored tankers waiting their slot at the March Point refineries, past the east side of Sinclair Island and up the north side of Orcas past Clark, Barnes and Matia Islands to Echo Bay.  We anchored at 1510 behind “Catalyst”, a small cruise ship we often see in SE Alaska.  We were the only vessels in the bay except for a commercial fishing boat that came in at dusk.  Miriam and Patrick both relaxed as the fast pace of life behind them began to be replaced with the routines of anchoring, fishing, cruising and savoring the scenery at 8 knots.  As darkness fell, the lowering clouds to the west promised rain in the morning as Spirit heads for Vancouver at dawn.

April 23, 2015

Under gray skies, Spirit left Echo Bay at 0545 and headed towards Vancouver.  The predicted rain started at 1000, along with significant wind to 27 knots, and the Canadian CG issued a gale warning for the Straits of Georgia while we were along Roberts Bank.  Rounding Point Grey, the wind decreased and we entered False Creek behind three other Selenes, "Seeker", "Rendezvous" and "Paige Marie".  By 1210 Spirit was docked at Quayside Marina, with little wind, buts lots of rain.  The crews of all four boats met at “Provence” for an excellent dinner.  We are now 10%  of the way to Ketchikan, having covered 66 nautical miles.

April 24, 2015

The day was spent provisioning, shopping on Granville Island, shucking fresh oysters for lunch, dodging hailstorms and then gathering on “Paige Marie” for pizza. Our plan is to leave early for Pender Harbor, while the rest of the Selene fleet disperses, although “Seeker” is also headed north, just via a different route.  The trip to Costco was disappointing, both in selection and the new policy of not accepting AMEX cards, which will come to the USA the end of the year.  We were glad we had a Mastercard to be able to get the provisions.