May 17, 2015 – Petersburg to Portage Bay
We know we have lost a day somewhere, but so what. This morning we finally departed Petersburg and fought a 5 knot flood tide against us for several miles as we headed out of Wrangell Narrows and up Frederick Sound. The seas were calm as we motored the short distance to Portage Bay where we anchored about one mile into the bay. Even one mile in, the peak current was over 2 knots, but he bottom was mud and held well, since Steel Tiger rafted alongside of us. Our Delta FastSet anchor had no problem at a 4:1 scope holding the combined weight of 135 tons as the current ebbed and flooded during the night. Crab pots were set, but with no success. We suspect we were not far enough into the bay.
May 18, 2015 – Portage Bay to Tracy Arm
Both boats departed Portage Bay at 0635 to take advantage of the ebb tide out Frederick Sound and then the flood tide up Stephens Passage to Holkam Bay. At Cape Fanshawe we encountered a large pod of Orca, then Dall Porpoise near Fife Finger Islands Lighthouse. Off Windham Bay we encountered humpback whales, which were mostly feeding on the surface. One came to the surface right in front of Spirit and we had to go into reverse to avoid hitting it. We just stayed in idle for a few minutes until we were clear of the whale.
|Part of the large pod of Orca|
|We almost ran into this one|
|Lots of tails, no breaching|
|Just another humpback tail|
|Foot shaped rock on Entrance island, Holkam Bay|
|Brown bear on the beach, No Name Cove|
May 19, 2015 – Tracy Arm
We broke up the raft at 0750 and headed up Tracy Arm. Stopping at Ice Falls for photos we shortened the tow lines on the tenders and continued up the arm, easily dodging the sparse ice. Passing Sawyer Island we reached to within ¼ mile of the South Sawyer glacier face about noon. Shutting off the engine, we just drifted for several hours and watched the calving and listened to the noise the glacier made. We returned to the cove and anchored separately at 1715.
|Looking up the "S-Curvess"|
|The icebergs are constantly changing|
|Finally - South Sawyer Glacier|
|Calving every few minutes|
|This one set up a large wave from the face|
May 20, 2015 – Tracy Arm to Taku Harbor
Spirit departed Holkam Bay behind the cruise ship “Star Princess” at 0850, and after an uneventful trip, docked at the public dock in Taku Harbor at 1255. The crab pots were set and by evening we had 2 large Dungeness crab. The harbor was windy, so we were glad to be at a dock. There is also another public float, not connected to shore further south in the harbor. Several humpback whales entered the harbor and provided entertainment during the evening.
|Departing Holkam Bay behind the Star Princess|
|Abandoned building - Taku Harbor|
|Public dock - Taku Harbor|
|The last of the squat lobsters became cocktails|
|Harry Johnson's famous crab spaghetti|
May 21, 2015 – Taku Harbor to Auke Bay
After pulling the crab pots, with 6 more legal crabs, we headed for Auke Bay. Leaving Taku we were treated to a breaching humpback whale. We were able to get on the inside of the breakwater and shut off the engines at 1220. After picking up the rental van from Juneau Car Rentals, we picked up Steel Tiger’s guests at the airport. All eight of us headed for Mendenhall Glacier, Costco and then Alaskan Brewing, before returning to the boat. We grilled steaks to celebrate the last night with Bob & Dianne Tucker before taking them to their hotel in downtown Juneau. They will continue to travel to Anchorage and Homer before returning to Anacortes. Juneau was very warm, with most people in short sleeved shirts and many in shorts.
|Taku whale show|
May 22, 2015 - Juneau
After a leisurely group breakfast of blueberry waffles and homemade German sausage we all piled back in the van and headed to downtown Juneau where we dropped of the Tucker’s at their hotel and then spent several hours mingling with the thousands of cruise ship passengers browsing the jewelry stores, souvenir shops and Alaskan Native art shops. By now it was lunchtime, so we headed for the Red Dog Saloon where we managed to get a booth with no waiting time. The sawdust on the floors, the server’s costumes, the piano player and the décor all attempting to recreate a Gold Rush era saloon atmosphere. The beer was good (Alaskan Amber) and the food passable for pub fare, so we had a good time. Leaving downtown, we headed back to the airport where we picked up our friends, Jon & Suzanne Liljegren. After a stop to pick up fishing licenses we repeated the tours of Mendenhall Glacier, Costco, Alaskan Brewing and then Safeway for some last minute provisions before returning to Auke Bay. We had a “welcome aboard” BBQ and enjoyed the warm, sunny evening.
May 23, 2015 – Auke Bay to Swanson Harbor
After returning the rental van we said goodbye to Auke Bay for 2015 and left the dock at 1030 for the 30 nautical mile run to Swanson Harbor. Heading around the north end of Admiralty Island past Point Retreat we encountered windy, choppy seas in the southern Lynn Canal. As we headed south the seas and wind gradually slackened and it was mostly calm as we entered Swanson Harbor and found space at one of the two public floats, docking at 1445. By evening the floats were full of people coming out from Juneau to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend. Crab pots were set in the usual locations, but were empty at the evening check.
May 24, 2014 – Swanson Harbor to Glacier Bay
Patrick picked up the crab pots, there were only 2 legal crab in the pots, and Spirit tossed off the lines at 0702 and we headed to Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay. Just outside Swanson Harbor we observed a number of Sea Otters, which may explain the lack of crab in the harbor, since they can decimate the crab population quickly. We crossed the boundary at 1100 and after getting permission, docked in Bartlett Cove at 1224. We all visited the lodge, watched the movie, and then the skipper’s orientation at 1400, where we signed the logbook. Both Spirit and Steel Tiger departed Bartlett Cove at 1455 and by 1830 we were rafted alongside Steel Tiger in North Sandy Cove. Along the way we stopped at South Marble Island and viewed the massive colonies of Stellar Sea Lions and looked for Puffins, to no avail.
|Stellar Sea Lions, South Marble Island|
May 25, 2014 – Marjerie Glacier
After a leisurely departure from North Sandy Cove at 0810, we headed north and stopped just short of Tidal Inlet to photograph Mountain Goats. We proceeded up Tarr Inlet, passing to the east of Russell Island and directly to Marjerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers. We had to share the glacier views with the “Star Princess” for a while, but then it departed and we had the glacier face to ourselves. Marjerie Glacier is very active, with some calving every few minutes. Patrick collected some glacial ice and then we headed to Blue Mouse Cove. We spent nearly two hours enjoying the sounds and sights at the glacier face.
|Mountain Goats, Glacier Bay near Tidal Inlet|
|Cormorants Hitching a ride|
|Majerie Glacier comes into view|
|The Star Princess is dwarfed by the glacier face|
|Calving - Oftne|
|The rivers of ice stretching into the Fairweather Range|
|The Fairweather Range makes cruise shiips look tiny|
|A final calving as we leave Marjerie Glacier|
|Our haul of glacial ice from Glacier Bay|
Departing the glacier at 1600 we headed back down Tarr Inlet, passing west of Russell Island, passing the entrance to John Hopkins Inlet, past Lamplugh Glacier, Reid Glacier and finally anchoring in Blue Mouse Cove where Steel Tiger rafted alongside Spirit. As the sun set we were treated to great views of the Fairweather Range and portions of the Brady Icefields.
|Skinny Moose on the beach, South Finger Bay|
|Brady icefields from Blue Mouse Cove|
May 26, 2015 – Blue Mouse Cove to South Finger Bay
At 1000 we broke up the raft and by 1220 both boats were anchored in South Finger Cove. Jon and Suzanne took the tender out to the other side of the bay near Tidal Inlet to photograph more Mountain Goats. We put prawn pots down in Berg Bay and had to dodge Humpback whales both in Berg Bay and in the entrance to South Finger Bay. There were hundreds of sea otters floating at the mouth of the bay, many with babies on their chests. Our halibut fishing expedition was unsuccessful, but the Steel Tiger crew landed one nice halibut. Returning to the bay, we watched two skinny moose wander down the beach right behind the boat.
May 27, 2015 – Glacier Bay to Hoonah
Spirit pulled the anchor at 0750. Patrick and Jon took the Grady White down to Berg Bay to retrieve the prawn pots and Miriam and Suzanne drove Spirit behind them. We got about 2 dozen, a disappointing haul, but enough for an appetizer. Heading out of Glacier Bay, we checked out of the park with Bartlett Cove and headed to Hoonah. The wind peaked to 22 knots and the seas to 4 foot as we headed back east in Icy Strait. Heading up Gedney Channel we were treated to more Humpback whales and a rock covered with Bald Eagles. We docked at the transient float in Hoonah at 1440 and after checking in, refueled the Grady White and refreshed our produce at the Hoonah Trading Company. We have decided to stay an extra day in Hoonah so we can fish for halibut in the morning.
|Sunny evening in Hoonah Harbor|
|Chickens Wander the streets in Hoonah|