Sunday, May 13, 2018

Alaska 2018 Blog Post 6 - Ketchikan to Wrangell

May 9, 2018

We woke to the sound of rain on the deck.  The rain persisted all day, sometimes light, sometimes moderately heavy.  There was only one cruise ship in town today, the Zaandam, and all the shops catering to the passengers were in full operation.  This was the Zaandam’s first Alaskan port of call and many of the passengers looked miserable sloshing through the puddles, with inadequate clothing such as skirts, shorts, high heels and flipflops, for the 50-degree wet weather.  There must have also been a sale on clear plastic ponchos due to the number of them in sight.

Our morning was spent walking to the Safeway near Bar Harbor and replenishing our fresh provisions and dumping the garbage.  Even our raingear leaked a little.

About 1730, just after the Zaandam left, a fierce squall blew through, with very heavy nearly horizontal rain and winds to over 30 knots.  We were glad to be tied to the dock!  By 1800 the wind was down to 5 knots and the rain was only moderate.

May 10, 2018

After washing the salt from the boat and filling the water tanks, we played tourist and walked downtown, window shopping and watching the 6000+ passengers invade the downtown area.  The jewelry and souvenir stores were filled, especially when the rain began once again.  We stopped for lunch at the Alaska Fish House and had some good fish and chips, as well as some smoked salmon chowder.  Late in the afternoon the sun appeared, and it stayed nice all evening.

May 11, 2018

Spirit slipped the mooring lines from the dock at 0710 to take advantage of the flood tide as we headed up Tongass Narrows in occasional rain and low clouds.  Heading up Clarence Strait, the wind increased to 15-20 knots from the south as predicted, but a favorable current persisted until we turned the corner at Lemesurier Point into Ernest Sound.  This location is good for Coho salmon later in the year.  We bypassed Meyers Chuck since the only attraction, the art gallery, is closed this time of year.  Just before passing Meyers Chuck we spotted our first whale spout of the season.  Traversing Ernest Sound we spied several more Humpback whales before turning into Santa Anna Inlet.  The anchor was down and set at 1330 after a 54 mile run from Ketchikan.  By 1430 three prawn traps were in place in our favorite spot.

We found the inlet to be infested with jellyfish, not a problem until they clog the generator sea strainer and shut the generator down.

Jellyfish in Santa Anna Inlet

More abstract art jellyfish

A check of the traps at 2000 yielded 6 quarts headed spot prawns, the daily limit for two persons.

May 12, 2018

After a quiet night at anchor, with only the sounds of a gurgling stream on shore to keep us company, Patrick headed out to check the prawn traps.  A disappointingly small number of prawns were there, with two of the three pots empty, as well as the bait containers.  Still, there were several quarts of headed prawns.  The afternoon pull completed our prawn limits for the day.

Our limit of spot prawns

Most prawns were large

With occasional light rain showers throughout the day, we stayed inside and re-organized our storage, making room in the second guest stateroom for Josie, our grand-daughter, who arrives in a month.  It was a good chance to inventory the supplies and get rid of excess stuff, which will be discarded in Wrangell.

Low tides revealed more of the rusting machinery on the beach, which has been slowly rusting away since our first visit to Santa Anna Inlet in 2010.

Rusting machinery on beach

May 13, 2018

The morning check of the prawn traps was again disappointing, just a few.  After putting the tender back on deck, we pulled the anchor at 0815 and headed up Seward Passage, which even on a flood tide seems to ebb south.  Spirit entered Zimovia Strait accompanied by several porpoises, and several whales spouting in front of Thoms Place.  Exiting Zimovia Strait we encountered the muddy waters of the Stikine River the rest of the way to Wrangell.

Entering Zimovia Strait
New wreck on the beach in Zimovia Strait

Spirit was moored in Heritage Harbor at 1245 after a 36 nautical mile run.

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