Saturday, May 15, 2021

Alaska 2021 Day 5-8

 May 11, 2021


With the extra distance run yesterday, we were able to delay our departure from Codville Lagoon until 0700. The sun was shining and the reflections of the rock walls in the water made it look like totem poles laid on their side.  Exiting the narrow entrance into the lagoon, the rock charted on some charts was clearly visible, making it important to favor the south side of the channel on entry and exit.


Heading straight across Fitz Hugh Sound into Lama Passage, we soon passed the town of Bella Bella, where we had cell phone reception for about one hour as we headed into Seaforth Channel.  The seas were relatively calm in Milbanke Sound as we approached Ivory Island Lighthouse, so we headed out into Milbanke Sound and around into Finlayson Channel rather than the calmer alternative of Reid Passage, a longer route by about 8 NM.


Dodging a lot of logs in the water we were still making good time, so rather than arrive in Bottleneck Inlet early in the day, in consultation with the crew of Rendezvous, we altered the plan and headed directly for Princess Royal Channel.  The tidal currents in Princess Royal Channel were favorable until reaching the intersection with Heikish Narrows, and then were adverse by up to two knots for the remainder of the journey.  Arriving at Green Spit in Khutze Inlet at 1700, having covered 82 NM, we anchored on the spit just as the rain began.


After a delicious southwest chicken salad, we watched another movie and prepared for another long day completing our transit of Princess Royal Channel and then entering Grenville Channel.


We have now covered about 460 NM, with less than 200 NM left before arriving in Ketchikan on Friday.



May 12, 2021


After a windy and rainy night anchored on Green Spit at the entrance to Khutze Inlet, we awoke to partly cloudy skies and calm winds.  Departing at 0703 we headed further up Princess Royal Channel and swung by the abandoned cannery site of Butedale.  Most of the buildings have been torn down and there is a newer looking dock several hundred feet long.  There was no sign of activity and the site looked much as it did when we passed in 2019.


Continuing our journey up Princess Royal Channel we passed around Gribbell Island towards Grenville Channel.  Heading into Grenville Channel the wind picked up out of the NW and the chop built as we picked up a nice boost from the northbound flood tide, hitting more than 10 knots across the bottom.  At Klewnuggit Inlet, the tidal currents change and we bucked the south flowing flood tide until we reached a new (to us) anchorage at Kumealon Island Anchorage.


The anchorage is small and there is room for only a few vessels, especially since there were two crab pots right in the middle of the preferred anchorage locations.  Nonetheless, both Spirit and Rendezvous found places to set the anchor in 15 knot NW winds and mostly sunny skies and settled in for the final push to US waters tomorrow.


May 13, 2021


We set our departure for 0600 and beat that by 5 minutes.  Re-entering Grenville Channel under partly cloudy skies and calm winds we continued north, expecting a boost from the last of the ebb tide.  The surface  outflow from the Skeena River overpowered the ebb tide in several places around Kennedy Island.  Clearing the top of Grenville Channel we entered Chatham Strait and set a course for Green Island lighthouse.  The swell from offshore was 2-3 feet until in the lee of Dundas Island, then it was nearly flat calm until reaching Green Island, where we started to pick up the swell coming in Dixon Entrance.


When we had cell service, we checked in with US Customs and Border Protection, who advised us to use the CBP Roam App on our smartphones to clear.  CPB also approved our stop in Foggy Bay, which the believed should be empty based on call from other vessels to use Foggy Bay.  Our AIS however showed it was full.


The App is straightforward to use, scanning in our travel documents and entering the ship information and arrival details.  The only frustration was that the App would not actually send the data to CPB until our phones showed we were across the border.  Cell phone service is spotty across Dixon Entrance which added to the frustration.  Finally, the data was accepted and a few minutes later we received our clearance number and were free to stop anywhere, not just Foggy Bay.


Entering Foggy Bay inner anchorage, our AIS was correct, there were already 7 vessels, six of them a Grand Banks flotilla from NW Explorations.  We tried several spots to anchor, but with the tidal range overnight we felt the clearances were inadequate, so we departed and ended up in Bullhead Cove, just six NM further up the mainland.  Bullhead Cove turned out to be a great anchorage, with a straightforward entrance, well sheltered from southerly winds and good holding in 50-60 feet of water.   Since both  Rendezvous and Spirit were cleared, we could now raft up and enjoyed a potluck meal together as we planned the final push into Ketchikan.   

May 14, 2021

We had been informed that there was now only one fuel dock in Ketchikan and waits for fuel could be hours.  We also knew when the flotilla in Foggy Bay was leaving based on their radio traffic, so we made sure we were going to be well ahead of those boats.  The plan worked, sort of.  We were passed by a large yacht who arrived at the fuel dock ahead of us, so we waited about one hour, hovering off the dock waiting for our turn.


After taking on 590 gallons of diesel fuel we headed to our destination, Ketchikan Moorage, a small private facility on Tongass Narrows halfway between downtown and Bar Harbor.  We enjoyed a celebration dinner at Oceanview Restaurant, a combination Mexican and Italian place just a few blocks away.  We had arranged a rental car which made it easier for Miriam to get around town.  Ketchikan has experienced a surge in Covid-19 cases recently and many of the restaurants have reverted to takeout only until the outbreak is under control.  One small cruise ship also bypassed Ketchikan yesterday due to the outbreak.  We will stay masked up while we are here.


Spirit has travelled 638 nautical miles since leaving Anacortes, putting 73.5 hours on the main engine and 55 hours on the generator.


We will spend several days in Ketchikan doing maintenance before heading to the Behm Canal and Misty Fjords.

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