Tag Archives: Cruising the Pacific Northwest

BACK IN THE USA – BELLINGHAM

After a night in Echo Bay, Sucia Island, we headed to Bellingham. It would be our first time, by boat, in Bellingham. We did a drive by back in 2015 while we were still in Seattle.

We loved staying in Bellingham. The marina is first rate. The town is lovely. The Farmers Market was one of the best we’ve been to mainly because it was an actual Famers Market with mostly produce! We found good Mexican food while we were downtown.

We found this on the walk back to Sweet T…

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Lets zoom in…

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Two of Russell’s favorite things….Donuts and Ice Cream right there together!! 

The old courthouse is now a museum.

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Mandy and I walked the path around the bay and marina daily which was so nice with the beautiful flowers.

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I had to pick a little to smell it. 

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Oh how I wanted to sneak up and pick some flowers…but I didn’t. 

Russell had a good time when he went with us.

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An actual anchor.

The only negative we had about Bellingham was that there wasn’t a grocery within walking distance. That said, the marina will shuttle you to where you need to go as long as they have personnel available. They dropped us off at the Farmers Market and rather than calling them to retrieve us we opted to make the walk back. Lucky for us all we needed was to restock fresh produce since we had just arrived from Canada and must not bring fresh produce from Canada to the US.

We stayed there a week and thoroughly enjoyed our stay.  I also noticed here that the pleasure boats were the majority with the fishing boats being the minority the opposite of our stay in Alaska.

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Sweet T fitting right in. p.s. We had a super nice neighbor while in Bellingham. 

On to Anacortes though.

And, why do the big guys anchor right in the middle of the channel? My guess would be because they can.

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All is well.

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Woof

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OCEAN FALLS, HORSE FLIES, BEACHES, AND A TON OF PICTURES!

From Shearwater our next destination was Ocean Falls.

OCEAN FALLS. We loved Ocean Falls and it’s hard to describe the feeling you get while walking around. Once upon a time it was a thriving, vibrant community of 5,000 people, completely dependent on a paper mill in a stunning location. When the paper mill closed the town disappeared, mostly. (Reason not to put all your eggs in one basket)  The state brought in bulldozers to level Ocean Falls but several remaining residents literally blocked the bull dozers from bulldozing the remaining downtown and homes that hadn’t yet been bulldozed. That was more than 35 years ago.

Essentially Ocean Falls is a ghost town with a few residents, a dam that still provides power, and a fish hatchery. We walked through the town and using our imagination we saw how vibrant it must have been “back-in-the-day”. If you looked past the overgrowth you could even see how at one time how beautifully landscaped the little town was.

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Shortly after we first arrived Roger and Arlene (fellow Texans) on their Kadey Krogen, Kama Hele Kai. We met them last year while staying in Sidney then again at the Nordhavn Rally. They were the folks that hosted a happy our at the Nordhavn Rally….um, a Nordhavn Happy Hour on a Kadey Krogen. Once again they invited us for happy hour on Kama Hele Kai. Hi Roger! (I know he reads the blog)

The next day Russell and I walked around Ocean Falls.

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I found this online. Before the town closed down.

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Present day.

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Screams 70’s! I suspect the benches came out of the hotel.

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I LOVED this house and all its character. I asked Russell if we could buy it. He said no.

After we returned our new sailboat friends on Bannister arrived. I gladly walked around the town, to the dam, and the lake again with Hanna. I think I could walk it again and again.

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This still provides power.

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The lake providing water for power.

To end our day and stay in Ocean Falls we shared ice cream with Bannister.

EUCOTT BAY. Eucott Bay is a hot spring which we were really looking forward to since we enjoyed all the others so much. It was supposed to be lovely and it really, really is. On the bow going in I thought, “Wow, this place is beautiful, we should stay here a few days.” We even saw a bear right after we arrived! Look, see what I mean?

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While deploying the anchor there were a few horse flies, (Tammy calls them horse flies, but they’re really deer flies) so glad I had a jacket on! After the anchor was set I went to the cockpit and there were more horse flies in the cockpit than I have EVER seen in my entire life.  Additionally, 30 minutes after we arrived two canoes with 12 people in each canoe arrived setting up camp on the shore. This is NOT looking good.

Did we want to brave the hundreds (seriously, hundreds) of horse flies to get to shore where we could then share the hot spring tub with 24 other ppl? We both voted NO. Instead we watched the folks on shore spray themselves with bug spray and swat the flies. As lovely as Eucott Bay is, the next morning we couldn’t leave fast enough. This was disappointing, but I think spring or late fall would be great time to enjoy Eucott Bay.  p.s. Russell may now hold the record for killing the most horseflies. 

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Our view leaving Eucott Bay, forever known to us as Horsefly Bay

Working our way backwards, we do that sometimes, we stopped for a photo-op at Sir Alexander Mackenzie rock. He is the Canadian equivalent of Lewis and Clark.  He crossed Canada by land in the late 1700’s, about the time Vancouver was exploring the coast by water.  This is the point he determined he had reached the sea, and he wrote his name and the date on this rock.  The obelisk memorial was added on top of the rock later.

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ELCHO HARBOUR. After I took entirely too many photos of the statue we went into Elcho Harbour, another very pretty anchorage but, while considerably less, there were still plenty of horse flies.

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To pretty to have so many horseflies

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Elcho Harbour on Dean Channel

After one night we gave up the fight with the horseflies and opted to head further south to Codville Lagoon. We stopped here on the way north last year and liked it a lot. We had three days here while we sat out rain.

PRUTH BAY. Pulling into Pruth we spotted Bannister already anchored. The bay is small, but not deep, and I believe at one time I counted 14 boats anchored in the bay. Something else we are adjusting to. In Alaska we got used to be having anchorages mostly to ourselves. Now we are in the land of crowded anchorages.

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Pruth Bay is not a beautiful anchorage but there is a super nice marine research center here with seven incredible beaches to walk to.

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Such a pretty garden by the research center

We took the dinghy over to Bannister to say hello and mentioned we wanted to walk to the beach on the other side. Hendrik has been a little under the weather so we took Hanna with us to walk to one of the beaches.

A lovely 15 minute walk through the woods and it opens up to this….

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Hanna and Captain Rusty

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Cool Rock! 

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Naturally when you have sand….

But we aren’t through. We climbed up to the look out point for even more breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

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This is what we mean when we say “plans written in sand at low tide”.

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We saw this creature in the dinghy. Biggest jelly fish we ever saw, over 2 ft across.

The next day Bannister moved on but we stayed for another day of exploring. This time we went to the North Beach.

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A lake on the way to the north beach.

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There was more driftwood on the north beach

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Something we don’t see often, a SUNRISE picture with an early departure.

Pruth Bay is on my list of favorite places and is well worth the stop for the beaches and incredible views.

All is well.

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RUINS, DOGFISH, FALLS, AND FRIENDS

Making  our way down Frazier Reach on our way to Butedale, we saw this spectacular fall and decided to take a closer look.

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Russell likes to take pictures of me taking pictures.

We sped by (if you can consider 6.5 knots speeding) Butedale last year on our way to Alaska. Butedale is a deserted cannery community that Russell really wanted to stop and explore.

BUTEDALE. When Captain Rusty first pulled up to the dock at Butedale I asked if he was SURE he wanted to tie up to this dock…it is in serious disrepair. He said yes. Easy for him to say, I have to step off on the dock before he does. But tied up to it we did…and we were met by the caretake of Butedale, Cory and his dog, who, after helping us tie up, gave us the grand tour of what was once a thriving cannery village. Cory is the only person living in Butedale and in three years he’s only been away 2.5 weeks.

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We have tied up to worse docks….

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Something about ruins is fascinating.

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Island greeter…napping on the job. It’s hard to find good help these days.

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The good news about Butedale is that it is now privately owned with all the necessary licenses recently in place for major improvements and restorations. Cory shared with us the brochure with all the planned improvements. This is a ideal location for a top notch marina!

After spending a couple of hours in Butedale we left for Khutze Bay, but not before we topped off our water tank with fresh water from the waterfall. Before leaving we asked if there was a charge for our stay, tour, and water. Cory said no charge but if we had a couple of gallons of gas to spare (we did) for his generator he’d gladly take that.

KHUTZE BAY. We had such high hopes for Khutze with plans to stay a few days since we heard that it was spectacular place. It was pretty, not what I would call spectacular though. Captain Rusty spent an HOUR cruising around, checking the depths and the bottom looking for a secure spot to drop our anchor. With the weather deteriorating,  finally he conceded that there were only two good spots to anchor and both of those spots were taken. After a valiant effort we headed back out to Green Spit and spent a rainy, but comfortable, night. So much for Khutze.

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Khutze – too deep here to anchor.

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We could anchor here, except there is a boat right next to us that you can’t see.

WINDY BAY. With a name like Windy Bay you kind of think twice about anchoring there with wind and rain in the forecast when you want to hole up for a few days. Captain Rusty tucked us safely in a spot where we never felt the wind; a pretty bay with more than enough room for the four other boats that came and went while we were there.

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p.s. My anchor ball and I have been getting along well this year even though it still likes to photo bomb my pics

Russell also caught four of these (que the Jaws theme)…and no we didn’t keep them.

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I believe they are in the shark family and called “dogfish”.

RESCUE BAY. Rescue Bay on Mathison Channel is a good spot to spend the night before you make your way through Perceval Narrows at slack. It’s not a bad anchorage but not a destination anchorage either. It also wasn’t a pretty day for travel – low clouds and rain the entire way with my “favorite” (sarcasm) – rain at anchor down. It is what it is. You put your big girl rain gear on and get out on the bow. That said, I did wait until the last possible second before I headed out to the bow. Besides Sweet T, we ended up with six other neighbors that night.

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We saw this man a few times along the way, rowing. It was a cold rainy night. It was late and we hadn’t put our dinghy in – I SO wanted to take him hot food.

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Misty foggy weather is so beautiful!

After Perceval Narrows we opted to take the narrow Reid Passage avoiding the swells from the Pacific. You must pay close attention to your charts in this passage. I do love the narrow passages though. There’s more to look at than in open water!

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Keeping a sharp eye out making our way through this narrow pass.

SHEARWATER/BELLA BELLA. This is another stop we didn’t make on our way north last year. In Alaska we sometimes went days without hearing anything on the radio, it was here that we started to notice much more radio chatter and more boat traffic.

Limited provision stops between Port McNeil and Prince Rupert makes Shearwater and Bella Bella an EXTREMELY popular stop. So popular in fact there wasn’t a spot for us in the marina but we could anchor in the bay and they would add us to their waiting list as #8. Obviously reservations would have been helpful. We haven’t figured out how you make reservations when 1) you don’t have cell service for days or weeks prior to arrival and 2) when you don’t know exactly when you will arrive because you don’t follow an exact schedule.

W A I T…..is that Bannister we see tied up to the dock?? YES! Remember our friends from Craig and Prince Rupert? Russell hailed them on the radio and asked if we could raft up to them. Of course!! Bumpers out! All tied up and while catching up and making dinner plans with Hanna, who walks up? Neil and Lynn from Navigator, KK48! Remember our friends from Seattle! They were close by in a nearby anchorage and had come in for a few things.

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Navigator

First thing the next morning Russell checked on the oil pressure sending unit that he had ordered when we were in Prince Rupert. It had gone kaput while crossing Dixon Entrance.

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It should read 55. The oil pressure was fine, what you can’t see in the picture is the gauge is dancing all around. I just happened to catch it at 70ish.

Nope, the part wasn’t in. Okay, we can get a few groceries and fill up with water. Nope, the barge with the groceries hadn’t come. Water? Not a chance with the marina full plus boats rafted. We tried but the water pressure just wasn’t able to make it to Sweet T.

No oil pressure sending unit, no groceries, no water, Hanna and Hendrik wanted to leave for their next stop and since we were tied to the outside of them we needed to move. We saw no reason to stay in the marina; we headed out to the bay to anchor where we would meet up with Navigator for dinner later. Shortly after we set our hook two young boys (9-10) came zipping out in a small skiff to hand off Russell’s oil pressure sending unit. Apparently it was there and was just temporally misplaced. These same young boys had helped us raft up to Bannister. They’re already pros!

Lynn took up knitting over the winter so I couldn’t wait to see what she’s been working on! (p.s. she’s going to be a fabulous knitter!) Russell helped Neil with a washer/dryer project he was working on; our crane hand-held remote decided to stop working, and Neil was able to help us out with that.  We spent a couple days (and one late night) catching up with them which was SO much fun!!

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Lynn needs to make Neil a pair of socks so he can get in on the sock fun!

As much fun as it was to catch up with friends, it was time to head out again.

All is well.

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HOW CLEAN ARE WE? A TOUR OF HOT SPRINGS

How far behind are we in blogging??!! Oh, like two months….ack!

When last we blogged we were leaving Hartley Bay for Weewanie Hot Springs by way of Verney Passage to Devastation Channel. Follow?

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Devastation Channel – not a bad view.

Our first attempt at Weewanie Hot Springs was unsuccessful. Contrary to the Douglas book there is only one mooring buoy rather than the reported two. One small boat was on the only buoy and a second larger boat anchored where the other buoy should have been. Captain Rusty circled the small bay looking for a suitable alternative anchorage but there just wasn’t room for a third boat. We  made our way across Devastation Channel to Loretta Island Anchorage with plans to try it again the next day. It wasn’t a beautiful anchorage but served the purpose. The next day we headed back to Weewanie Hot Springs, this time with better luck.

WEEWANIE HOT SPRINGS. About 10-15 minutes out from Weewanie Hot Springs we watched a cruising boat go in and tie to the only mooring buoy. We were sooooo close….however, we were able to anchor in the spot where the second buoy should have been. Success! After the folks on the cruiser finished with the tub at the hot springs we made our way to shore in the kayak and headed to the tub.

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See the bathhouse in the lower right?

Weewanie Hot Springs runs about 102º. It has a smaller “tub” for bathing that can be drained afterwards and a larger tub for soaking. And, soak we did. Perfect.

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After our soak we watched four whales travel down Devastation Channel while we spent a quiet night anchored in the small bay.

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All tucked in for the night.

KITIMAT. Isn’t that a nice name. Pronounced just like it’s spelled. Kitimat. I really really wanted to like a town with such a nice name. But….there are a few issues with Kitimat and MK Marina.

Kitimat does have in interesting history. It came into existence in the 1950s when Alcan developed a hydroelectric facility to support the aluminum smelting industry. The company built a dam, a 10 mile tunnel, powerhouse, 51 mile transmission line, a deep sea terminal and smelter. Additionally, the company also designed, laid out and assisted with the initial construction of the city. At the time, the combined development was considered the most expensive project ever attempted by private industry. All of this was accomplished in a span of a four years and is well documented in the museum.

The marina itself isn’t bad. But there is nothing near the marina. Seriously nothing. No parks, no trails to hike, and town is roughly 10 miles from the marina. A taxi runs $60 roundtrip, WHOA! We utilized the bus to get to the grocery and museum (a fine museum), working around the very limited bus schedule. The second issue with the marina is the breakwater…or lack thereof. It has breakwaters, we know this because we could see them, but they are truly ineffective. Between the wind channelling down Kitimat Arm and the small fishing boats going in and out at fast speeds it made for a bumpy stay. Would we go back to Kitimat? Probably not. Note I haven’t any pictures because, well there wasn’t much to take pics of.

KITSAWAY ANCHORAGE. The forecast was for a windy couple of days. This is were we chose to wait out the wind and a good choice it was. It was a pretty anchorage and the crabbing was the best we’ve ever had. A very worthwhile stop. p.s. I STILL have crab in my freezer. 

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Crab cakes and crab quesadillas!

OWYACUMISH BAY. This is one of the most beautiful bays we have seen. Absolutely spectacular. Gardner Cannel has been one of the more scenic channels we’ve been in and Owyacumish Bay made the trip down this channel worth while.

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Just one of the many beautiful views in Gardner Channel

That said, Captain Rusty made several valiant attempts to find Sweet T a suitable anchorage but eventually conceded that there was not a decent place to drop anchor with sufficient swing room. It’s a small deep bay then all of a sudden it’s shallow. He would not have been able to let out any scope whatsoever. The Douglas book we use rarely fails us, but it is 20 years old and over the years the recommended spot was no longer the depth they reported. Oh how we wanted to stay here. For days….

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It’s good to have a Plan B though so we headed back to Europa Hot Springs (aka Shearwater Hot Springs) to spend a night or two.

EUROPA HOT SPRINGS. What a great stay we had here! The scenery was lovely, the bath house was nice, and with warm days and brilliant blue skies it was perfect. The temp in this tub runs about 107º; the warmest of the hot springs we visited. This was my favorite hot springs because it was off the beaten path with beautiful views no matter which way we were facing and since we were off the “popular” route we had the bay and hot springs all to ourselves. We made our way to the tub a couple of times for a good soak.

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The outside tub for bathing. (and my dry bag)

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The “inside” tub for soaking and if you look closely you can see the steam coming off the water.

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A view in one direction.

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A view in the other direction.

BISHOP BAY HOT SPRINGS. Continuing on with our hot springs tour our next stop was Bishop Bay Hot Springs. We headed out on yet another warm sunny day. We left Gardner Channel for Ursula Channel for Bishop Bay Hot Springs. This is the most “popular” hot springs we visited. The small dock was super crowded with small boats when we first arrived so we waited until early the next morning to visit the tubs. We did luck out and were able to grab an empty mooring  buoy when we arrived. A nice boardwalk that led to a nice tub with an outdoor tub for bathing, inside tub for soaking. This tub ran around 104º.

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A good boardwalk all the way from the dinghy dock to the bathhouse.

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A nice little bath house.

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Yes, we left our name at each tub we visited.

With all these bath houses I’m not sure we’ve ever been this clean while cruising. I’m also not sure what that says about us, but don’t judge us.

All is well.

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FRIENDS AND A SAD GOOD-BYE

If you don’t mind I’m going to go out of order.

Recently, after we spent a few days in Montague Harbor in the Gulf Island in BC we were able to get in to Saltspring Marina. It’s the busy season to be sure. Normally we stay in Ganges Marina but Ganges Marina didn’t have water, Saltspring did. We wanted water so decision made.

While in Ganges we met up with Keith and Chris from Nootka Rose for a fabulous dinner out and several wonderful hours of catching up. We also saw their new to them Grand Banks and their new Airstream!

Boat friends end up being special friends in so many ways.

We had a sad task ahead of us while in Ganges and needed transportation. Keith and Chris kindly let us borrow one of their vehicles.

It was time for us to say good-bye to Happy.

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RUSSELL: Happy was a cow dog and it came naturally to her.  I got her as a pup when I lived on the farm.  She loved to herd the cattle, even when we didn’t need her to.  Sometimes I would look out the window and she would be down in the field rounding up the cows and bringing them to the lot just for fun.  When the kids were young and playing in the yard she would herd them to.

She learned the ways of the farm quickly and when the kids wanted to go down to the creek I always said take the dog with you.  More than once Happy found the snake before the snake found the kids.  She got bit on the nose a few times by Copperheads but never stopped looking out for the kids.  She kept the varmints out of the yard and was great at catching mice when I picked up a bale of hay.

She adapted to the boat well, but was showing her age, 13, when we moved onboard.  But she aged quickly in the last year.  And it became apparent in the last couple of months that her quality of life wasn’t good.  She was tired; a week or so ago she decided to give up and stop eating, and then she couldn’t get up anymore.  It was very hard but I decided she had had enough.

The Vet on Salt Spring Island was wonderful and I was with her till the end.  She is missed greatly.

TAMMY: Happy was a living example of “you can teach an old dog new tricks”. A land dog for the first 13 years of her life, she adapted quite well to being a boat dog. Rest well Happy.

All is well.

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She LOVED her daddy!

WEST SIDE OF PRINCE OF WALES

HOLE IN THE WALL. A rainy departure from Petersburg for Hole in the Wall, which by-the-way is pretty much just that, a hole in the wall. Even on rainy bow watch it was a pretty, albeit narrow, entrance. Once through the narrow entrance it opens up to a nice size protected bay.

 

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A stunning view. Hole in the Wall ended up being our favorite anchorage so far in Prince of Wales.

We came through the entrance at about a 2/3 tide. The next day we took the dinghy back through the narrow opening at low tide because we think it’s interesting, or scary in some cases, to see what you don’t see at a higher tide. Follow? What we saw lurking under the surface were rocks.

 

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A beautiful narrow entrance.

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What we saw on land were black bears. The bear sightings in Hole in the Wall were plentiful, seeing almost always at least two bears out, sometimes three. They seem to have worked out a system of proper bear etiquette staying in their separate areas.

 

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He finally notices were watching him. 

In addition to the bears we also saw a mink, deer, river otter, an eagle sitting in its nest, Canadian geese, and a young pair of trumpeter swans! (see the bear in background?)

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I think “Flying Nun” when I see this picture. 

While here we were boarded by the Alaska Wildlife Troopers. WHAT? In this secluded out of the way hole? There was quite a bit of active fishing outside the entrance as we entered and there is restricted commercial fishing in this bay so we assume that’s why the troopers came back to the bay. They boarded to make sure our crab pots met the regulations and checked Russell’s fishing license. We were legal on all accounts. I offered them fresh hot cranberry orange muffins to go but apparently they aren’t allowed to accept treats. Too bad, they were still warm.

EL CAPITAN PASSAGE AND DEVILFISH BAY. After three days in Hole in a Wall we made our way through El Capitan Passage to Devilfish Bay.

I like the narrow passages that have lots of turns in them like El Capitan Passage. In this passage instead of the normal “red right return” rule we had the green markers on our right.

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A narrow shallow passage even through it’s dredged. 

The charts show two rocks in the entry to Devilfish. There are mixed comments on Active Captain regarding the entrance; some say you can see the rocks on the chart at all tides, some say you can’t. We entered at about an 8.5’ tide and saw only one of the two rocks shown on the chart.

 

Folklore has it that there was an Indian village in Devilfish Bay until a giant devil fish came out of the bay and the entire village vanished.

I was sure we wouldn’t see bears here (or devilfish) but we ended up with eight black bear sightings while here just one night.

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We saw no Devilfish. 

EL CAPITAN CAVE. The next afternoon we backtracked to the bay across from El Capitan Cave. This anchorage is not on Active Captain or in the Douglas book but Russell scoped it out on the way to Devilfish and determined it would work just fine for an overnight anchorage. We even spotted a bear while here.

The reason for anchoring here was because early the next morning we had reservations for a tour of very deep El Capitan Cave. The climb to the cave is a steep 370 steps and while it’s not a pleasant climb it is well worth it.  The cave goes into the side of El Capitan mountain and is 2500 feet underground, making it one of the deepest caves in North America.  We only went a few hundred feet in, but it is undeveloped so footing was treacherous most of the time over the rough floor, with some climbs over boulders.  Geologically, it is a relatively young cave so the formations are new and not developed with big formations (stalagtites, etc.), but it was still pretty and a unique experience.

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The top of the climb

 

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Entry to El Capitan Cave

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Such beautiful rocks in the cave.

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A fresh water hole in the cave. 

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Done with our tour and ready to head back down. 

SARKAR COVE. Our next stop was Sarkar Cove. Once again, just a one night stopover. There are several Fishing lodges in this cove. Surprisingly we saw two bears on the near shore.

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Some day we’ll have a fish on the end of that hook. 

KAGUK COVE. Just so we didn’t have such a long day to Klawock we stopped at Kaguk Cove for a night after leaving Sarkar. Yep, we saw yet another bear out for a stroll. We have been so lucky to see all these black bears! I think we’ve seen more black bears in a week than we saw all of last year.

Nothing special about this cove, just a peaceful night at anchorage. I guess any peaceful night at anchorage makes it special.

From Hole in the Wall to Kaguk we had warm sunny weather. I even saw 78º once! *gasp*

We saw this mysterious totem on an island in the middle of Tonowek Narrows on our way to Klawock.  It looked very old.  And a little eerie, which was probably the indians’ intention.

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KLAWOCK AND CRAIG. Speaking of totems, Klawock has a nice totem park not far from the marina. And, that would be it for Klawock.

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Would we stop here again, unlikely. That said we met a super nice couple that runs a most interesting business. They put on endurance trail rides (horses) throughout the country. xpriders.com

Before leaving Klawock I called the harbor master in Craig to see about availability at the North Harbor. Like most harbors here they don’t take reservations for the transient dock but I was told a boat would be gone by 12:00, freeing up a spot for us. We headed that way at the appropriate time and there sat a big charter boat in our spot. Apparently they had anchored just outside of the harbor also waiting for a spot to free up, and jumped ahead of us.

Plan B, we headed to the city float. Free, but no power. We run the generator a couple times a day and we’ll be fine. While there we met a nice couple in their sailboat from Holland. They eventually got on the transient dock in the North Harbor then let us know when a spot opened up so we too could move. Once moved we had happy hour with our neighbors. These folks have traveled literally all over the world in their sailboat, including Antarctica, and the Drake Passage (some of the roughest waters in the world) where they spent 30 hours holed up in the boat in a storm. They found Alaska so beautiful and the cruising so good, they’ve now been in Alaska for five years and are considering continuing southward in another year or so. They thought the south Pacific and Japan were cool, but only stayed a year or so in each.  We meet the most interesting and nicest people.

Here we sit in Craig waiting for the wind to let up in Dixon Entrance so that we can have an uneventful crossing into the Canada. The weather is unusually bad offshore with really high SE winds (30 knots+ sustained and gusts 50 knots+) and big, big seas.  Typically this time of year the Pacific High is in place and blocks low pressure fronts from coming across the Gulf of Alaska, but there is a big low hanging out there now bringing a late SE gale.  Looks like we’ll be here for another day or two then we can inch our way south closer to a staging spot before our crossing of Dixon Entrance (think big open water exposed to the Pacific swells and weather).  But crossing doesn’t look promising till Friday or Saturday.

The locals say the westerly spring winds are late in arriving….come on spring winds!
Until then I’m going to have one more of the most excellent mixed berry smoothies we found at a little place in town.  And maybe another trip to the library for movies to watch.
All is well.

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Woof

THORNE BAY, THOMS PLACE, LITTLE NORWAY FESTIVAL

We had a few stops on our way back to Petersburg for the Little Norway Festival.

First, Thorne Bay with a nice transient dock. This stop, to me, will always be the friendly little town on Prince of Wales Island that has a little grocery with great meat and reasonable prices!

BEAUTIFUL PASSAGE TO GET BACK TO THORNE BAY

On our way to Thoms Place we found this floating.

Russell called the Coast Guard and let them know about the little blue skiff.

No bears or waterfowl at Thoms Place but loads of songbirds and a peaceful beautiful setting. We liked this spot so much we stayed two nights.

Sam and Dad on a field trip to a little island.

IS MY MAMA OUT THERE?

DINNER? YES PLEASE!!!

After Thoms Place we headed to Wrangell which we bypassed on the way to Alaska last year. We stayed in Heritage Harbor, a very nice harbor with friendly folks. However, it is 1.5 miles to town…yes, that is taking the shortcut.

In Wrangell we had a great burger, good pizza, went through their most excellent museum, and we had rain…lots of rain. Because of the rain I opted to not carry my camera.

Somewhere along the way I finished these.

LETS CALL THEM HALLOWEEN SOCKS.

Next stop is Petersburg. Every May Petersburg has their Little Norway Festival. It’s a big deal here and we wanted to experience it.

Before the festivities started we were invited to tour Kestrel, a dive ship for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. This ship isn’t far off our starboard side and we looked at it all winter so it was nice to see the inside!

ONE OF TWO DIVE SKIFFS

THE DIVE ROOM

CREW OF THREE, CAPTAIN, COOK, AND ENGINEER…PLUS ROUGHLY SIX DIVERS

ENGINE ON THE LEFT, GEN ON THE RIGHT….ANOTHER ENGINE AND GEN ON THE OTHER SIDE

We sampled Norwegian desserts, we went to the Mitkof Mummers play, the roller derby, the museum, watched the herring toss, watched the parade, and marveled at the Norwegian costumes everywhere.  We’ll let the pics tell the story of this small town festival.

FANS OF THE ROLLER DERBY – CRUISERS FROM OUR DOCK

GILL WRECKHER SCORING FOR PETERSBURG. IT WAS A BLOW OUT FOR PETERSBURG AND A MUCH MORE PHYSICAL BOUT THIS TIME.

HALF TIME ENTERTAINMENT!

Let the parade begin!

HOW CUTE ARE THESE TWO!!!

CAST OF THE PLAY

LET THE HERRING TOSS BEGIN

The herring toss draws a huge crowd!

WE’RE ROOTING FOR JENNY AND KELLY!!

OOPS! THEY’RE SLIPPERY!!

DAD IS JUST GOING TO HOLD MANDY IN CASE ONE OF THOSE SLIPPERY HERRINGS GETS LOOSE!

We had three beautiful sunny days when we arrived.

I FINISHED THIS ALONG THE WAY TOO…AND AFTER A GOOD SOAK IT DRIED IN NO TIME ON THE BOW.

SOME SAY THEY’RE WEEDS, I SAY THEY ADD BEAUTIFUL COLOR!

We had nice weather for the festival but the rained started last night,has continued today, and will continue tomorrow. But the winds will be light so we will head south tomorrow around the west side of Prince of Wales Island. The rain doesn’t bother us, we’re inside, although it’s always nice if the rain stops while we anchor.

With a little luck there’s a slim chance we may catch up with some friends in Prince Rupert and swap stories. Wouldn’t that be nice!

All is well.