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