The marina in Shearwater with showers, laundry, internet, café and a grocery shop on the premises is a welcomed luxury after the wilderness. The weather is going to continue to be pleasant the next few days, so we continue our trip south.
We have crossed back over from Queen Charlotte Island to the Inside Passage, looking for Spirit Bears now.
We have crossed the Hectate Strait to Queen Charlotte Islands, or Haida Gwai - that's how the locals call it. We'll be doing an orientation at the heritage center today, so we then can enter the Gwai Hana Park, in the south of the island the next few days.
Pulled into downtown Prince Ruppert today, so we are in Canada now. Probably the only country in the world, where you can check in by phone without ever seeing an official. Just amazing...
We have a stop over in Petersburg. Passed some hot springs on the way, caught some salmon, seen more bears and generally had a very good time!
After some inner waterway cruising through the northern part of SE Alaska, we are in Port Krestof tonite and will be pulling into Sitka tomorrow.
After a 3 day crossing from Prince William Sound, we arrived today at Elfin Cove, a magical place in Southeast Alaska.
In Valdez harbor for laundry, groceries and internet. It is hard to get a berth here - we had to anchor outside the first night. Luckily it was calm.
Dodged some bergy bits and growlers today, trying to get to Columbia Glaciar, but had to give up after three quarters of the way. Now tucked away in Emerald Cove, out of reach of the drifting ice.
Lovely anchorage in lush green surroundings with a extensive marshland and millions of salmon bunching up there. Some of the chum salmon, who have arrived here a month back, are already dying off, so the place is swarming with sea gulls, bald eagles and flies. Quite the horror show, if you walk up the stream. Unfortunately none of the bears, who must be around, did show themselves. Also I couldn't interest one of the quadrillions of fish to take a fly. It was a different species (sockeye, I think) and I guess I have to test different lures, if I meet them again.
Granite Bay is quite aptly named for impressive granite cliffs all around the anchorage. Caught another salmon in the lagoon without trying hard. We are now caning the fish...
Cow pens anchorage. More fabulous fly fishing. Freezer is full!
More good fly fishing and a brave gras eating black bear in Schoppe Bay.
Spectacular waterfall and god fly fishing for pink salmon.
Tucked away in Shoestring Bay for a few days of rain to come.
Anchored in Esther Bay close to the salmon hatchery for some bear photography.
Made a long run today today to reach the scenic glaciars while we still are under the influence of this fabulous high, that has been going on for over 8 days now with blue sky and heaps of sun. It was well worth the lond drive and Serpentine Cove, our anchorage for tonight rates about the most specatcular we have ever been to.
Made a move to Echamy Lagoon and had a small hike up to Echamy Lake. Plenty of chum and silver salmon in the mouth of the river, no pinks yet.
Only a short drive today. We went through Icy Bay dodging many big chunks of ice to the Chenaga Glaciar and were rewarded with spectacular sights. We then continued onward to the Seven Fathoms Hole in Jackpot Bay, which apparently is named because the fishermen played poker here, while they waited for the pink salmon. We haven't seen any... neither pink salmon, nor fishermen.
For the night we are safely tucked away in Otter Cove. Shame though, there aren't really any otters here. But on the way we saw a group of Humpback Whales feeding, which was a spectacular sight.
Today we had a gorgeous day and visited every piece of ice which is reachable by boat in Aialik Bay. Also we spoted our first Black Bear as we pulled into our anchorage at Paradise Cove. Tomorrow we will make another quick stop in Seward and then head over to Prince William Sound.
We made it past 60 north and spent a few days in Seward Harbor. Heading out today and going back west for a few days to examine some glaciars we missed on the way here.
We decided to move from Pilot Harbor for the upcoming small blow, because of strong caterbatic winds and difficult anchoring conditions. We are now tucked away in Shelter Cove, which seems less windy.
Tonight we are in Pilot Harbor in the north arm of Nuka Bay. We had a short walk on shore, but we didn't get far due to limited beach.
We had a nice sail in blue sky across Stevenson and Kennedy Entrance but as we came close to Kenai Penninsula, we entered dense fog which stay with us all the way into our anchorage at Tonsina Bay.
After a nice week in Kitoi with lots of bears and we are back in Kodiak City for a night to prepare to leave the archipelago.
The wind and rain have gone, so we moved on to Kitoi Bay, where they run a salmon hatchery. We will try to get a tour tomorrow!
We had beautiful sunny day in Litnik and used it to walk the road to the lake and the weir, where we met two local girls who count salmon. Every 90 minutes they open the weir and check how many salmon go through. This year has been a slow start and then it even slowed down more. There is hardly any salmon to count for the girls. That's why they closed down all commercial salmon fishery in the area. Even the local fly fishermen lodge had to close down! People here are very nervous, because the whole area depends on the salmon so much.
After the walk we weathered the scheduled low in the same anchorage. Two days of wind, rain and boat jobs.
After reprovisioning in Kodiak, we moved across the big bay to Litnik, caught a few fish on the way and are now in a cosy anchorage in the river mouth. It was recommended to us and it is living up to the expectation.
In Kodiak Harbor for the night. Laundry, Shoping, Internet.
On our way to Kodiak City in a cute little bay off the highway. Saw a fox on the shore when we droped anchor.
Last night the rain stoped. Yeah! We moved around the corner to Terror Bay, which is much nicer than the name suggests. Loads of cute otters here.
We had a nice 3 hour walk along the river mudflats, complete with eagles and a big cuddly Kodiak bear, which ran like a deer, when he spotted us.
Moved over to Kodiak. It is still raining... four days now!
Spent 4 days in Geographic Harbor while two lows passed outside. We didn't even feel it, except for the rain.
Today we moved to Kukak Bay for some more scenery.
We fled from the bad weather down south and made a beeline to Geographic Harbor and a had a royal welcome with sunshine, otters, whales and a bear on the shore. Alaska couldn't be more welcoming!
At anchor in Mitrofania harbor. We thought there is an abandoned village here, but all we could find was rusty metal parts and some bear prints in the sand.
Had a few resting and repair days in Sand Point and moved on to Fox Bay this morning. We saw some humpback whales on the way over and a brown bear was strolling on the shore in the afternoon. We hope to catch a glimpse at a fox at sunset or sunrise, before we move on.
We are in Alaska! At noon local time we pulled into Humboldt Harbor at Sand Point in the Shumigan Islands. Alaska really rolled out the red carpet and dusted all the corners for our arrival. We had the most incredible clear sky since yesterday evening, glowing sunset, stunning night sky, breathtaking sunrise and enjoyed hundrets of miles visibility the whole day. Just absolutely amazing! We have fueled up already, washed down and cleaned the boat and are now celebrating. I hope you enjoyed the passage as much as we did!
Nothing much to report. We are heading straight for Humboldt Harbor and should be there by tomorrow morning. Everybody is kind of quiet and eagerly awaiting to set foot on land again.
The wind is blowing much harder than predicted, but is very well sailable - so no complaints. The sun took all morning to make an appearance, but is up and about since noon.
All well aboard.
After yesterdays post we started to shake out one reef and through the remains of the night, in intervals of about 3 hours, the others followed. By sunrise we were running under fully cloth, yet the wind still continued to calm down, until we were barely still sailing fast enough to not start the engine. I can't think of many times when I was so content going really slow into the wrong direction. The morning was so peaceful after all this commotion the last two days. I just enjoyed watching all those confused little waves running aimlessly in random directions, while this glassy calm set upon them and gently calmed them down under a warming sky, that showed all promises to become a sunny day.
And so it was and it was perfect. The sun came out and stayed with us the whole day. The wind turned to the west and picked up, so we could aim toward our new goal and full speed and we just wore our smiles and thoroughly enjoyed it all.
On a downside: I tried to revive my starter batteries with the help of the sun and the paneles, but even after a good absorption charge they stay in a coma at 10.6V. I guess after nearly 50.000 miles they decided they did enough traveling and want to rest in peace now. can't blame them. I hope I can get decent replacements in the Shumigans...
I guess there is no need to say it, but I will stick to the tradition: All well aboard... despite the dead batteries!
Correction for earlier post today. Forgot to update the weather part and just noticed... sorry.
It has been another slow day. While being shaken and stired, we have watched the rolling mountains slowly loosing their snow caps and become hills. We tried a few things to aim higher north, but the sea state is still too rough to beat into it. We are now trying to sail parallel with the sea without picking up too much speed, which really is a tricky thing, but we found a good balance.
We have also crossed our beloved rhump line sometime early this morning at an angle of 50° at 1700 nautical miles of the full 2000. It has been an narrow miss, but still a miss. Looking at yesterdays forecast, I am sad to say, it doesn't seem likely we'll meet up again. You have been such a lovely rhump line and it really wasn't your fault, but nature decided we will have to part.
As I said early on this trip, in this kind of latitudes we are most likely in for a humbling. It is these times, when the sea restricts your possible goals to a narrow window and tells you in no uncertain way, that you are here on her mercy and this is the direction you will be going for some time to come. You can still act tough and unconcerned if you wanted to go that way anyways, but if not - well, there is your humbling. Thanks for that as well, dear fourties. And if you are still miffed about my snotty comment earlier, then let me say you successfully restored your ill reputation.
We will be leaving the fourties tonight and are awaiting a calmer welcome from the fifties. However the wind direction will make us bear away even more to the east for a while, before we can aim again at our new destination: The Shumigan Islands. Here we come! All well aboard. We had a sunny, warm spell (13° inside the boat) around noon today, some fun in the gallay and yummy warm pankakes. Highlight of the day!
after the last entry, we got a new weather forecast. While no major difference at first glance, there was a slight edge to potential nastiness in the second layer of the forecast. What do you make of 25kt winds with 41kt gusts? 25 is business as usual, but 41 is pure evil. Well, we found out later on.
At first we tried slow down and keep our westerly course as much as we could, to avoid the worst of it, but at some point the waves got to high to keep pushing into it, so we turned away from them. The time had come that have to use up the west we banked earlier. We had 100 nautical miles on our account this morning and it might not be enough to reach Dutch Harbor. We might have to settle for Kings Cove instead.
25 knot winds with gusts to 41 are just like gale force winds with storm force gusts. There is really not that much difference. Only occasionaly you get this lulls for a few minutes, which are not really a relief, because the lower wind pressure in the sail, the more you get shaken around.
At the moment we are running a towel (small sail9) at 120° apparent wind angle before the mountains, that roll toward us. It's all quite cosy, but we would still prefer 10 knots beam reach. Just letting the universe know my wishes, so they can come true later on.
As it looks in the forecast however, the winds will be slowly diminishing throughout the night, but still blow rather stiff from ENE tomorrow and we'll have to keep digging into our west account.
All good aboard. Still ready to get there :) PS for worried family mambers: As I send this (4 hours afer I wrote above) it has calmed down a bit already. No worries.
I shouldn't have said anything about the reliability of the weather forecast. Today we had the exception of the rule. Instead of 15 to 20 kts from the west as predicted, it is blowing with 25 to 30kts - which is kind of counter productive, when you were planing to beat into it, to make more west before the predicted 25 to 30 kts blow with 40+.
But on the bright side: At least the wind direction was forecast correctly. And even better: The sun was out in force, shining bright and warm. It surely was a welcomed sight to see that ball of fire rise this morning, after few days of absence and especially after last night, when that foggy drizzly wet thing moved in with sunset, almost like a physical presence, and restricted our world to a few feet around the cockpit. You weren't even able to see the full genoa, even though we were sure it was there.
It now pays off to have one of those modern radar domes, which only draw 2amps on transmit. We were basically running that thing for the last two days continuously! Also another heads up for everyone who is following behind. Make sure your batteries are fresh and keep them charged every day when it is getting cold. We had to jump the engine and the generator battery yesterday. I hope we don't have to buy new ones in Dutch Harbor.
Despite the minor issues, we are all fine aboard. Still happy and well fed, but slowly ready to get there.
The front came on time, just as predicted. Since we were only skirting the back end, it was mostly rainy and a nice southerly breeze with very little gusts. The wind is now slowly dying and turning westerly. The sky is getting brighter. So it seems the front will also pass as predicted. It is very reasuring that the forecasts are so accurate. So we have good reason to believe, that we will have favorable winds all the way to the end.
The sea has become very cold. The last two days it went from 15°C to 9°C. Inside the boat is is still around 15°C, so we are quite comfortable with some layers of cloths on and of course even more cosy under the blanket during off watch! All good aboard. Michaela is taking excellent care of us and constantly supplying us with healthy food. And of course Alita is taking very good care of all of us.
We are in the 40's now and it was a cheerful welcome. We had a wind change of 180°, choppy cross sea and a cold, drizzly night with zero visibility and a stiff breeze from NE. Everything cleared in the morning, the sun came out, the wind slowly died and we had another lovely day. So we are now in the middle of our 3'rd high pressure system since we left Kauai and I believe we might have found the "boring fourties", as the only thing roaring is our engine. I just started it and we are motor sailing until the wind dies completely.
Tomorrow we are expecting the tail end of a small front with southerly gusts and afterwards a stiff westerly breeze, which will bring us toward our destination and back to our beloved rhump line.
We have all seen seals today! So it is official: They do swim more than 700 miles offshore.
All good aboard, well fed (with yummy fresh home made bretzels), happy (to be on the way to Alaska) and just a little bit chilly.
Tonight at 4am we crossed our half way latitude. It has been a slow day with lots of motoring and some sleepy sailing, wind permitting. The water is starting to change color from dark blue to a more green-greyish hue, due to the higher amount of plankton. It also starts to smell like sea. We have seen a whale in the distance and Michaela has seen a small seal looking animal on her watch. I didn't know they were this far out.
Despite the widespread lack of wind it has been a beautiful day with lots of sunshine and scenic clouds. It also is quite warm, due to the southerly air flow, I guess.
The weather forecast for the second part of our trip looked good yesterday and I hope it still does tonight... it seems to change daily. The only thing that doesn't seem to change, is the variable winds in our vicinity for the next two days to come. But we are not complaining at all. The lack of weather is always preferable to nasty weather! We haven't had any action on the fishing lures for a few days and I am struggling to figure out a way to get them to stay deep under water. So far the set ups produced way too much resistance and ended up being like drogues. I guess I have to have a chat with the fishermen in Dutch Harbor! We had fresh baked bread for brunch and everything is A-okay aboard.
We didn't get a chance to air out the spinacker. The wind died over night. For a long while we could still go at 4 knot speed at a 60° apparent wind angle, hoping to make it to sunrise when the wind usually picks back up. But at 5 o'clock we practically stood still. We are motoring since, because the wind did not come back.
The sun also didn't make an appearance today. There is a heavy cloud cover, but the visibility is good. We could easily see a tanker passing by in 10 miles distance. There is now literally no wind at all. The water surface is glassy, except a minor swell from NE. The alternators are doing their job and we are using all the excess power to fill up the water tanks.
We are still meeting a few floating objects. Mostly fishing buoys with loads and loads of small mussels attached. Water temperature is down to 16°C but it still is T-shirt weather during day time.
All good with crew and boat.
Thanks for your comments and wishes. Unfortunately we came ill prepared for the unexpected onrush of musical culture in the middle of the ocean. Our playlists didn't include most of the composers we passed. Also it might be a bit early to call it a great passage. I ain't over before we had a few stiff drinks in a shady bar in Dutch Harbor! We expected this first part of the trip to be fast and glorious. It is the second part which makes it a passage and that very possibly might be tricky or even humbling.
At the moment we are considering to ride the front ahead of us to get to the north of the following low, or to reduce speed drastically to let the front and the low pass north. The final decision will be made with the newest weather forecasts the day after tomorrow. Until then we are enjoying some champagne sailing in the middle of a boisterous 1030hpa high pressure system while we can. We had some dense humidity this morning, but the sun quickly ate away all fog and clouds and we are now back to steel blue skies. Winds are slowly decreasing and we expect to be running on Spinacker tomorrow, before we finally have to give up and start the engine. We have encountered a bit more flotsam, but it also seems to be decreasing. Instead we had a very brief visit by a small pod of spinner dolphins, who didn't have the time for a small show or even a short chat.
After a very slow night, with winds around 5kts, which we managed to sail due to flat calm seas, we are now back to hull speed and 15 knot winds out of ENE. So we successfully transited from one high pressure system to the next, back to blue sky and not a cloud on the horizon. We also passed in between Wagner and Schubert, are about to race over Rossini and will then leave the musicians behind.
It is getting cooler. No more T-Shirt and shorts on night watch! Also there is more and more trash floating around in the water - only plastic so far, no containers yet :) Greetings from Severin to Lea, his family, his friends and the whole world. Oh, no worries, he is alright and so are all of. Just a bit silly.
It has been another gorgeous day, bright and sunny to start with and a high cloud cover moving in through out the afternoon. The wind has steadily whispered with 8 to 12 knots from NNE and NE directions and moved us comfortably at a good pace with swell hardly noticeable right through the middle of the sophisticated Musician Seamounts. We already passed by the renowned Sibelius, Ravel, Mozart, Liszt and Tchaikovsky, with Debussy, Brahms, Wagner and Puccini yet to come. As it looks now, we will not be rekindling with our rhump line any time soon. The wind is keeping us west and as it looks now, we will be needing all that west later on, when we catch up to the big low, that will be passing ahead in about 5 days time. Still a bit too early to make reliable predictions.
The only small excitements provided were by a small fishing vessel, we had to evade with a 10° course change at 3 o'clock in the morning and a small Mahimahi, which sacrificed itself on our fishing lures and will be our highly anticipated dinner tonight. All is well aboard... but how could it not be! PS: As we are moving further away from our radio link, we will also be broadcasting the daily updates later in the day toward sunset, when the connection is better. Just so you know. Do not torture the refresh button!
After the junk food comment, we had winged beans from the Kauai farmer market for dinner. That's a string bean, which tries to look like a sea weed and tastes like a mixture of bean and asparagus. Very tasty and very healthy! After dinner we shook out all reefs, glided through the night and woke up to a beautiful blue sky this morning. Doldrum sailing at it's best! All fine aboard.
Left our anchorage at Hanalei Bay at 3.30pm yesterday and had a good 24 hour run at about 340°T. Wind was in the low 20's from ENE to start with, with a bit of a cross sea chop, but nothing too nasty. It has calmed as expected and it now blows in mid tens out of the east. We'll head more northerly now to evade a zone without wind, then will most likely return to our rhump line to Dutch Harbor. There has been a high cloud cover all day, but it cleared enough at noon for the solar panels to charge. We are all well aboard and well fed with junk food!
We are planing to leave towards Alaska this afternoon. All preparations are made, the crew is in good spirits and the forecast looks favorable. We have nice easterlies to start with for two days, will then not have to motor very long to get through the eye of the high above us. Afterwards we are expecting north to east winds again. Beyond that... only god knows. As it looks now, there will be two lows passing north and ahead of us as we sail towards Dutch Harbor. This is the preferable location for the lows to be ahead and far away. But of course we will get weather data on the way and adjust our plan accordingly.
Got up very, very early in the morning to evade having to beat into strong trade winds, which usually pick up as soon as the sun comes up in Nawilili. We are now safely at anchor in panoramic Hanalei Bay. It is much less swell in here, as the chart would make you believe. We are quite comfortable and will have a relaxing nap now.
Had a smooth overnight passage to Kauai and are now anchored in Nawiliwili Harbor, where we set base for the next few days to do some land tours.
Anchored in Kane'ohe Bay, Oahu East. Surprisingly pleasant and calm anchorage despite the trade winds being up. People in the yacht club are very friendly and accomodating.
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