Tuesday, August 15, 2017


The old windlass lasted for 29 years.  It gave up on us in Klu Bay and I had to pull the last 40 feet of chain and a 77lb anchor by hand.  Really sucked.

As we rounded the corner heading to Ketch, I called Maxwell Marine and asked if they had a direct replacement for this old V-1000.  They said yes and it was the VWC-1000.  Great!  Be here in Katch in 5 days.  So we wait.  The new windlass arrives and when I looked at the parts, it looked too small!  It was WAY too small.

I called Maxwell back and asked what gives, the VWC was not a direct replacement.  The lady on the phone sent me to a technician.  When I told him what happened, he said no way was the VWC 1000 was a direct replacement.  We talked for a while and he told me I needed the VWC 3500.  With the exception of having to enlarge the center hole to 5 inches, everything should drop in place.  Great so we wait another 5 days.  By this time our weather window had closed to cross Dixon Entrance into Canada.  A huge storm has blown in with small craft advisory, 30kt winds and sideway rain.

John and I drilled the 5 inch hole and when I went to drop the shaft collar in, the hole was too small by 1/8 of an inch.  Well crap.  First thing in the morning in the rain and wind, I had to use a rasp to open this hole that was 5" big and 5" deep!  Did I say it was windy and raining? 

Took me a few hours, buy I got the hole opened up and it took about 2 hours to finish the install.  Runs great, so far.

So here we wait until the next weather window, possibly Saturday..........

May she RIP

New windlass parts

Drilling the 5" hole

John is drilling and I am stupper vising...

Taking a chisel and knocking out the hole

My turn to drill.  You had to watch this drill as it would beat you up if you were not careful.

New windlass being installed

new motor and gear box

Mission accomplished

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ketch Again!

The marinas are getting full!  The fishing boats are gone out chasing fish, but all the south bound cruisers are stopping over before heading into Canada.

With the windlass on order and 2 days left with my daughter Sam, we hit the streets of Ketch to become tourist.  Sam had never been to Ketch, so this was all new to her.  For us, we have spent so much time here we could almost become residence….

The next day Sam packed her backpack and her now new bay full of hats and tee shirts for the flight back to Anchorage.  We had a great time and got to know each other a little bit more.  It was wonderful and I can’t wait until I can see her again.

Did I tell you we had a windlass on order?  Yep I did.  Got it from UPS and Maxwell sent me the WRONG ONE!!!!  I tell you if I didn’t have bad luck….

So, Maxwell and Defender marine are on the east coast.  So I woke at 3:30 in the morning to find out what happed.  This time I talked to a tech rep and described the Maxwell-Nilsson V1000 which I have on the boat.  He immediately told me that the one I was sent was much smaller and the direct replacement was a VWC 3500.  Wished I could have talked to this guy last week instead of the lady that helped me.  By noon Maxwell FedExed me a VWC 3500 with a return shipping tag for the wrong one they sent me.  Today is Saturday and the new one is sitting in Anchorage waiting to get flown to Ketch.  Problem is they don’t work on the weekends, so it is due in here Monday afternoon. 

My luck.  I told John not to wait on me and head south before the weather window closed... He declined and is staying here with us.  Today the weather window slammed shut and the wind is blowing 22mph and expecting 2.5 inches of rain.  Looks like it will be like this all week.  Dang luck.

What do you do when you are waiting?  Fish…..  John and I were pretty successful with a few pinks and good Coho salmon.  We visited Saxon and looked the totem poles with their associated stories, then dinner and a beer or two at the Artic Bar.

Windlass Mount

Dead after 29 years

Have no idea...I am sure adult drinks were involved

Yep that is 40 feet of chain

The fish killing machine


Misty Fjords

I was really excited about this part of the trip.  My daughter Samantha was joining us for a 5-day excursion through Misty Fjords National Monument.  Tracy also had a friend fling in so double the fun!  Tracey had done a very fine job of mapping the trip to make sure we could see most of the park.  One thing we didn’t count one was the weather.  Our scheduled departure was the next day, but 35 knot winds were forecast for the crossing of Revillagigedo Chanel to east Behm Canal.  A command decision was made to leave that evening while we still had daylight and the seas were calm.  Yep we started to notice the loss of daylight.

Our fist anchorage was a little bay between the mainland and a little island, called Shoalwater Passage.  This gave us great protection from the wind and wave blowing up from Dixon Entrance.  There was also a forest service cabin which a young family had rented over the weekend.  Typical Alaskan kids running about, swimming, noisy and having the time of their lives.  The next morning, I saw a black bear in their camp going through all their stuff.  A reminder that Alaska is a wild place, but bear safety is part of the lessons learned by Alaskan children.

The fun part for me was having my daughter Sam with us.  At first, she was scared as she had no idea what our boat (yacht) was like.  She had only experiences smaller fishing boats and she almost went overboard and she doesn’t know how to swim.  This was also a chance for her and I to get to know each other again.  She is 21 and looks at the world through different lenses than I do and she got to understand how I looked at things.  Sometimes they meshed, sometimes they didn’t.  We got to explore those differences.

She took a liking to our dinghy.  She wanted to go explore and look at the scenery.  The first time we were in it I scared the heck out of her, because the bow of the dink comes up as it gets on step.  By the end of the trip, she was actually driving the dink by herself and having a blast.

Our first tour took us up Smeaton Bay.  This was a big letdown.  There was nothing here, except tree covered mountains which we have seen every else in Alaska.  What was nice was the sunshine once we got out of the wind.   Sam adopted the bow of the boat.  She would take a chair and sit in the sun while listening to her music.  There was this rock which had lots of seals on it also taking advantage of the sun.  Sam called the “sea puppies!” 

We planned to use Shoalwater Passage as a home base while exploring the southern east side of Misty Fjord.  The next day it was foggy and raining.  When we left the protection of the anchorage we ran into wind waves and thick fog.  Sam was a little worried, so she got a lesson on navigating using charts, AIS and radar.  Eddystone Rock looked mysterious in the fog.  At low tide, there is quit an area around the rock where you could dink over and explore on foot.

Our destination today is the crown jewel of Misty Fjords, Punch Bowl and Rudyerd Bay.  When we first entered you could barely see ½ mile ahead of you, then the fog started to lift!  Oh my! The wondrous view that laid out before us.  Granite walls that shot up to 3000+ feet on both sides with hundreds and hundreds of waterfalls.  We wondered back to back bay in the Rudyerd Bay arm.  At one point, there was a very narrow passage between the outer bay and the inner bay which was just wide enough for one boat to pass through.  This back bay was so quiet and smooth, no wind and the sound of water falls everywhere.  At the head of the bay was a river and green grass fields.  But the water shallowed very quickly, so you had to pay attention.  We made our way back to the outside bay.  While transient the narrow part I saw huge schools of salmon making their way to their home streams and rivers.  Sam got really excited as she wanted to go fishing.  Unfortunately, salmon fishing was closed in the area.

After getting out of the narrows, we made the turn into Punch Bowl Cove!  The clouds and fog lifted to where this cove walls shot way high!  Pure granite walls reaching 4000feet into the sky!  Normally this place is very busy with tour boats and planes from the Ketchikan cruise ships!  But when we were there you could almost hear a pin drop!  Just the waterfalls and an occasional eagle is all you heard.  This place left an almost spiritual experience for me.

We made our way back to Shoalwater Passage for one more night before heading into the northern end of the monument.  We side tied to John and Tracey on the Pairadice to have a party.  Sam and I did some more exploring on the dink.  Tracey’s friend Julie wanted to go ashore and look at the Forest Service cabin. 

Just as we pulled up on shore a kayaker also landed.  We were friendly and told the gentleman that we would only be a minute as we wanted to look at the cabin.  His attitude surprised us.  He acted like we were trying to steal the cabin.  He did not have a friendly attitude and later I found out why.  He hated power boats.  As we were leaving he asked if we were going to be running our generators.  I asked why.  He stated the generators would ruin his wilderness experience.  I stated “That’s funny, our generators are running right now as we speak and I can’t hear them.”  He then asked if we would shut them off.  At this point I was pissed off.  I stated NO! we would not be shutting them down.  He then demanded we shut them down which pissed me off even more.  So during the night I turned my music on, at the appropriate sound level to piss him off and I would sound my hand held air horn from time to time.  The next morning, we left early with blue skies and just to make sure our purist kayaker knew we were leaving, I swung ASD by the cabin, laid on the boat horns and a couple of loud blasts from the hand air horn!  I just couldn’t help myself……

Our next anchorage was Fitzgibbon Bay at the northern end of the monument.  First, we took a tour of Walker Bay.  This was beautiful, but not like Punch Bowl.  It was green and majestic and a lot quieter than punch bowl as there were no boat tours or float plane landing and taking off.  We side tied to John again and Sam and I took the dink to the next bay and put down a shrimp trap.  She did most of the driving and we practiced taking off and getting on step.  At the end, it didn’t scare her anymore.  That night the stars came out and looked like a carpet of light across the sky.  If you looked north east you could see the light blue sky from the sun traveling across to rise again at 4 AM.  The shrimp pot had 5 shrimp!!!  Dang.

The next stop was Spacious Bay on the West side of Misty Fjords.  On the way, this area empties several glacial rivers from Canada.  The water turns a greenish, greyish tone.  After a few hours, this color disappears.  When we got to Spacious Bay we decided that it was too exposed to the NW winds.  So, we hopped over to a little bay called Klu Bay.  We dropped a shrimp trap outside the bay.  This area has a huge lake up in the mountains and this is home to Ketchikan hydro power.  There are two big water falls that empty into this bay.

Klu Bay is also a deep anchorage of about 100 feet, which means you have to let out about 300 feet of chain.  The bay is calm and hardly no wind, so we held quite well.  The windlass on the other hand did not like the long pull.  For those that do not know, a windlass is a motor that lifts your anchor off the sea floor.  It can be hydraulic or electric, ASD’s is electric.  With 40 feet of chain to go, along with the 80lb anchor the windlass dies!  I had to pull 40ft of chain and an 80lb anchor by hand.  That sucked and was an Advil moment.  Now I had to get a new windlass.  If you have been following our travels you know that our partners on the Pairadice had to replace their windlass when we first got to Ketchikan at the beginning of this trip, so his bad juju passed over to ASD.  I can’t complain as the old windlass was the original and gave 29 years of service. As soon as I was in cell range I called Maxwell Windlass and got one on order and shipped to Ketchikan.  2-3-day delivery actually takes a week as UPS and FedEx do not work on the weekends.  No worries.  We should be heading south to Canada by the following Tuesday.  Looked like perfect weather windows to cross Dixon Entrance!

Smeaton Bay

Sunset Shoalwater Passage

Sun Dog

Sam in her favorite place on the bow

Black Bear leaving the camp area

Saw these slides all over Misty Fjords

Smeaton Bay

Building in the middle of nowhere

Sea Puppies

New Eddystone Rock

Entering Punch Bowl

End of Rudyard Bay

Reason this is call Misty Fjords

This is a creek that goes to a lake.  Salmon were all over the place waiting for high tide to get into the lake.

Narrow entrance to Rudyard

Hey Pairadice

On Camera!!!

Punch Bowl

Walls of Punch Bowl


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Happy dad

Eddystone rock

Walker Cove

Walker Cove

Head of Walker Cove

Closer look at the head of Walker Cove

Sam Relaxing

Sunset in Fitzgibbon Bay

Our BIG catch

Klu Bay

Sunset Klu Bay

See the waterfall?

Back in Ketch

Enjoying the sunset in Ketch

Moon rise over Ketch