Sunday, June 20, 2021

K-Town to Sitka


After a week in K-Town it was time to leave. 

I was lucky with the generator and was able to get parts from the lower 48.  For some reason the genny hydra-locked again so the only place to allow water is through the intake.  So when we have a little bit of seas, the thru-hull will now be closed.  While fixing the genny, I stripped a “B” nut on the return line.  It was a compression fitting.  Shipping cost me more than the part.

Our next stop was Helm Bay.  There is a 100’ old wood dock here.  There was already a sail boat there and the wind kept blowing us off the dock.  Thanks to the kind sail boater he helped us to the dock.  I was a little concerned as the dock is on a ledge.  The island side is real shallow at regular low tide, about 2 feet, yet the side we were tied up to was about 15 feet.  We had -3.2 tides so I watched the depth very closely.  At a -3.2 we still had 11 feet under the boat.  But now we were looking UP as the shoal dried and lots beach!!  I had the dink out and I hit a charted rock!!  No real damage to the dink, but was a little embarrassing.  Kay had a field day with it.  She renamed it “Tommy’s Rock!!”  The sail boat left the next day and there were three boats that tried to get to the dock.  A green Nordic Tug won the day.  The others had to anchor.  For those 2 boats it was their first time to Alaska.  As 50ft OA almost grounded his boat on the shoal as it was high tide.  He also didn’t know quite how to anchor.  He would let his rode out, the anchor would catch (you could see the 45 degree angle on the rode) the he applied reverse full throttle and dig a corn row ditch.  We later saw them in Wrangell and we mentioned it to their travelling partner.  They shook their heads say the know and had tried to school the OA on how to properly set his anchor.  He might learn before they head back to Washing ton.

We spent a few days here, trying to tie down some crabs.  We caught a few, but pretty then.  The weather started to change with gale force winds on Clarence Strait predicted the next day. Time to leave.

Our next stop was Santa Anna Inlet.  As predicted the winds started to increase to 25-30kts on Clearance Strait.  Made the corner into Ernest Sound and every thing laid down to nice calm seas. We saw one AIS target already in Santa Anna.  However, when we turned the corner, there were 4 to 5 big yachts already there and they had the entrance choked with shrimp pots.  Plan B, Frosty Bay.  I guess this is the way it will be all summer, anchorages that were normally empty will be full of first time Alaska cruisers.  No worries, it’s a big place.  K-Town Al told me to hold on as 10 cruisers had past his house that morning.

We had never been to Frosty Bay.  It is a bay with an inner bay and a river dump into it.  The inner bay was too shallow to anchor.  The only company we had was a couple of harbor seals.  We also found shrimping to be pretty good, so that was the reason for the extra time.  We also had a visit from the Alaska Fish and Game (Also know as fish and feathers).  They checked our license and pots to make sure they complied with the regs.  It would appear that folks coming for the first time, bring their Washington shrimp and crab pots.  The pots are illegal in Alaska as they don’t comply with Alaska’s regulations. So I spread the word when I can.  We were however in compliance.

We took K-Town Al’s advice and our next stop was Fisherman’s Chuck.  It is locate outside of the northern end of canoe passage.  What such a beautiful place.  The best so far.  I set the shrimp just outside the bay and crab pot by a small creek.  No crab, but awesome shrimping.  We took the dink into Canoe Passage and WOW is all I can say.  We saw black bears and eagles.  A magical place.  A few days here and off to Wrangell via Zimovia Narrows.

Zimovia Narrows is a serious, yet fun channel to navigate.  The path is narrow and full of rocks if you are not paying attention.  Our friends from Fish and Feathers stopped us, again.  They also told us that Anita bay just opened for Kings.  I asked if there would be commercial long liners and nets (Commonly known as “rag draggers” by the long liners) he stated yes, we said not interested.  I have leaned you don’t want to go into bays with the commercials as they hate sport fisherman even worse.  I would not want to get my gear caught up in theirs as a “Yachtie.”

Wrangell is one of our favorite towns.  We surprisingly had one whole Heritage transient dock to ourselves! We would stock up and stay for about 5 days.  We also found the so-called short cut to town, which we walked a half dozen times or more.  Got our exercise until Kay found the “Senior” bus for a $1. We ate at the Stikine Lodge and Zac’s CafĂ©.  The hardware store got a visit from me for some fishing supplies.

The next stop would be Ideal Bay.  When arriving to Petersburg via Wrangell Narrows, most Yachties turn left and head to Juneau or Sitka.  We turned right and ended up in another little Gem of an anchorage.  The 3-week rain finally ended and we could see for miles.  On the other side of Fredrick Sound is La Conte Glacier. It is the most southern, tide water glacier in North America.  Kay had always wanted to see it.  With the beautiful weather, we spend a day exploring it.  Awesome icebergs, blue ice and baby harbor seals on the ice flows.  The glacier was BIG!!!  We stayed back about 2 miles as it was calving in the warm sun and we did not want to get our blow-up dinghy flipped or puncture holes in it from sharp ice.  Crabbing here is pretty good too.  Commercial crabbing opens up in a few days so we need to get our supply before they start.  The only downside to Ideal Bay is the current on tide change which brings muddy water from the Stikine River into the bay.  Now water making here.

The next stop is Portage Bay near 5-figers light house.  We plan to spend a day or so halibut fishing.  This Bay is the perfect anchorage, well almost.  The Bay is long and 40feet deep from one end to the other.  Bad news is a lot of kelp.  You don’t run the genset at low tide. 

The next day we did some “Butt” action.  This is an area where Fredrick Sound, Stevens Passage and Chatham Strait all come together.  There be whales here captain!!!  Lots of whales.  We spend the day just floating around, jigging herring.  A lot of “Chicken” halibut, meaning small one 10-20 pounds.  We kept one for the grill.  Kay fixed beacon wrapped halibut on the grill. Yum Yum.

Instead of returning to Portage which was 22 miles we instead chugged over to Cannery Cove in Pybus Bay.  This my 3rd most favorite place.  The beauty just takes your breath away.  North West Cruises.  A group of Grand Banks.  They had a great time in the bay.  We were getting the ich to get to Red Bluff Bay, so we cut our time short and headed into the light fog.  Kay made a commit about no whales.  Then the fog started to lift and whales everywhere.  Lots of Sea Otters too.  The sun came out and it was an awesome day.  We could also see there were boats in Red Bluff Bay by AIS.  When we arrived, there was only one other boat, a Northaven.  This guy had two other boats tied to the back and side.  A Boston Whaler and a 27-foot cabin boat.  Lots of money.  They didn’t talk much to the “lower class” of cruisers, Kay and I.

This anchorage has a lot of overnighters.  Folks would come in, drop a shrimp pot then anchor at the end of the Bay to watch bears.  We get the small cruise ships and mega yachts too.  One mega yacht “Serengeti” pulled in.  This was Johnny Carson’s old yacht.  The Captain decided to put the stern between us and the Nortie.  I asked the captain if he wanted to side tie, but my anchor was a little small.  It was a fun time.  Deck hands brought over a bag of different beers!  Thank you.  The next morning, it appeared that big ship can drag at anchor too.  He drifted back toward the Norite and some rocks.  They moved but almost took out the Northaven.  Always a little excitement. 

Our black bass honey hole was still hot fishing.  Limit was 5 each and we were done in less than 15 minutes.  It took Kay longer the fillet the fish than it did to catch them.  We also did well on shrimp.  Averaged 50ct for a 12-hour soak.  We also ventured just outside the bay for halibut.  We kept getting small ones which we threw back as you are only allowed 2 per day, 4 in possession per person.  8 halibut is all we can have, so we are picky.

Whale story.

As we are halibut fishing in our dinghy, there was a whale with a baby bubbling, then pushing the herring to the surface, then they would take big gulps. The worked their way down the shore line.  We were about ½ mile off shore.  It was fun watching mom teach JR how to eat.  They worked all the was around us.  Then baby headed out to sea.  Then mom charged us.  She was heading straight to us on the surface!!  Oh crap!!!  Kay is reeling in her pole as fast as she could.  I started to back up.  Mom when under the water about 20 yards from us.  Then we had bubbles all around us and hitting the boat.  Kay’s eyes are big as she stated:  She is going to surface right under us!!!  We moved but I don’t think the whale would hurt us.  I bet she told her young one:  “That JR is how we harass humans!!!!

After about a week we left Red Bluff Bay heading to Sitka.  We made a mid-way stop in Appleton Cove.  The crab season is now open and the entire cove is full of pots.  However to the credit of the craber, he left enough room so we could anchor.  Another boat came in and we had them over for cocktails. 

Then VHF 16 lit up.  The USCG had heard a transmission of someone screaming.  They called for any boats to relay if they heard it.  We have a big problem in SEAK as many of the USCG relay towers are down and have been down for the past few years.  They launched everything to include 2 helicopters. The next morning, it we rain and fog and they were still searching. 

So we traveled down Peril Strait and arrived at Surgius Narrows right at slack.  The arrival at Sitka was nice weather.  But the Inn was full.  All the fishing fleet was still in town waiting for an opener.  We were sent to the “Parking Lot” and anchored.  About an hour later we received a slip assignment.  We will be here 5-7 days as a storm is blowing in.

K-Town Sunset

K-Town No cruise ships.  Looks like a ghost town

Helm Bay at a -3 low tide

Going out to check pots

Just enough water on this side of the dock.


Wrangell Marina

Wrangell Narrows, aka the Christmas Tree


Ice bergs from Le Conte Glacier

Seals give birth on the ice flows

Le Conte Glacier


Portage Bay


Cannery Cove

Whales everywhere

Chatham Strait

Entrance to Red Bluff Bay

Red Bluff Bay

Doing the Wild Thing

Myth is disproved!!  Bears do crap in the woods!!!


Black Bass

Life is good!

Sunset Red Bluff Bay

weird looking critters

New Oregon mooring stick!!

Thursday, May 27, 2021



The Great Canadian Rush.

After leaving Friday Harbor we did a quick run to Reid Harbor on Steward Island for a few days.  We knew it would be the last time our feet would hit dirt for a few weeks.  It was fun and we stopped at the top of the hill to get shirts and other things for the kids at “The Treasure Chest.” I also prepared all our documents for entry into Canada.

Our next stop was Canadian Customs at Van Ise Marina.  The dock is small, only enough room for 2 boats at a time, yet the majority of the American boats heading north stop here for clearance.  We had to wait our turn as we were 3rd inline. When a spot opened, we docked the boat and then waited while the boat ahead of us was getting inspected.  Full COVID protocols were in place. We submitted our float plan, Passports and other documents.  We were asked a series of questions like do you have any firearms, pot, liquor and wine/beer.  Once we declared everything, we were asked to step off the boat.  We were then asked if we had anything else to declare.  Then 2 officers entered our boat and looked in ever cabinet, nook and cranny. When they were done, we were issued a clearance number to be posted on the port side window.  We were told we could NOT go to shore other than to fuel.  If our float plan changed, we were to notify RMCP.  We could stop each night to rest in a bay, but could not go to shore.  We were asked if we understood the rules. They told us we would be watched and not be surprised if RCMP stops us on the way to make sure we were following our float plan.

We then lowered our yellow quarantine flag and posted our Canadian courtesy flag and off we go.  This process took about 45 minutes.  We still had time to make slack at Dodds Narrows and Nanaimo anchorage.  So, the race begins to get through Canada as quickly as we could.  We figured 10 days.  While anchored in Nanaimo, the local police drove around our boat.  I showed them the clearance card the Border Patrol gave us.  They gave us a thumbs up and continued their patrol.

We left Nanaimo early.  This day would see a 93-mile run to Campbell River and the Gowlland Harbor.  We saw a whale in middle of the channel which was exciting.  We had to slow down so we wouldn’t hit it.

The next challenge was Seymore Narrows.  This is a set of water you must time at slack tide.  However, Environment Canada issue a gale warning for Johnstone Strait that night.  So we stayed an extra day due to weather.  The next day we ran the opening and was on our way to Port McNeill for fuel.  We also had picked up some company, other boats that were making their way north.  It looked like I was leading a flotilla!  Just before Alert Bay we saw some dauphins and another whale.  Normally we would stop and watch, but that would be considered “Sightseeing” and that is not allowed, so we pressed on to Port McNeill.  When we entered the bay I called North Island Marina to arrange fuel.  Once fueling was completed, we moved to the bay and anchored.  The nest day is one of the not so fun crossing, Cape Caution.

The Cape Caution run to Pruth Bay is about 109 miles.  Most of the time it is foggy, which means calm seas.  Today the forecast was rain, fog with winds of 10kts and wave (swells) around 3 feet or less.  Once get out to the Pine Island light house we are exposed to open water for about 30 miles or so.  This condition creates “Beam” seas meaning the waves hit you on the side and rolls the boat sideways, both ways.  Nothing dangerous, just a little uncomfortable.  By 3 PM we were anchored safely in Pruth Bay.  Nice and calm and we slept well.  The next few days were the same as the last.  Drive from one point to another point as fast as you can.  For us that is a normal cruise speed of 10mph.  We stopped for the night in Shearwater anchorage.  This was the only place we met resistance from locals.  Some guy got on the radio and stated ‘All you American boats in the bay go home!!  You are poisoning us on shore!”  The Coast Guard was quick to respond and told the guy to stop.

We did stop for the night at our favorite Northern B.C. anchorage Khutze Inlet.  This is the place we would normally spend a few days at.  To us it’s magical. One time the weather was so nice and crabbing so good we stayed for a week!  Not this time.  One night only.

Another favorite stop over is Klunuggett Inlet.  This anchorage is long and narrow.  Completely calm, no matter what the weather is on the outside.  I really enjoyed my scotch and cigar that evening, listening to the birds.

Finally, the last leg in Canada.  Our next stop was going to be Dundas Island, but if the weather was good, then we would make a run (25 miles) across the famous Dixon Entrance to Foggy Bay Alaska! 

As we were making our way past Prince Rupert (We did not stop here), a RCMP stopped us and wanted to see our papers.  They asked who was on board, the expected date and time of exiting out of Canada.  They said “Thank You” and proceeded to check the next boat behind us.  They were busy that day.

When we reached the “Green Island” light house, Dixon Entrance was nice and calm.  I threw the throttles forward and away we went!  When we crossed the border, I called Canadian Border patrol and informed them we were exiting Canada.  Then I called U.S. Border Patrol to declare entry back to the USA.  We spent a quiet nice afternoon in Alaska. 

The trip through Canada was 713 miles and took us 10 days to cross.

We are now in Ketchikan (K-Town) for a week.  K-Town looks like a ghost town with no cruise ships.  Really sad to see.  However, the big ships will start arriving in July, so this will be a busy place once again. 

We are resupplying the boat.  I had some maintenance to do and I have generator parts on order.  Once we receive the parts, we are outta K-Town and the hunt for salmon, shrimp and crab begins!!

You can track us on our SPOT ( and we will make a few posts on Facebook when possible.

I would like to say a SPECIAL thank you to Al and Carol Johnson.  They are the most awesome hosts!!  Love you guys, LOTS

Always love seeing the old woodey

First ride in the fish killer machine


The fish machine Reid Harbor

The trail from hell!!! Stuart Island

A tow outside of Nanaimo 

Nanaimo B.C.

Friday harbor Sunset

Washington State Ferry

Heading up Queen Charlotte Strait

There be whales here

Light House out of Port McNeill

Towing Alaska supplies

See The dolphins?

Money going down the spout!!! Refueling in Port McNeill. 

Interesting boats

Cap't Raven

Alaska State ferry

One of many many waterfalls

Falls at Khutze Inlet

Khutze Inlet. A magical place


RCMP checking our documentation

Green Island Light House next to Dundas Island near the Alaska Canada border

Foggy Bay, Alaska

Entering K-Town