|Alaska.... from the plane on our way to Juneau we can see what we'll later sail|
June 15th, 2010
Kim couldn't sleep and let that be known through the night. she finally fell asleep just before Silvio, our son, crawled into our bed and my alarm went off at 07:15.
We ate something, Kim took a shower and we left the parking lot at 08:35. Julie and Elsie came with us to return the car.
Then checking our bags, stop in Seattle, and on to Juneau where Tim met us at the baggage claim and we got re-united with the blue duffles we stand in line endlessly to check back in San Francisco.
Juneau is incredibly small. It nearly seems smaller than Sausalito. We strolled around downtown, had a hot dog, learned about the cool around the corner cafe and then drove on to Tim's sister Chris' house. Her, their mother Anne and 3 dogs greeted us. Chris is a cop, she runs and drinks diet beer. Anne made corned beef with cabbage and potatoes, sweet corn and iceberg lettuce with canned olives.
She also baked us some cookies for the trip. The two of them were funny, reminding Tim that the last woman who crewed for him on the the way up from Sausalito stole Chris' jacket and had Anne pay for her ticket to continue to Anchorage. They had a loving way of teasing him about it.
Then we went to the glacier. everytime we park, all our bags have to go from the back of the truck onto the front seats of the cab to be able to lock them, then later back into the bed to be able to fit us three into the cab...
Tim is excited, can't decide where to take us first. So, we go to the glacier, it is visible from the short freeway that conects airport to downtown. There is little icebergs floating, water gushing at the bottom, and the old, old compressed ice has a most marvellous blue. it is already after 19:00, so the light is not the greatest to take pictures with my ratty point and shoot cheapo camera. After some beachwalking and bolder hopping at the glacier we decide to go to the boat.
We make our bed in the salon, pack our clothes away, sip some tea. There really is bald eagles and ravens everywhere. The ravens are so much bigger than our crows, and the eagles are huge! They have a funny flat head with fuzzy sides and make the most unlikely sounds. They sing more like a canary with a raptor's voice, i've never heard anything like it. There is four bald eagles right here in the harbor that i can see from the cockpit. cute!
I haven't smoked all day - had a few urges, but i am eating Altoids or laughing about myself when i feel the urge.
Now Tim went back to his sister's and Kim and i are alone on "Lucky Star". Not smoking makes me cranky, so it's not a romantic first night on a boat in Alaska. But we're here! Tomorrow we'll meet Tim for breakfast and scheme our voyage through the inside passage.
Wed June 16
We woke up really early, when we finally looked at the time it was 05:30, so we just covered our eyes and tried to doze longer until 08:30, when we texted Tim that we were getting up. He was - of course - already in the parking lot...
Tim know a woman who works for NOAA and arranged a tour and private forecast for us. It was cool to see all the different computer screens and what they see and how they do it. The guy who led the tour was an ex-pilot and surfer and liked to talk, and hear himself talk, thus the tour was also very entertaining.
|The NOAA computers|
We got our private forecast and it said that the prevailing NW winds for this season have set in, and tha weather will be good until Saturday evening or Sunday. Since we can't really start the voyage on a Friday, we'll start it tomorrow and go from Auke Bay to Juneau proper in the afternoon. Kim got called back to work at the Pair-a-Dice tattoo shop downtown tomorrow - how cool is that!?
After NOAA we went and had cheeseburgers for breakfast. i accidentily poured rasberry lemonade in my coffee - don't try that at home, it tastes disgusting.
There was a cool jungle plant in that cafe, hanging on with all it's might in such a dark cold place as this stripmall between Juneau and Auk Bay. We asked and got to take a clipping, a bit of live green as crew mate.
Out of the cafe, we see a man outside Tim's truck dialing a cell phone. and the two men meet, tale and after a short handshake the deal is made:dude will buy TIm's old pick-up truck. THey arrange to rendezvous later for the transaction and we're on to finish our chores before leaving on the trip.
Second we went to Auto and Marine Hardware, a huge two story fishing, hunting, camping store including a chandlery. Kim got a pelican case for her tattoo machines, Tim got some bolts, i got oil foulies and KIm and i both got a pair of XtraTuffs, Alaskan hard core rubber boots.
Third to Fred Mayer, a big supermarket that's half Safeway/half Target -ish. We got a bunch of supplies and provisions and memorized other items' prices to compare.
Then back to the boat, unpacking, packing away (a.k.a. stowing). Tim went off to sell his truck, We stowed some more, hung out and had some private time. then much later Tim came back with his sister's car and we were invited to go to their house again to eat crab - so we did! After dinner we drove back to downtown and beyond to go for a hike on the Preserverence Trail behind Juneau, beyond Gold Rd, up up for 3 miles to the old site of the mine.
It was gorgeous and fabulous. We saw beautiful plants and wildflowers seemingly competing for the short summer. Wonderful smells, cute shapes, gigantic leaves to harvest the rays of the sun and make that sugar to produce that smell!
|Preserverence trail (look closely at the NO SHOOTING sign)|
One bush looked like elderberry but the flowers/berries are arranged in a cone instead of a spread out disk.
Another reminded of blackberries or rasberries but was neither nor - the flowers were just gone, so the berry itself not ripe yet, just green, so impossible to say what color.
We also saw some bear poo. It was older though and already had the track of a human athlet's shoe in it, so we weren't really worried.
Back at the car we looked at Kim's cell and it was already 21:10, just as light as it was when we started.
Off to Safeway, some more provisioning, icecream for tonight. Tim went back to his family and Kim and i stsyed on the boat. made some tea, it finally was really dark around 23:50 - just like the summers at home, when i was little...
Thurs June 17, 2010
Auke Bay to Young Bay
We got up a bit earlier because Kim had to be in downtown Juneau for work. :-)
We dropped her off, went to get the rest of the charts and a current table, then got the rest of the provisioning, back to the boat, then to TIm's sister to shower and do laundry. There we vegged for awhile and then picked up Kim at a bit after 16:00, had russian dumplings, went back to the boat and changed into hiking clothes. Tim dropped us off at the trailhead and we had 1-3/4hr to hike through a magical arctic forest near the Mendenhall Glacier, so beautiful.
Then back to Chris', shower for Kim, back to the boat, and off we went. Unfortunately right into the wind, so motoring the whole way, a bit over two hours to Young Bay on Admiralty Island where we anchored in 82ft of water at low tide. Kim made a yummy dinner with potatoes and carrots topped with tasty bites indian fare. Then, just after midnight - I was in the midst of brushing my teeth - Tim came into the salon from the forepeak with a candle topped carrot cake - oops, one day too early...
It tasted really good anyways. I slept really well and warm too, Hmmm the first night at anchor, the first real night of our trip... happiness!
Fri June 18th 2010
Young Bay - Juneau - Taku Inlet
Tim got up the earliest, did the dishes and served us coffee in bed - yeah!
It felt great to wake up on the hook. I made us breakfast of scrambled eggs with rest of potatoes and carrots and onion and salami bits and open face grilled cheese toast. Then we slowly got the sails ready, pulled the anchor up, hoisted the sails and killed the engine.
We were going dead down wind with the jib poled out to port and as we learned, the wind followed the channel around the bend, so we didn't have to adjust sails until we came closer to Douglas Island where the catspaws on the water indicated the wind coming down the mountains onto our beam. So, pole off, sails sheeted in and on we sailed, only we got slower and slower which probably also had to do with the tides nearing high water because our initial 4.7kts ended up being 2.2kts with not tat much difference in speed through the water.
These really long days lend themselves to a big program, today again we have quiet some plans. Arriving in Juneau we went to get diesel first, then parked in the marina Tim used to live. Kim and I took off to do our thing, Post office, stamps, Salvation Army (nothing but a little hoody for the whole family)... THen the state museum. The lady at the counter urged us to visit the store first since it often closes early, so we did, i got a patch and some postcards.
Then the exhibit, artifacts, totem poles, old photographs, the Tliglit (Klinkit)/ Haida (Hyda) art is amazing, creepy at times, but very cool.
|Kim's special frog|
The other native groups, esp. the Aleutians are so great crafts people. the tiniest knots and stitches, baskets woven of baleen where there is no grass... very cool
Then downtown, that was a bit disappointing, we found some better postcards, but no T-shirts for Si or anything cool... Kim found two books at the Observatory Bookstore and as she was complaining about the price we found that they were both signed by the respective authors... We had a beer at the Alaska Hotel Bar - they didn't have food yet, then we tried the russian dumpling place, they were closed, so, on we went, home to the "Lucky Star".
I got really tired and my back hurt like crazy... Kim cooked us dinner, nice green salad with avocado, wild rice mix and broccoli/kielbasa stir fry - Yum!I still was too out of it to function and just layed down. Kim just put the blanket over me. I was miserable. The two of them brought us to Taku Inlet where we tied up at a dock and went to sleep. Snuggling into Kim and the blanket i heard Tim's voice from the forepeak: "It's midnight, Happy Birthday, Inka!" Yup!
Sat June 19, 2010
Taku Inlet - Endicot Arm
Kim woke me up in the middle of sleep because we have a mouse on board. This is the first night we hear her - and see her as she flees into the bilge. The leftover kielbasa is ruined because we definitely saw her walk over it and eat from it. The rest i think I managed to rescue and pack away in time.
In the real morning Tim made us coffee in bed again. Then Kim and I went for a walk ashore. There re ruins of an old cannery with sheets of rusty metal looking just like slate, trees growing out of pilings and human artifacts too young to collect.
|What's left of the cannery|
Towards the other side other path leads to a cabin where people were having breakfast, so we didn't go very far that way and turned around.
The arctic rainforest is amazing, the huge leafs of the devils claw draw horizontal lines all the way up the hill while the trunks of the conifers draw the verticals.
Then i made müsli with yogurt for everyone and the neighbor on the dock spotted a bear. Pretty far away beyond the cannery ruins was a mama grizzly with two little cubs, grazing while the kids were playing - cue through the binoculars...
We then took off towards Endicot Arm. tim talked to somebody on the dock who underlined my friend Ronn's suggestion to go into Endicot instead of Tracy Arm. So i think that's what we'll do!
|sometimes hard to believe we are at sea level...|
On the way we saw a humpback whale. finally a marine mammal other than a harbor seal! It travelled in opposite direction from us and came up really close to "Lucky Star" to breathe and then take a deep dive. We observed the "natures's barcode" mirage along the far shore. THere is no wind at all, we are motoring at 5 to 7kts - depending on current.
Just inside the very beginning of Endicot Arm i saw another humpback and it was flopping its flippers. Suddenly a whole pod of orcas were around it. This is underwater world, we just saw them come up to get air, to splash down as a sneak attack - i'm sure. There were at least five orcas swimming in formation and the humpback came up for air in all kinds of directions.. i am kinda glad we didn't get to see what was happening under water. The orcas had a small one with them, it was as if they were teaching it different techniques of attack.
The motoring into Endicot Arm took a long time, past puffin colonies and icebergs, most of them smaller than us - few of them bigger. Most amazing turquoise colors. The clear ones are big and dense like floating rocks. About four miles from the actual glacier - just one more bend away - we motored into an inlet with steep sides and a gravelly beach at the end. It is gorgeous with two waterfalls coming down quiet noisily. The water has a kinda milky consistency/appearance. it reminds me of the limey waters in St George's harbor, Bermuda. It must be residue or siltcoming down with the melt. The tourguide doesn't describe this as an anchorage and we are wondering why...
Anyways, here we are at anchor, with a nap and yummy pesto penne with salad. it's around 22:30 and the sunrays have left even the tall peaks around us. We're reading. Tim is doing the dishes -- again. What a great day! It's my birthday after all, even though with the early cake and long long days it already feels like 3 das into it.
|Endicott Arm bergie bits|
Tim saw more bears on the beach as we were napping, now it's too many biting insects outside to go check.
I just found on my map that there used to be a glacier here in this inlet as well, that's why it hasn't been advertised as an anchorage in that guide book that is several years old. there wouldn't have been any room to anchor with a calving glacier a 100 yrds away. Global warming?
Sun June 20th, 2010 Endicot Arm - Thomas Bay
We left the anchorage around 09:30 and wiggled out way through the icebergs back down Endicott Arm, stuck our nose into Ford's Terror, but decided to keep going and not waste any time waiting for slack to pass the rapids.
|Endicott Arm, horsey bits|
It was just as beautiful as the day before, don't remember how many icebergs and so called "bergie bits" i photographed... back in Stephen's passage we had the wind on the nose again, one of those phenomena the NOAA guy had explained to us. The wind will follow the channel from the lowest to the highest pressure, no matter how it would behave on the open sea. That's why in a channel you can round a point and still have the wind on the nose_ exactly what happened to us today.
For some reason i hven't really experienced the opposite, going downwind around bends and corners. usually i am beating up a channel, in Alaska or the Sacamento river Delta...
After a while i decide to go and take a nap, since this would be another long day. I didn't really get deep sleep in, with the engine running, but some nappies...
Then i heard them raise the sails and the engine got turned off -- the ideal time to go to sleep! Unfortunately Kim got seasick, so i switched with her - she out in the bunk and i'm out in the cockpit -- sailing finally!
It was a gorgeous deep broad reach until, all of a sudden the wind stopped... the waves kept going... very awkward... so we ended up motoring the rest.
But backing up: before i went below, TIm was on break for awhile. We spotted some humpbacks jumping out of the water and splashing their flippers on the surface. I saw in a documentary that that is a form of communication, but it didn't say what it means. Those flippers are long!
O.K. back to motoring. The decision was made to anchor in Thomas Bay on the east side of Stephen's passage across from Petersburg.So we motored on. Kim was below, she felt better for a second once it was calmer but decided it would be best to stay below, laying down, resting and sleeping. so TIm and i did the rest. We found our way into the tricky entrance and then all the way to the back corner of the bay to anchor. Finally there and done at 00:30. Another long day.
We had snacks several times, sandwiches for lunch and ramen soup for dinner it was too choppy to properly cook since the gimbal on the stove is not set up. Kim didn't want anything but chicken broth anyways. It was fun finding our way by the tail end of sunlight and a bit by the moon -- they both were gone when the hook went down and went on to sleep in.
Monday, June 21st 2010 Wrangel Narrows
Sleeping in meant that nobody moved until well after 09:00. Kim made zucchini pancakes and we reviewed the tides, currents and Wrangell Narrows approach. After taking our time doing that and discussing when we should leave, we realized that we have to leave right now to get to the narrows part at slack. Kim got to steer us all the way out the bay and then across to the narrows entrance at Petersburg.
|navigating Wrangell Narrows|
There it started raining and for a moment there was very poor visibility and we got a bit nervous. At the end we went through there in a breeze, it is very well marked, we must have done it right because we didn't encounter any superstrong currents. Just a bunch of sortfishing idiots hogging the middle of the channell -- but most of them actually got out of the way in time. There wasn't much traffic at all. none really going in our direction, and the few boats going the other way all followed the same directions so we met and passed each other in the middle. I made kale with smoked ham and caramelized fried potatoes for lunch. We dropped anchor in St. John's Harbor, right across Sumner Straight when you com e out of the south end of the Narrows. There's one crab boat anchored already and a bunch of pots in the water, further out were three gillnetters still fishing. Crossing the straight we didn't see the orcas the guidebook was talking about, but we had homemade popcorn!
|Alsaka fishery postcard|
And after setting nchor at around 19:00 Kim made fresh chocolate chip cookies. Now we're vegging, writing, reading, etc. I am sleepy, spent most of the day outside... and tomorrow is going to be a long day if we do it as planned...
Tues, June 22nd 2010
St. John's Harbor - Ratz Harbor
We slipped out of the anchorage in St. John's Harbor at around 07:00 and turned left to go around Zorenbo Island on its west side. we were making good way, dodging gillnetters here and there. It was raining a little so all three of us were in our Alaskan fishing gear with oil skins ans Xtratuff boots.Through Snow passage into Clarance Straight. Not so good visibility, and rain, but still piece of cake. Still motoring against the wind though, always from the south, always on the nose... I should say the wind was always from the south unless we were going East in which case it would come from the east, of course. Since all seemed tedious yet under control, i opted to take a nap around 11:00 to be awake and fit by the time Tim's pooping out.
Kim came down around 12:00 to warm up and snuggle down next to me, the seas had gotten rougher and when i went to pee i took a stugeron pill just in case. Shortly after i layed back down, Kim jumped up and puked again.
I checked in twith TIm and hunkered down for another hour. When i went up to relieve Tim, the seas were up to 4 or 5 ft at times and the wind was up to 30kts, seeming more since we were motoring at 6kts into it.
We decided to find a safe harbor as soon as possible and there was Ratz Harbor only a few miles away. Basically right there at the right time. We turned into the little bay about 45 minutes after i started my watch and dropped anchor again at around 15:00. We can see the white caps outside in the straights - here it is calm with an occasional interruption by willywaws that whistle through the rigging and make the boat twirl at her anchor.
Very reminiscent of the Patagonia anchorages. Tim cooked a delicious one-pot with kielbasa, pineapple, apple, carrots and spinach - and tortillas. And we had block ice cooled watermelon as desert and appetizer for that matter.
This weather cut our trip for the day in half but we're not complaining - we should have/could have checked the weather and not just leave, but we were fooled by the nice sinshine forgetting about the cirrus, quiet beautiful and clearly visible in all of our iceberg and glacier photos...
Wed, June 23rd 2010
Ratz Harbor - Kasaan
The weather is still icky, Kim is trying out the stugeron motion sicknes pill and we're off to motor to Kasaan village on the south side of Kasaan Pensinsula of Prince of Wales Island. The wind has subsided quiet a bit but some waves are still up and we're still going into it.
Kim is already not well, getting sleepy and not very responsive she's just sitting there with her sunglasses on, starring (or not) into the far. I am getting very irritated with her nonresponsiveness and that i can't tell if she's looking at me or heard what i said or is alseep or what. Finally -- and that comes as a relief to my emotional rollercoaster, not necessarily her's -- she announces that she's feeling totaly drowsy and drugged from those pills and that she needs to go and lay down. So she does and sleeps the whole day.
Tim and i take turns at the helm since the autopilot doesn't work in this chop.We finally dock in Kasaan, a tiny village in a tiny bay that is merely an indent in the coast. Not very protected, but we're on the dock. Then we go for a walk to the old abandoned Haida Longhouse.all the way through the village with maybe 15 or so houses. there is a dirt road and a footpath/boardwalk, the houses are between those two lines that go parallel to the beach.Some of the houses are being built still, some are already abandoned, some people collect stuff in their yard others have gardens and vegetables. We see one small blond child who is very surprised to see us and returns our wave hello.
After the last house is a log with a step cut into it across the path, step through it and you are i fairy wonderland. This is all second growth cedar forest, the first growth having been logged a long time ago. In some huge stumps you can see the holes cut for the sawers' steps and in some you can see the adzed wedge shaped cut.
ig stumps are rotting with new trees, already 60 or more feet high coppicing out of their sides. Moss and ferns and everywhere where the light can come through at edges wildflowers and salmonberries, green and enchantedly quiet the rest.
Then we come to the area, there are several totem poles, some old, some not so old. and a huge long house. Some of the older totems and the house entrance are roped off, but we go inside anyways. The craftsmanship is amazing. all the wall planks and anything wood is hand hewn and you can see all the marks. The walls are about 4" thick with tendons at top and bottom stuck in huge cross beams. the main baems that hold the roof are probably 3ft in diameter. This is a much more sheltered bay against the southerlies of winter when people would have lived here. They must have abandoned it for more depth in the next bay over to make money with logging.
|Kasaan long house|
Kim and i have a chance to just hang on the beach by some driftwood and i realize that she is homesick for her boy. of course, she's a mother! I still can't help myself having feeling of sadness, of "this is the end of our dream to go cruising together...." It was sad and frustrating and left us both feeling unreloved and unsupported... Back on the boat i whipped out some pasta, bland for Kim and yummy tomato veggie, basil sauce for Tim and myself, and we watched "Captn Ron" on the computer. That let the day end on a better note.
Thurs. June 24th 2010 Kasaan - Ketchikan
Motored - yes - from Kasaan to Ketchinkan. The wind has laid down a lot, so have the waves. Kim was o.k. without pills and without crawling back into bed. Still not happy though. We saw Porpoises for a second and nothing exciting for the rest of the five hour trip. Kelp, motorboats, drizzle, fog.
Then Ketchikan: four huge cruiseships, big ferry coming in, floatplanes buzzing left and right, several little harbors on each side.
|all kinds of water vehicles meet in Tongass Narrows|
We get fuel, find a spot in a marina and go take showers. One token is $5 equals 10minutes, so we buy 4 tokens for Kim and i both. The water wouldn't get warm so we had to call the attendandt, and it still wouldn't get warm so we had to call him again, then he had to get the maintenance guy - finally an hour later the water was hot, we got our $20 back and took a nie hot shower _ yay. Kim's mood got better by the second and mine subsequntly as well.
Then we went for a stroll through town and for bacon cheese borgers. Souvenir shopping and a talk with Tim.
Kim decides to stick it out. YES! The plan is to leave as early as the laundry facility allows. it opens at 07:00 and we do need to wash before we take off. Next stop Canada!
Fri June 25th 2010 Ketchikan - Prince Rupert
Woke up around 6am to Tim making coffee... We dilly-dally around to kill the hour until the laundry opens and TIm and Kim take off - just to be right back, the open early at 7am sign had been taken off. We decide not to wait until 9am and just leave. Tim calls the harbor master and pays over the phone and off the dock we are, heading south once again. Trough Tongass Narrows towards Canada.
|Canadian lighthouses look like fairy tale castles|
We were nervous for one or another reason about Dixon entry. A list of "just-in-case" anchorages was prepared, all the charts put in a row, and then we had a head wind of about 2 kts. Still no way to sail, but at least no banging against the waves. Kim didn't get seasick and we decided to motor all the way through to Prince Rupert. The entry ther was a little tricky at least Tim thought it was. Kim stamped me off a a control freak again and claims that a lot of his nervousness is my demeanor... I don't know. She thinks i should chill more, i think continuously how to improve things, thinking ahead, being prepared... is that so bad?
Anywho I am forgiven. We couldn't find a place to tie up, it was really hard to see anything in the dark and we didn't have a proper chart to find the marina we needed for customs etc. Instead we anchored across the inlet for the night.
Sat. June 26th 2010, Prince Rupert
Woke up un Canada. After the usual morning ritual of coffee in bed and then breakfast together, we motored across the inlet back to the Yacht Club and found a spot on the transient dock. Tim checked us in by phone and then Kim and i went for a walk... right to the Salvation Army Store where we found a bunch of good stuff. Then to the museum, very well done, the building and the displays. More beautiful bent wood boxes.
We went back to the boat for a sandwich and then back out through the rain to the other end of town to the laundromat.
Prince Rupert is pretty depressing and boring...
After the laundromat where the TV was blasting and dude wouldn't shut up, Kim and I went to the 7-11 that doubles as a a post office and mailed some stuff to Silvio - then to Safeway for some tuna and pickles. Home and to bed.
Sun. June 27th 2010, Prince Rupert - Bishop Bay
Got up really early (5am), were at the fuel dock at 6am and out of Prince Poopy-Butt as Kim called it. Another long day of motoring, I took her out of the harbor and went below when Tim took over. Then i just went to sleep around noon until 5pm when Kim woke me up so i wouldn't be awake all night. So then i steered again and gave Tim a break. I saw lots of whales but all pretty far away and then when we were in the Ursula Channel and also the beginning of Bishop Bay there were tons of Orcas -they are cool, especially the males with that surreal extra long dorsal fin. They were going for salmon, and one could feel the force of the hunters. We were wishing them to come closer so we could have a better look and at the same time were happy that they were at a healthy distance.
At the end of Bishop Bay is a tiny dock, we anchored, launched Kayak and dinghy and went over to the hotsprings. Coming up on the dock is a small boardwalk going either way, to the right it ends by the "beach" in three camping platforms. To the left it goes to the hotspring, 3 basins, one is just for feet, or for dogs, it's so small, one outside and one under a roof with two walls with a little dressing room attached. There was a family in there so we had to wear clothes. It was very nice to warm up and the people were pleasant enough to converse with. Then Tim and the dude started talking and it wasn't pleasant anymore, first of all i'd heard it all already, and second of all in that combo and context he sounded just like a fucking republican, and it just wasn't funny anymore. So Kim and i decided to leave, but Tim then wanted to leave too.
|hot spring house|
Back on the boat we had a nice bowl of soup and went to sleep.
Mon June 28th 2010, Bishop Bay - Klemtu
Woke up late: 9am! After coffee and deciding to go to Klemptu next, Tim went off in the kayak, Kim and i had a lovely breakfast and then rowed ashore as well. Tim went back to the boat so we had the hot tub to ourselves, naked in nature - yeah!
|Bishop Hot Springs anchorage|
Then we went for a stroll to the camping area and did some beach combing.
I found some gold in a stream, but it was probably only fools gold. It'd be fun to go prospecting some time, though...
We got a late start at around 1pm towards Klemptu.
There is nothing much to report about the passage. At one point we saw some humpbacks from afar - and then for about 5 minutes we had a little porpoise swimming with us, dancing at our bow, trying to nearly get hit, them zooming aft and like a flash forward again, going easily more than twice as fast as us - and we were doing 8 kts.
|this vacation would be gorgeous to take in summer... wait a minute, it *is* summer!|
We docked in Klemptu late, next to a huge motoryacht and another Sailboat our size. Tim started shooting the shit with the dudes off the sailboat and Kim and i just went below and got warm. For lunch i had warmed the crew up with Reuben sandwiches, now for dinner i used the rest of the corned beef and made hash w/sauerkraut salad and steamed asparangus. Off to sleep.
Tues June 29th 2010, Klemptu
Got up around 8 and Tim offered to buy us breakfast at the local café. We walked up but it didn't open until 10am which then turned into 10:15 but we did get our breakfast. Klemptu is a native village with some few white people living here (teachers etc) A bunch of old guys in the café mostly just drinking coffee and shooting shit.
Kim advertised her tattooing to the younger waiter, he's impressed and suggests advertising on channel6, the local VHF communication line.
The village is dry and on the pin board in the store are many pamphlets about good nutrition. It seems like a lot of the people here are on the chubby side. One older guy cracks jokes as we were waiting for the café to open, his name is Moose or Murray. he's got a native cap on and a sweatshirt with the Spirit Bear (a white variety of the black bear that appears on this island)
"how many seconds in a year?" - " errrrr..." " Easy: 12. January 2nd, February 2nd..."
He suggests for us to call Shane on the radio to get a tour of the longhouse. After a good american (or canadian?) breakfast of 2 eggs, ham and homefries with toast, we go back to the boat to radio Shane who actually answers but says he's not doing it, to go to the band office and ask there.
So we stroll around the bay to the other side of the village to the band office. The guy who has the key is going to lunch, but in an hour he says, he's going to let us in.
We go for a walk. there are lots of new buildings, fairly modern architecture, too, a school, a preschool, a health center, and yes, a modern longhouse.
Walking by a wood shop some guy we saw in the café is asking us if we got to go to see the "big house". we told him we we were still waiting and he invited us in. There were several old guys from the café including Moose and two white guy carpenters. It's the school wood shop that gets used by other people too.
|a carver and his tools|
The main guy talking now is Dick Joseph, one of the carvers of the long house. He's from Campbell River. I enjoyed being in the wood shop and taking in the smell of cedar. Tim's trying to strike a conversation but doesn't succeed. Kim gets to break the ice by talking about her art too and we listen in on the conversation between her and Dick. He mentions another carver named Junior who apparently is very good.
Granted he's friendly and volunteering information, he's only talking about himself. When he tells us about carving the dugout canoe and how none of them knew and they had to ask an anthropologist, Kim tried to tell him three times that i am a boatbuilder but it went straight over their heads. Kim talked the other guy Ray into letting her purchase a box. It had been started by children in a workshop and just needed a bit more work. We agreed to pick it up after the long house visit.
Back to the band office, just a little wait, Brian with the key came back, Moose showed up as well and volunteered to let us in.
He gave us the full guided tour, including a little museum with a bunch of gifts from all over for the opening of the longhouse. We got to take photos and listen to some more explanations of blankets, drum logs, masks, and to hold the current chief's ceremonial stick.
|the new Klemtu big house|
It seems these people have their shit together - at least they banned the enemies like alcohol, and secured money to preserve their culture as well as take care of their peoples education and health. They have another source of income, too, the fairly new fish packing plant.
We went and got the completed box for $25 (all we had on us) We came back to the boat with the plan to leave, it was already 4pm so we just decided to stay another night, everybody was tired.
Wed June 30th 2010 Klemptu - Kwakume Inlet
Tim got up early, started the engine and left the dock at maybe 7:30 or 8am
I got up at 9 to hang out. It's really kinda boring, just motoring with the stupid autopilot, so all we do is eat. Kim naps a lot too, i nap more than at home (where i never nap).
i really want to get some sailing in. We stopped in BellaBella for fuel. We collected some not so old artifacts on the beach and saw two young bald eagles play on the beach - they are huge!
Under a roof were two wooden dugouts and several more logs for more under tarps, we took some pictures.
Kim rocks, i love her so much, we've been smiling and flirting with each other like crazy - even though we don't necessarily have privacy, i love having her to myself.
Down Fitzgerald Sound we actually got to sail, it was gorgeous, there were humpbacks all around us and we could hear them breathe, so loud, the weirdest sound, like somebody pushing furniture in the apartment upstairs... As it got dark we tucked into a little inlet across from Hecate Island called Kwakume Inlet. It was gorgeous to sit and watch the sunset beyond the sound. Us separated from it by a little wooded island that was like a lid in the middle of the entrance. In the sound itself were the same whales, and because they were upwind from us, we could still hear them breathe, only now with a delay after the visual, like fireworks... inside the bay we heard eagles cackle, some seals were swimming around... gorgeous!!!
Thurs July 1st, 2010 Kwakume Inlet - Alert Bay
We got up early and motored out of there, the whales were gone. Just a few miles south was Queen Charlotte Sound, the open ocean. It was even more benign than Dixon Entrance, no wind or waves at times, gorgeous and beautiful. We motored the whole time, i slept for a little bit.we got to Alert Bay around 8:30pm tied up in a semi delapidated fishing harbor, ate, did a little stroll around and went back to the boat and to sleep.
Fri July 2nd 2010 Alert Bay - Port Neville
|the plant is gone but culture is big in Alert Bay|
Spent most of the day in Alert Bay, walked around, talking to people, going for a nature hire through a bog on top of the forest. We also bought some used books in the library, mailed a letter to Silvio, got some money from the bank, ate cheeseburgers, talked to the wife of a chief about "wild Woman" and other myths, had coffee in a café and talked to some guys about residential schools and tattoos, and how cool it would be if Kim could tattoo here because a lot of the women would prefer to get tattooed by a woman.
A very full and cool day. Kim snug a hot shower at the campground and we went to the exhibit at the cultural center - very cool and moving.
|like a monument of a gruesome past, the biggest building on the island, ruins of the residential school|
We left Alert Bay late and first motored, then sailed, then motored again to Port Neville. There the dock was full and it was dark, so we just anchored. Kim puked again when we were sailing downwind... too much rolling - right after dinner, too - what a bummer!
|the little tug that could!|
Sat July 3rd 2010 Port Neville - Quadra Island
Tim motored the boat over to the dock in the early morning while we were still asleep, so we got to go ashore and have a look around. There was an old store/post office/home building that's now like a museum (you gotta look through the windows) and some rusty logging equipment on rotting sleds and floats.
|Port Neville - unfortunately, the store closed...|
Then we checked the tides and off we went, motoring towards Seymour Narrows. As we got closer we saw that boats were going through even though it wasn't supposed to be slack yet, and we checked the book again. It turned out that we forgot to consider daylight savings time and it was actually only 1/2hr from slack, so we went for it. The narrows itself is pretty short and just as we were through and wondering what the whole big deal is, we got into some pretty intense whirlpools in the bigger basin just south of the isthmus. They swung us this way and that, and all that at slack. it is easy to imaging what a fast, strong tidal current would add to these turbulences.
|another way of "yachting" the inside passage|
Then there was Campbell river, an actual town with industry around it, what happened to the wilderness!? We took a slip across from CR on Quadra island, it feels like a yuppy vacation place.
|beside the Quadra Island harbour|
the next day we take the ferry over to Campbell River, go to the museum and walk around a bit, go back to the island, have dinner there, the next day we leave without much ado to Gibson's Landing, just north of Vancouver, go to the library and buy our plane ticked home. taking a cab to the ferry, go on the airport bus on the ferry, fly home, done...
|Good bye Gambier Island|