FIRST SUMMER FOG

We departed Winter Harbour this morning in thick fog, visibility less than one cable.  With the radar and Navionics chart backed up with echo sounder, magnetic compass and eyeball it was slow going picking through the islands towards Tonowek Narrows.  As the Sea Otters appeared from the fog they had to be checked as not being logs in disguise.  It was quite amusing watching their old men whiskery faces with enquiring looks as they floated past.  As soon as they saw a human they disappeared in an instant underwater.

Downtown Craig, Alaska.Photo Ray Penson
Downtown Craig, Alaska.Photo Ray Penson

Just before entering the Tonewek Narrows Narrows the fog lifted with the rising sun.  The water was glassy calm all morning.  In the narrows there is an Indian burial site guarded by a large wooden carving of a man standing at the edge of the trees.  Quite eerie, a giant wooden gingerbread man peering out of the woods.

Later on in the day we were slowly catching a group of whales, perhaps the same group as I saw yesterday.  They were about a mile ahead and travelling in the same direction.  Its hard to count whales as they don’t all appear at the same time but it looked like five in the group.  One had a large blow and one quite small, perhaps a mother and calf.  After about an hour they turned around and started coming back towards the boat but spread out.  I noticed they were taking three or four breaths on the surface and then diving down for a long period of around 3 minutes.  As they dive down it’s a tremendous sight to see the tail come out of the water and disappear as if driving the whale down.  There is a great power and weight in that tail.

Eagles on the dock in Craig. Ray Penson
Eagles on the dock in Craig. Ray Penson

Tonight I have taken a berth in Craig.  I need to do a food restock and get some fresh produce plus do the laundry before heading out again.  I am at a crossroads tonight.  I don’t know if I should continue south and complete the circumnavigation of Prince of Wales Island or start heading north again.  The forecast is for Southerly winds, maybe the north option is best.  But the previous forecast southerly winds have not been strong enough for sailing.  The trip across Sumner Strait from Craig is about 60 miles and that requires a good steady consistent wind.  I will sleep on it.  I still have some shopping to compete in the morning anyway.  Total voyage distance 950.3 miles.

Logged 10th June 2016

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