CHICHAGOF ISLAND

Many times when crossing the North Pacific by ship I have looked at the chart and wondered about Chichagof Island.  In my mind the name has a mystery and provokes thoughts of early Russian explores and traders.  Well, I am here now, although I have yet to set foot on its wet soggy ground.  All I have seen so far is mist, low cloud, a few thousand tress and lots of rain.

This morning I set out in the hope of a good sail up the coast, there was a small craft advisory issued with South Easterly winds, 25 knots.  The first hour was fine sailing and we had all sail set making good time.  Then the wind died and a lumpy sea from the quarter and swell from the beam made life unbearable, we had to motor as there was not enough wind to fill the sails.  Neither Truce or I like the sea from the stern quarter, she squirms and rolls and I hang on swearing at anything and everything.  Then it started raining in a fashion that inspired Noah to take up shipbuilding.

After a couple of hours in the blender we made smooth passage and chugged up, wet and bedraggled, to the anchorage for the night.  This is typical Alaska, two or three glorious days followed by a couple of shockers.  No sun again today.  It’s funny how the mind works, after a short time you forget the horrid days and just remember the good ones.

The whales made an appearance again today, one was breaching, coming out of the water vertically and then arching over onto its back.  It gave me quite a fright at first as I saw the splash ahead and thought we were running into breakers, we were running in-between breakers and rocks at the time.

Once at anchor I dried off and warmed up with a brew.  Then got to making some bread, a couple of hours later the cabin was warm and full of the smell of fresh bread, lovely.  I am anchored in Kimshan Cove on Chichagof island.  There are the remains of a jetty and some buildings on the shore, part of an abandoned gold mining venture on Dooth Mountain close by.  No sign of humans ashore now, just some deer feeding on the grass between the trees and water’s edge.

Tomorrow I will make an effort to get to White Sulphur Hot Springs.  A fisherman told me about them, supposed to be fantastic with a newly build cabin and hot pool.  The only access is by boat.  Entry into the anchorage is tricky and requires local knowledge but my fisherman friend says it’s not too bad and most of the rocks are visible.  Of course it’s the visible rocks that you don’t normally bump into!  I will plan my entry for low water.  Total voyage distance 1,284.7 miles.

Logged 26th June 2016

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