BEACHCOMBING BEARS, WHALES AND ICEBERGS

A couple of American sailing boats came alongside the float last night, a good reason for a get together and sundowners.  Sunset didn’t occur until 21:37 last night.

Large Ice Duck protecting Tracy Arm Anchorage. Photo Ray Penson
Large Ice Duck protecting Tracy Arm Anchorage. Photo Ray Penson

This morning I saw my first Black Bear.  He came out of the woods and wandered along the foreshore doing a bit of beachcombing, occasionally digging in the sand and gravel at the water’s edge.  For some reason he took interest in an old fallen tree covered in black lichen, gnawing away at it, eventually he broke off a branch and took it back into the forest.  Quite a special experience to see a bear in the wild.  Now that I have seen one bear I expect to see many more.

Fog Clears to Reveal Port Hand Buoy. Photo Ray Penson
Fog Clears to Reveal Port Hand Buoy. Photo Ray Penson

It was an afternoon start today to ride the ebb tide down Stephens Passage.  It was a soul destroying trip as the wind was on the nose and throwing up tiny little waves that acted like a brake.  The boat was hopping up and down, like driving over a constant series of speed bumps in the road.  The average speed was only 3.5 knots and at times we were down to 1.5 knots.  The hull is very dirty now with a lot of weed and animals living underneath the boat.  At the first opportunity I will haul out and do an antifoul.  Once the hull is clean again I expect to go much faster.

I had my closest encounter yet with a whale this afternoon.  He was so close alongside I could have hopped over the rail onto his back.  He just came up close alongside, thankfully he didn’t blow or I would have been covered in whale snot.  That is the closest I want to get.   I didn’t get a chance to take a photo.

I was surprised to see large icebergs in Stephens passage, as we approached the entrance to Tracy Arm there were dozens of bergs flowing out on the tide.  A fog bank covered the approach to Tracy Arm, thick fog, a pea souper as we say at sea.  The large icebergs were showing up on radar OK, the smaller SUV sized ones didn’t show as they were so low in the water.  The navigation became interesting entering the harbour, there is a range to pass through the reef but I couldn’t see it.  The fog cleared on my port side for a minute and I picked out the port hand buoy next to a large iceberg.  I didn’t see the starboard buoy only 200 meters away but I did see some very large bergs close by.

As I approached the anchorage the fog lifted to reveal the sea littered with icebergs.  I didn’t realise it would be so congested with ice, its another twenty miles from the anchorage to the glacier face.

The entrance to the anchorage is guarded by a large duck shaped berg and there are a few smaller ice floes floating around the anchorage.  There are five other boats in the anchorage, an indication of how few anchorages there are on this section of the inside passage.  There is only one other sailing boat, the others are large motor yachts.

It’s been a long day of going slowly and I am feeling pretty knackered after nearly seven hours of engine running.  No socialising tonight and a good sleep is called for.  Total voyage distance 98.7 miles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s