WAITING ON WEATHER

I am still anchored in Portage Bay off Frederick Sound.  The weather last night was horrid with wind gusts and driving rain.  The same has continued all day today.  Another yacht came in after me yesterday, he is going south as well and can’t make progress either.  No one in a small low powered boat is able to move south at the moment.

Portage Bay Anchorage. Photo Ray Penson
Portage Bay Anchorage. Photo Ray Penson

This afternoon I dragged anchor for a few meters.  It caught again but I was getting too close to some crab pots so decided to pick up the anchor and move.  The west side of the bay looked slightly better so I moved over there, it’s the same thing really but I got to run the engine and charge the batteries.  I was also incredibly bored and needed to do something.

I am getting insignificant charge from the solar panel at the moment, I haven’t seen the sun since last Monday, five days ago.  Usually the solar panel can keep up with my requirements for charging my electronic devices and lights.

With all this rain falling I decided to harvest some to top up my fresh water tanks.  I don’t really

Harvesting Rainwater from the side deck. Photo Ray Penson

need fresh water but it was something to do.  Truce has three scuppers on each side to drain water from the decks.  These scuppers can be blocked with plugs and the collected water diverted into the fresh water tanks via the filling pipes on the side decks.  The system is so simple and works wonderfully, my tanks were topped up in no time.

Another benefit of having scupper plugs arises when taking fuel.  It’s quick and easy to block the scuppers to prevent any diesel release to the water in the unlikely event of a spill on deck.  That simple precaution could save a lot of money in fines.

My guide book says that Portage Bay is a beautiful and protected anchorage.  It’s not very protected from the south as the wind whistles through the estuary at the head of the bay called Goose Cove and then continues for three miles down the bay.  All I can see is a bit of shoreline, low cloud and driving rain.  I really look forward to what will be revealed when the weather clears up.

The forecast for late tonight is for thirty knot winds and rain.  Tomorrows’ prediction is only slightly better so I may have another day in Portage Bay.  Sailing teaches you patience.

OH WHAT A NIGHT, DRAGGING ANCHOR

Last night we anchored in Fingers Cove, a spot recommended by a friend we had met along the way who had been to Glacier Bay seven times previously. When we entered Fingers Cove it was high water, we made a few attempts to find a suitable anchor spot and couldn’t. There were shoals and deep patches and a few rocks about. So we anchored temporarily to have dinner. Low water was around midnight, I decided to wait till around ten when there would still be some daylight remaining and find a better anchorage position when we could see more of the shallows and shore.

At ten thirty we re-anchored in what appeared to be a better position having 12 meters of water. By eleven thirty we were dragging into deep water in ever increasing wind gusts. By half past midnight we were anchored again and this time I paid out all the chain we had in the locker. Thankfully the anchor held this time. The wind was not really strong and had long periods of calms between the gusts. But when the gusts came down the mountain they were short sharp and the air felt heavy.

By six in the morning everything was flat calm and we had a long lie in bed to recover. A late breakfast was followed by a leisurely motor up from Fingers Bay to Blue Mouse Cove. The scenery is interesting but low cloud prevented us from seeing the tops of the mountains and the cloud cover prevented the sun from breaking through. We saw the usual sea otters, harbour porpoise and a distant whale, a few ducks but not much other wild life, a bit underwhelming. Certainly didn’t live up to the hype we have been hearing so far.

Until you experience Glacier Bay it’s difficult to comprehend how big the place is. Today we only saw four other boats and one cruise ship all day. Last night and this evening we are the only boat in the anchorage. Another surprise is how warm the weather is at the moment, apart from some cold air this afternoon the temperatures are very mild.
Tomorrow we will proceed to Reid Inlet and Glacier. Total voyage distance 1,511.1 miles.

Logged 10th July 2016

BUSY IN SITKA

Today has been full on action all day.  This morning I started some maintenance, replaced the toilet inlet hose, put a new non return valve in the bilge pump discharge, made a new gasket for the engine raw water strainer and did a thousand and one other little jobs outstanding.

Sitka Cathedral showing Russian Influence. Photo Ray Penson
Sitka Cathedral showing Russian Influence. Photo Ray Penson

Then I was off to find a solution to my gas cylinder problem.  I found a place selling gas cylinders but as I suspected no one would change out a valve on an existing cylinder.  Oh well, a complete new cylinder probably costs less than changing a valve anyway.  The shop only sold one size of cylinder, it looked about right so I bought one and took it down to the boat to check.  Lucky – it fitted into the gas locker, so I went back and bough another one.  Later I filled both cylinders at a gas station and now have two full USA compatible cylinders on board.  I also still have the old cylinders with some gas in them so will have to stow the new cylinders on deck until the old ones run out and I can dispose of them ashore.

After the gas cylinder success, I set off on a long walk to see if I could get a raw water strainer.  This was a waste of shoe leather but I did get to see a bit of Sitka.  Downtown I found a store selling kitchen stuff and bought a coffee press to replace my broken one – back on good coffee again thank goodness.  A cruise ship was in town and the place was full of passengers milling around.  Sitka looks really interesting and unfortunately I didn’t get to see too much today as I was so busy.  I was back and forth up and down the dock like a worker ant.

This evening I did the grocery shopping and stocked up, my wife, is coming out in a couple of weeks.  I don’t expect that after leaving Sitka I will be in range of shops until I arrive in Hoonah on the 7th July.

Now I just have some laundry to do and I am ready to explore again.  I would like to see some more of Sitka and spend some time here, I may stay another day and be a proper tourist.  In the morning I will check if there is a berth available for Friday night.

Logged 23rd June 2016