SHORE LEAVE IN BARTLETT COVE

Today started foggy and calm. The idea of crossing Icy Strait didn’t inspire us and we felt lazy.  It seemed a great option to stay in Bartlett Cove. Shore leave and a bit of exploring around the area was the best option. It has been an effort to get to Glacier Bay, another day here to soak up the atmosphere is deserved. Following a leisurely breakfast, we rode the pig into the dock and went for a stroll in the woods.

Calm Morning in Bartlett Cove. photo Ray Penson.
Calm Morning in Bartlett Cove. photo Ray Penson.

After Ngozi being initially cautious about coming across bears in the woods we set off. (I have been looking for bears everywhere and haven’t seen one so the chances of a bear encounter seem low). Nothing really exciting about our walk in the woods, saw a couple of ponds, heaps of trees and read all the park signs. Not much bird life around and just saw a couple of small squirrels looking for their nuts.

There are quite a few people here going into Glacier Bay in Kayaks. They get dropped off from a mother ship and are picked up days later at a pre-arranged location. All their food and accommodation is carried in the Kayaks, they camp out each night. Motorised vessels are banned from many areas of Glacier Bay so the guys in Kayaks have it to themselves. It must be a fantastic way to see the wilderness and get close with the wildlife of Glacier Bay, a bit too basic for my tastes.

We took advantage of the free WiFi at the ranger station to check up on emails. We received news about terrorism in France and other stuff that we have been isolated from for the past week. We posted a couple of logs to the blog as well. If you are following the blog please understand, we can only post when we have WiFi so there may be gaps when we are out of wifi range. Perhaps one day I will get smart and figure out how to post via Iridium Go.

Toady has been a nice relaxing experience and the rain held off for another day. We have been very fortunate with the weather. Tomorrow we must depart Glacier Bay as our permit expires, next stop Hoonah.

BARTLETT COVE LUXURY

Today we motored down from South Sandy Cove to Bartlett Cove. Flat calm all the way except for the last hour. On the way we stopped at South Marble Island to watch, see and smell the sea lion colony there. Some large noisy sea lions about and the smell is not pleasant. Further on we encountered many whales feeding inshore, I saw one breach in the far distance.

img_6433In the afternoon we anchored in Bartlett Cove and went ashore for an explore and have a shower. The shower was expensive but unlimited so we made the most of it. They have a complete skeleton of a large humpback whale on the shore, very impressive and gives a scale to the animals we have been encountering. We also ran into the Tlingit carvers we had met in Hoonah, they are setting up the tribal house in Glacier Bay.

Later in the evening we had dinner at the Glacier Bay lodge, Halibut for her and rib eye for me. Nice dining on the deck overlooking the bay with the boats moored and anchored out. So happily fed, watered and cleaned we retired to the boat for a nightcap.

A great day. Tomorrow we will have a look at crossing Icy Strait to Hoonah if the weather is favourable. Total voyage distance 1,602.6 miles.

DESTINATION ACHEIVED

Today we arrived in Glacier Bay. It’s been a long winding road to get here and now we have a permit for a few days to explore and experience the wildlife and natural wonders.

Icy Strait Passage
Icy Strait Passage

The trip across Icy Strait this morning was easy for a change and the forecast headwinds didn’t turn up. The entry to Glacier Bay was shrouded in thick fog that cleared as we approached Bartlett Cove and the Park Ranger station.Once in Bartlett Cove we topped off the fuel tanks and attended the orientation with the Park rangers (I couldn’t help thinking of Yogi Bear when I saw the uniform). 

On the job, sailing adventures.
On the job, sailing adventures.

 There we learnt what we could and couldn’t do in the park. No big surprises and all very friendly. After the orientation we caught the last of the flood tide up to an anchorage in North Fingers Bay.  
We arrived in Fingers Bay at high water and were unable to find a decent anchor position. So temporarily we have anchored on a shallow rocky ledge with deep water behind it. The wind is blowing and gusting into the bay so it’s a bit tenuous. Low water is at midnight and I plan to have a look at the anchorage later tonight when more of the shoreline is exposed and find a better spot to anchor for the night. In the meantime we will have dinner and relax after a long and eventful day.

I have found the navionics chart to be unreliable in this part of Alaska, obviously the data on which it is bases is not too accurate. So caution is needed as some depths vary wildly and rocks aren’t always where they appear on the chart.

Approaching Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay.
Approaching Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay.

Today has been warm like yesterday. It’s hard to understand why it should be so warm in Glacier Bay – but it is. At least at the moment it is. Tomorrow we will work our way up towards glaciers and have a closer look at the wildlife, there is no hurry. Total voyage distance 1,494.7 miles.
Logged 9th July 2016.