10,000 MILES WITH TRUCE

Banging to windward all last night and today on starboard tack.  Getting to New Zealand is a battle, every mile must be won.  I am not complaining – some are still in the north waiting for a break in the weather and one yachtsman is sheltering at Raoul Island.

The daybreak this morning was beautiful and the day is sparkling but the wind is cool from the south west.  I am seeing more birdlife today, this morning we were visited by an albatross.  The bird circled a couple of times before flying alongside, looking us over with the beady eye of the ancient mariner.  What majestic animals.

This morning I was completing our voyage records and discovered that today Truce and I have just completed 10,000 miles together today.  We did 2,700 plus miles last year between Canoe Cove and Glacier Bay in Alaska.  This year we have done over 7,200 miles across the Pacific, from Canada to New Zealand.  I would say we know each other quite well although I still have much to learn.

Now less than 300 miles to Opua.  But we still have a calm patch and a gale to get through.  The maximum forecast winds for Tuesday have just increased from thirty-nine to forty-two knots.  Oh boy – I don’t fancy that.  I will hank on the storm staysail tomorrow.

BARTLETT COVE TO HOONAH

We arrived back in Hoonah this afternoon after an easy crossing of Icy Strait in calm conditions. Calm conditions meant we had to motor again which is not restful but preferable to wind on the nose, so we will take it. In Icy strait there is a lot more ebb than flood so correct timing of the tidal window is essential if you are in a low powered vessel. Fortunately, we got it almost right today and made good time.

Spot the Whale bubbles in The water. Hoonah Harbour
Spot the Whale bubbles in The water. Hoonah Harbour

Our visit to Glacier Bay was great, apart from a nasty night to start off in Fingers Bay we enjoyed wonderful weather and hardly any rain. The Glacier visit was memorable, to get up close to a calving Glacier is an awesome experience. We saw a lot of whales in the lower section of Glacier Bay but the best whale encounter occurred just outside the Hoonah Harbour entrance.

As we approached the Hoonah Harbour there was a single large whale feeding in the entrance. We slowed down to watch as the whale blew a bubble ring and then arose in the centre to collect his prey. This happened three times, the last time very close and the whale dived under the boat before surfacing on the other side. Ngozi is very happy she has seen a whale up close. She will have to go to the zoo to see a bear.

Ngozi in the Icy Strait Brewing Bar, Hoonah. Photo Ray Penson.
Ngozi in Hoonah, Alaska.

We plan to stay two nights in Hoonah as Ngozi is flying out from here on Sunday back to New Zealand.

Truce is now moored in Hoonah Harbour, all secure alongside, now we can explore the town and surrounds without any concern for the anchor.

We are both hoping to get some fresh fish and maybe some crabs and shrimp to cook. Total Voyage distance 1,632.8 miles.

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.