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.

ANCHORED UNDER REID GLACIER.

Last night was special. We anchored in Reid Inlet under Reid Glacier, a extraordinary place with the Glacier towering above us. Thankfully the night was calm.

Today we have motored in calm conditions down to South Sandy Cove. First we tried to anchor in the east arm of the cove but were swamped by large horse flies or some sort of flies. Anyway, it was intolerable so we moved over the west side and found a great anchorage that is relatively fly free.

After anchoring we launched the pig and went ashore for a walk. We walked around an island on the outside of the anchorage and were treated to the sight (and sounds) of a Humpback Whale feeding close by on the shoreline. We are so lucky, calm conditions, sunshine and a humpback feeding close offshore.

Apart from the whales, sea otters and porpoise the wildlife in Glacier Bay has been disappointing. The fact is that on any day in New Zealand you see more bird life and sea life (whales and sea otters excluded) offshore New Zealand than you see here. The glaciers and scenery in Glacier Bay is superb but the wildlife aspect is over hyped. I have seen more birdlife outside Glacier Bay than inside – so far. We have still not seen any bears, moose or wolves, despite people saying if we don’t see them we are blind.

The outboard motor is now running well after its rinse out with fresh water in Pelican – long may it last. The other good news is that Ngozi says we should get an inflatable dinghy and replace the pig as it will be easier to launch and retrieve. If the wife says its OK – go for it before she changes her mind!

Today we also met up with yacht Caro Babbo again, a complete surprise for both of us as they expected we had long gone from Glacier Bay and I thought the same of them. In heard someone (Carro Babbo?) calling Truce on the VHF but it was so faint in thought it was my imagination as it seemed so improbable. We checked the AIS and didn’t see Caro Babbo.   Later on the starboard side I saw a yacht that clearly was Caro Babbo, we altered course and were soon laying alongside swapping stories. It seems they were held up waiting for spare parts and have followed a similar route to Truce.  I first met Caro Babbo on my first night of the voyage out of Canoe Cove in April and we have crossed paths ever since. It was great to see John, Jennifer and Hillary again and no doubt we will catch up again on the trip south and swap some stories.

So all is well on Truce tonight, the anchorage is flat calm, we can hear the humpbacks breathing just offshore, we are well fed and watered and listening to 60’s music on Juneau AM radio. Life is good. Total voyage distance 1,579.9 miles.