SAILING WEATHER

Vixen Harbour was flat calm last night, there was no light pollution and the heavens were on full view. I got an early start at sunrise and headed down to Meyers Chuck to await the forecast afternoon wind.

Meyers Chuck is a small harbour with numerous holiday home scattered around. I couldn’t find a vacant float so dropped anchor. It’s a pretty little place and the people were super friendly. Two of them came out in a boat to say hello and invite me ashore. I declined, I want to move on and having just put the pig on deck I didn’t want to go through the effort of launching and retrieving it again.

Just after lunch I set off down Clarence strait with a good wind from astern. After four hours the wind died and the motor went back on to take us past Ketchikan. I was in two minds whether to stop in Ketchikan. In the end I decided not to as there is nothing attractive about the place.

Rather than find an anchorage for the night I will head out into open water and drift for a few hours. The sky is clear again this evening and I will lay back in the cockpit and watch the show overhead. Tomorrow I will head down the Dundas Island and back into Canadian waters again.

PRINCE OF WHALES ISLAND

I didn’t get much sleep last night.  The selected anchorage looked promising on the chart but turned out to be a wind funnel and we were hit with gusts all night.  The rain continued all night and into the morning but took a break this afternoon.  Its back again tonight.

I am on Prince of Wales Island now.  I fancy a look down the west side, it looks interesting and off the usual tourist track.  To get to the west side I will have to go over the top of the island.  It may mean doubling back to get up to Glacier Bay, just have to see what the wind brings.

We sailed up from last nights’ anchorage and had a nice free wind all the way.  I didn’t bother with the main as we were doing above five knots with the jib and we didn’t do a great distance.  No other boats out and about today, there was a small craft advisory issued so they probably stayed tucked up somewhere.

There is a big weather system out in the Pacific bringing warm moist air up from the south.  As this hits the mountains and colder water its turns to heaps of rain.  So this wind is good for sailing, just need to soak up the rain.

This evening I have found a nice sheltered anchorage, a bit tricky to get into at low water but once inside it’s a nice sheltered basin.  There is a stream entering at the end and three areas of meadow where the grass comes down to the shore.  Looks like bear habitat to me.

Once anchored this evening I launched the pig.  She obviously didn’t like being disturbed and took a chunk out of my ankle.  It seems impossible to launch it without suffering some sort of personal damage.  Now the pig is off the deck I will light a fire tonight and warm the boat through.

In Ketchikan I bought a new spark plug, some petrol and two stroke mix for the outboard motor.  I will have a go at getting it going later.  Total voyage distance 782.2 Miles.

Logged 1st June 2016

WHALES AND SEALIONS

I woke up this morning at four with light shining into the cabin and the patter of raindrops overhead.  It started raining again last night and has continued all day without respite.  It’s hard to believe I was stripped off in the sun only a couple of weeks ago.

Cruise ship Noordam entering a damp Ketchikan at six in the morning. Photo Ray Penson
Cruise ship Noordam entering a damp Ketchikan at six in the morning. Photo Ray Penson

This morning I went for a walk around Ketchikan.  A couple of cruise ships came in early and disgorged their thousands of passengers, many dressed in pastel coloured designer outdoor gear.  We all thronged around the souvenir shops admiring the tat from China, India and Haiti and Bangladesh.  There are some shops with good quality art and jewellery at eye watering prices.

The old part of town has been preserved and you can do exciting things like tour Dollys whore house and indulge in historical follies.  Once out of the tourist area the town of Ketchikan looks quite shoddy and run down.  I planned to spend two nights in Ketchikan, maybe it was the rain but I found it a depressing place so will move on.  This is not the Alaska I had come all this way to see.

Old creek Street Ketchikan. Photo Ray Penson
Old creek Street Ketchikan. Photo Ray Penson

I had to make a visit to the supermarket to top up on some fresh fruit and veg.  The selection was disappointing and not as good as Prince Rupert, pretty expensive as well.  By far Prince Rupert has been the best place for storing up outside Victoria.

Being completely fed up with the rain and Ketchikan I decided to head west to try and find some dryer weather.  I left the dock in Thomas Basin just after noon and headed to the fuel dock to top up on diesel and buy some petrol and two stroke oil for the outboard.  Having refuelled we headed out to cross the Clarence Strait to Prince of Wales Island.

We had wind to start and sailed under the Jib.  Then the wind died so we motored.  Then the wind came back and blew gale force from the South East, we made good time under the Jib hitting seven knots at times.

Ruby Princess cruise ship in Ketchikan Photo Ray Penson
Ruby Princess cruise ship in Ketchikan Photo Ray Penson

Half way across I was startled to see a rock off our starboard bow sticking out the water – Impossible, it was the fluke of a whale sticking up vertically.  I didn’t see the whale but it must have been very big, a humpback maybe.  Later a sea lion came up right alongside the boat with a big fish in his mouth.  He was so close and didn’t seem bothered at all.  I tried to take a shot with the camera but didn’t make it unfortunately.  Heading into the anchorage this evening we had the usual welcome from the nosey resident seal.

I don’t have any firm plans for the next couple of weeks.  Prince of Wales Island looks interesting and worth spending some time around.  I would like to find a nice dry sheltered spot where I can do some maintenance and dry out.  Total voyage distance 762.7 miles.

Logged 31st May 2016