ELFIN COVE ARRIVAL

My new friend Red stopped by last night with a beautiful thick piece of King Salmon.  I cooked it for lunch today – I am stuffed.  There is still more to eat, what a chore.

Sea to Plate in an Hour. Photo Ray Penson
Sea to Plate in an Hour. Photo Ray Penson

Last night in Roses Bar I met a lady from Anchorage who has 57 dogs for pulling sledges.  Interesting to hear how they work and travel.  The dogs can cover fifty miles a day easily, camp out at night and do it again the next day.  Its not a good idea to fall off the sledge as the dogs don’t stop.  A bit like falling overboard when the boat is on autopilot I suppose.

I enjoyed my stay in Pelican, described as ‘a drinking village with a fishing problem’.  I have seen other places in Alaska described the same way.  They certainly do catch a lot of fish.

This morning was raining, wet, overcast, misty and generally damp all over.  Gradually it cleared and this afternoon I had a spectacular view of Glacier Bay mountains and the Brady Glacier in the distance across Cross Sound.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This morning we crossed fifty-eight degrees North.  It sounds a lot but in reality it’s the same as North Scotland, I used to work much higher latitudes in the North Sea.  It’s just the topography here make sit so unique in close proximity to the mighty North Pacific Ocean and its massive weather systems.

On the trip up from Pelican I saw a whale ahead.  I was standing in the cockpit looking ahead for him and he surfaced next to the boat.  The first I knew was when I heard the explosive sound of his exhale, I nearly jumped out my skin.  I saw the first Puffins today, my book tells me they are Horned Puffins and not tufted Puffins.

Yesterday I was doing a bit of cleaning up and contemplating where all the hair and bits come from.  It’s the human body of course, constantly shedding skin and hair.  I then got to thinking that the boat is a bit like a spaceship, self-contained, life support systems on board and you can’t get off once underway.  Now on a boat all the body bits get swept up and dumped overboard, its easy.  But what about in a spaceship or a spacesuit?  Could a stray clump of belly button fluff shut down a spaceship?  I bet NASA know a lot about body bit management and how to stop stray hairs fouling up oxygen generators.  Maybe that was why the first astronauts were all clean shaved before a mission.  The Russians must have cracked the problem early, they sent a hairy monkey on the first flight (Imagine trying to shave a monkey).

Seaplane landing next to boat entering Elfin Cove .Photo Ray Penson
Seaplane landing next to boat entering Elfin Cove .Photo Ray Penson

Anyway, Elfin Cove looks like an interesting place.  Its built on boardwalks around a double cove.  Like Pelican the winter population shrinks to about fifty or sixty hardy souls.  There is a school, post office, store, fuel dock and bar-restaurant.  Holiday homes and fishing lodges are springing up around the cove.  At the moment its buzzing with fishermen.  Tomorrow I may head over to the North side of Cross Sound towards Brady Glacier – weather dependent.  Total voyage distance 1,343.1 miles.

Logged 30th June 2016

A PLEASANT SURPRISE!

Weather turned out well today, a bit of rain and drizzle in the morning but then it cleared up and I could feel the suns warmth through the clouds.  The sun didn’t get to be serious or cast any shadows but it was there in the background, behind the clouds.  The forecast wind didn’t arrive and it was a flat calm, glassy sea all day.  We motored on, Mr Yanmar doing a fine job again.

Not much wildlife today apart from Dalls Porpoise – the most boring of animals.  It’s dolphins that are fun but I haven’t seen any so far this trip.

Coffman Cove Harbour. Photo Ray Penson.
Coffman Cove Harbour. Photo Ray Penson.

The destination today was Coffman Cove, it looked a decent anchorage on the chart.  Surprise, Surprise.  It’s actually an inhabited place and I tied up at the dock on the third attempt after someone took my lines as I kept being blown off the dock.  The population of Coffman Cove is about 150 but this swells during the summer months as tourists and holiday makers come in.  They get a monthly ferry call.

An exploration ashore discovered an ATM, Post Office, Store and Bar.  Yes, a real bar complete with pool table and tap beer.  Bar population included fishermen and loggers.  I am learning a whole new language, quite difficult when I only understand one word in three and every second word is a swearword.  Style here is ZZ Top beard, baseball cap and serious braces (Suspenders) to hold pants up.

So far I am liking this place.  The people are friendly and open and this is my first experience of the real Alaska.  I may stay another day to soak up the culture.  Total voyage distance 819.1 miles.

Logged 4th June 2016

A STORMY NIGHT

By three this morning the wind had increased to gusts of 40 knots, I let out more chain and had the engine running as we were close to the shore, its only a small pool we are anchored in.  Thankfully all held firm.  The rain and wind have continued all day and only at six this evening did the wind ease off and the torrential rain turn to drizzle.

A stormy night, Rain Rain and more Rain. Ray Penson.
A stormy night, Rain Rain and more Rain. Ray Penson.

Needless to say, with a gale blowing outside and fifty knot gusts just down the coast  I didn’t move from the anchorage.  So, not much rest last night and a restless day.  I made myself busy with chores and maintenance.  I am splicing some new lifelines and other fun stuff.

The rain we have had in the last week has been tremendous and of biblical proportions.  The barometer is rising now and it appears the southerly storm is abating.  It must be a massive system out in the Pacific to produce so much wind and rain.

Today we had a very low tide, a minus tide and bits of the foreshore were exposed that are normally submerged at low water.  I was watching the Otter running around checking the low water mark, he looked very excited and was skipping all over the place in the pouring rain.  These animals work really hard for their survival.

The Otter was a bit of an inspiration and I got out on deck to do some chores, never mind a bit of rain.  Later I took the pig for a run after bailing out half a boat load of rainwater.

So nothing much happened today.  Looking forward to moving on when the weather improves.

Logged 3rd June 2016