EL CAPITANO PASSAGE

We anchored overnight in Marble Bay, where there is a mine, marble I guess.  The day started flat calm and the sun shone.  The air was cool but by nine in the morning it was warm enough for shorts and t shirt.  Taking advantage of the warmth I opened up the boat, all hatches, carpet and bedding out in the sun, a good cleaning and airing and now everything is fresh again.

Prince of Wales Island.
Prince of Wales Island.

Also did a bake, had fresh bread with cheese for lunch, sitting in the cockpit, with a Lighthouse Special Bitter Ale.  Perfect.

Today was an afternoon sailing to transit El Capitano Passage.  This passage is little known and has a seven foot depth for a twenty meter width.  It seems a lot less than twenty meters wide but its well-marked, we transited at high tide so there was plenty of water.

Along the passage are numerous bays and islands with Sea Otters and Eagles everywhere.  We were the only vessel in the passage and I only saw one other boat, a fishing vessel, all day.  I really enjoyed this passage, a very beautiful and magical place, its one of the highlights of the voyage so far.

El Capitano Passage, Dry Pass. Feels less than 20m wide. Photo Ray Penson
El Capitano Passage, Dry Pass. Feels less than 20m wide. Photo Ray Penson

It was another motoring day, what little wind there was came from ahead.  This evening we have anchored in Sarker Cove, off a long abandoned gold mining town called Deweyville.  From the boat I can’t see much of the town, just a couple of rotten huts.  I will explore further in the morning.

Deweyville Anchorage where I hooked a wire. Photo Ray Penson
Deweyville Anchorage where I hooked a wire. Photo Ray Penson

When coming into the anchorage I was just about to anchor when there was a great commotion just astern.  A seal had got a fish on the surface and an eagle was trying to get it.  I am not sure who got the fish first, the Eagle I suspect.  Whatever, the seal won the prize and the eagle took off and perched in his tree just astern of where we anchored.

There are deer on the edge of the trees, they come out and munch on the grass by the shoreline and then retreat back into the woods.  I saw them doing the same thing in the early evening in Red Bay a few days ago.  Total voyage distance 904.3 miles.

Logged 8th June 2016

WATCHING SEA OTTERS

Wonderful sparkling clear and calm weather today, perfect for motor boating.  This morning we shot out of Red Bay at ten knots with the outgoing tide and into Sumner Strait.  We carried the tide down to Port Protection where I tied up to a public float.

West Coast Prince of Wales Island. Photo Ray Penson
West Coast Prince of Wales Island. Photo Ray Penson

Port protection is a small place, just a base for fishing really.  The harbour is well protected and the name was given after the Chatham and Discovery sheltered there from a severe storm in Sumner strait.  I was invited to have a beer with the fishing guys but declined as I needed to get a bit further down the track today.  Drinking with fishing guys would have led to another night tied up.

On leaving Port protection we headed south down Sumner Strait towards El Capitan Passage.  I know this is the wrong direction for Glacier Bay but I have time, the Glacier Bay permit starts on the 9th July.  This part of Alaska is not on the inside passage route and not that well visited so worth a look.  I don’t quite know how I am going to get back north yet; I expect the weather will have a say.

Sea Otters banding together in Prince William Sound near Whittier, Alaska Image credit. secure.defenders.org
Sea Otters banding together in Prince William Sound near Whittier, Alaska
Image credit. secure.defenders.org

Since starting the voyage I have been on the lookout for Sea Otters.  Today I saw the first ones and they were everywhere.  They are really interesting to watch and don’t seem at all frightened of humans.  I had three by the boat playing around, floating on their backs while cracking sea urchins on their chests.

They are very cheeky characters and much bigger close up than I expected.  I had a whale surface quite close in front of the boat this afternoon, I thought about slowing down but at five knots we are pretty slow anyway.  Total voyage distance 883.4 miles.

Logged 7th June 2016