SAILING INTO THE TROPIC OF CANCER

Looking at the log book for last night I see I was having a hard time.  Sails up and down, in and out, tacking, gybing and engine on.  Sometimes reducing sail as going too fast and others just no wind.  I was surprised to find we had covered 109 miles noon to noon, a commendable effort in such trying conditions.  It must be good for you, good exercise in the fresh air.

Since midday it has been easy street.  Sailing with just the jib poled out to port, making a steady five plus knots in sparkling weather directly towards our destination.  Also, an opportunity to catch up on some sleep from the night before.

Waikiki beach, Hawaii. Photo Ngozi Penson
Waikiki beach, Hawaii. Photo Ngozi Penson

Today we crossed the imaginary line into the Tropic of Cancer.  This line marks the furthest point north the sun will get before heading back to the south again.  If you stood on the line at midday of the summer solstice the sun would be directly overhead at noon.  The word tropic is derived from a Greek word meaning to turn (that’s what we learned in navigation).

The Greeks were quite good at maths and figuring out what the planets were doing.  The ancient Brits were also up to speed on all that stuff – just that being illiterate they couldn’t write it down – they had to explain it in big stone circles

Entering the Tropics. Ray Penson jpg
Entering the Tropics. Ray Penson jpg

This time last year Truce and I were in Sitka Alaska.  Sitka was a really nice place, one of the best towns in Alaska.

What a contrast sailing into Hawaii.

I am getting quite excited by it all now and really looking forward to getting ashore in Hilo, only three more days to go.

A small rum and coke will be appropriate for sundowners today, we are in the tropics after all.

Voyage distance 1,816 miles.

RELAXING, ELFIN COVE

This morning I arose at five thirty as usual, had a look around and was not too impressed, raining.  Then listened to the weather forecast, not nice.  My bed still had a bit of warmth in it so I jumped back in for another hour of sleep.

Around ten in the morning I decided to head out and stowed all the breakable things away.  Just before starting the engine I listened to the forecast again, there was an update, more of the same not nice for Icy Strait and Cross Sound.

As it was still raining and generally miserable I decided to stay alongside the dock, it’s a nice dock, and enjoy Elfin Cove.  I am parked next to the seaplane float so lots of interesting coming and going.

Seaplane waiting to pick up Cruise Ship Pilot. Photo Ray Penson
Seaplane waiting to pick up Cruise Ship Pilot. Photo Ray Penson

I like watching the pilots come into the dock, they head for the dock, switch off their engines and then jump out the cockpit onto the float and tie up.  It’s quite skilful, they must stuff it up sometimes.  I will keep watching.
I have walked around the boardwalk at Elfin Cove numerous times now.  There is an old Labrador dog who welcomes me each time I go ashore and walks around with me, he has a stick that needs throwing and retrieving of course.

The guys from the fishing lodge by the dock went out this morning and came back with heaps of fish.  The lodge has staff on hand who spend hours filleting the fish at the dock, in the rain, packaging it up for dispatch by seaplane, to the customers’ homes I suppose.

Elfin inner cove and Village.Photo Ray Penson
Elfin inner cove and Village.Photo Ray Penson

This evening a fishing boat has rafted up alongside me.  Mark the skipper is my new best mate in Elfin, he has promises to load me up with salmon in the morning.  There is a nice little Nordhaven coastal cruiser moored behind me with a retired couple on board from Sidney on Vancouver Island, I saw them in Sitka.  Rosemary (the lady) came across with some fresh apples and a chocolate bar – my first chocolate for 3 months, (I don’t buy sweet stuff) what a treat.

The forecast for tomorrow is for 30 knots in Icy Strait, if it stays like that I will stay like this, at the dock.  No point in going out and getting beaten up, this is supposed to be a pleasure cruise.

Logged 1st July 2016

ENJOYING SITKA

It’s been an overcast, brooding, low cloud type of day in Sitka, no real rain just a few sprinkles, the sun didn’t get a look in.

Sitka Pioneer Home. Photo Ray Penson
Sitka Pioneer Home. Photo Ray Penson

The harbourmaster provided a berth for another night, allowing a free day to do the tourist stuff.  I had a good walk around Sitka a couple of times.  There was a cruise ship in port and the place was quite busy with passengers.  Despite all the additional people around it didn’t feel crowded and the locals remained friendly and accommodating. What a contrast to Ketchikan.  Later in the evening when cruise ship had departed the streets were pretty quiet but there was a good buzz in the pub.  I was surprised to see smoking at the bar, took me back in time a bit.

In the middle of town there is an impressive old building, the Sitka Pioneers Home.  It has a bit of history and is on the National register of Historic places.  It houses elderly people and they have a craft shop where they sell stuff hand made on site.  In front of the building is an impressive totem.  It tells a story that is far too long to remember.  But – the frog and bear at the bottom came out the earth, the guy on top is the head of the past Russian American company sitting on the Russian Bear, the two headed eagle represents the Russian traders, the Indian is a chief who fought the Russians, it’s a story on a stick.

Totem Square, Sitka. Photo Ray Penson
Totem Square, Sitka. Photo Ray Penson

I also spent some time in the restored Russian Orthodox Bishops house.  The Parks Service have put on an historical display and videos etc – a fascinating insight into the goings on of the Russians and the Russian American company at the time.  Certainly those explorers, missionary’s, trappers, prospectors and traders must have been tough and resourceful.

Tomorrow I am on the go again.  I will top up with fresh water in the morning before heading out.  There is no hurry as I won’t be catching the tide through Neva Strait until six in the evening.  I will have to backtrack through Olga and Neva Straits, I don’t like backtracking but don’t really have an option if I am to continue going north.  If the weather is good I will cross Salisbury Sound and head outside of Chichagof Island the following day.

Logged 24th June 2016