Monthly Archives: August 2015

Friday Harbor USA!!

So an update, Ron and I left Port McNeill on August 16, 2015 to head down Johnston Strait and as we passed Alert Bay we were only doing 5 kts (really slow) and figured it was going to be a long day.  Down the strait I saw what looked like some porpoise’s swimming towards us but soon we were greeted by a warden in a tender telling us that we were close to a Biological Marine Park and did we see the whales? Also to stay 100 meters away from them, so we motored over to our port side and went around them.  We were not even close. We are in Canada remember? In Alaska we were motoring along and Whales came up all around us. We turned off the motor and just sat there; no wardens came up and told us to move on. Just sayin’   Soon we started picking up some speed and thought we would stay in Kelsey Bay.  By the time we got there we looked at the currents and found out we could make Seymour Narrows by slack water time that evening.  Weather was nice so we decided to go for it.  We got there about an 1 ½ hours before slack which means that we were still going to hit current but it was favoring us.  We were going 12  through the channel… who hoo.  As we motored through the narrows it said to watch for the Ripple Rock in the middle.  Of course Ron decided to go right over it on the chart.  I was telling him to move off of it but he said we had plenty of room and water under us and we needed to get through this.  Well that was just a start to how the evening was going to finish.  Now we are in Campbell River trying to find a place to stay.  Public docks were full so we decided to anchor in Gowlland Bay.  First we had to go through a very narrow, not deep channel.  I am trying to cook something for dinner and kept running up to the bridge to make sure Ron was motoring right.  If any of you know us you can only imagine me panicking and Ron under control lol……  We made it through only after Ron went into 6 feet of water our draft 5 and on the chart he was over the area that goes dry at low tide. He said “well we had 6 feet of water under us, that’s plenty.”  Thank God it was high tide still.

We anchored successfully and got a goodnight sleep to head out early the next morning to go through the Strait of Georgia.  It was a beautiful day some beam seas but we both had it on cruise control and sat out on the bow and soaked up the sun that we have soooo missed.  As we were heading down the strait we still had another narrows to go through at slack and wouldn’t you know it we were timing it just right.  Another 12 hour day but we were almost home and made it through Gabriola Passage and anchored on the other side, by Pirate’s Cove. So all in all  lot better than the trip across Queen Charlotte Sound a couple days ago where I told Ron when we got home I was selling the boat and buying a Winnebago….funny, he won’t let me forget that comment. It was just in the heat of the moment, didn’t mean a word of it, but he continues to remind me saying it……:)

We arrived in Friday Harbor August 18, 2015 and cleared customs.  They did not like the 2 lemons we had from Alaska so they took them. We told them we bought them in Alaska. He said “I don’t know that”. Ron said well I’m telling you we did. No difference he took them. Canada customs didn’t care we had them. Oh well we seem to not do well with customs agents.  We will be making our final journey back to our marina tomorrow.

Cabernet “at home on any sea”

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Port McNeill, BC

Our latest update is that we left Wrangell on Sunday August 10, 2015 to make our way home South.  The day started off nice and decided that Clarence Strait was to much to get into Ketchikan for the night so we anchored in Meyers Chuck.  We left early the next morning stopped in Ketchikan for petro (fuel) and headed out towards Dixon Entrance.  Dixon was very calm but it would have been to long of a day to make it to Prince Rupert so we stopped half way in Fury Cove.  This cove was very narrow to get into but so beautiful when we got back there. No one there, we had it all to ourselves until evening and four other boats showed up. We wanted to head out early the next morning for the 7 hour ride to Prince Rupert hoping the seas were calm like yesterday.  Boy did we luck out there.  But I had phone messages as soon as we had service and my Mom was in the hospital in ICU with zero white blood count and blood pressure low.  Ron and I had to decide to head for home quickly.  We made it to Prince Rupert cleared customs and headed out. We finally anchored at 9:30 that night in the dark and only relying on your charts.  The anchor alarm went off at 3:00 in the morning and we could still not see anything but it appeared we were not close to shore or the rock on the chart. We had just done a 360 degree turn so we went back to sleep for a few more hours.  The next morning was foggy and heavy mist when we left at 5:30 a.m. ready for our next 100 kt. day. Feeling our way by chart and radar.  The sun shined finally in the afternoon and we decided to stop earlier and not to anchor in the dark.  We stopped at another little cove off Albert Island in the light.  Our next day was going to be long trying to get to Fury Cove.  The waters were calm and we got there by late afternoon and were able to sit on the bow of the boat to relax before our next day crossing Queen Charlotte Sound.

As soon as we had cell service we were checking on Mom. She had been moved to Swedish Hospital in Seattle waiting for test results.

We went to bed early and woke up to check the weather which was reporting 6 ft seas so we decided to wait a few hours and go for it if it did not change.  We knew we had a 7 hour crossing.   As soon as we started we had swells but they just continued to grow.  Predicted 6 ft swells was more like 10 ft swells.  Crossing in a beam sea and then finally a following sea which the boat handled much better.  We would go up and the swells would come by and we would go down. I told Ron we weren’t suppose to be doing this again but we did not have time to wait out weather.  Barometer was falling.  Luckily this time we made sure everything was tied down the night before which helped tremendously with no noise of things banging around in the boat. Our boat handles the rough sea just fine, never a time that we thought we were in any danger. It’s just a very rough ride that seems to never end. We would rather have smooth sea, but there are times you just don’t have a choice. But we remind ourselves we have a boat that can handle it even if we don’t like it.

Bailey and Brandy do not like rough seas……

We got into Port McNeill yesterday and I called my sister.  My Mom was coming home that the tests showed something other then what they thought.  She is weak and going to need therapy and someone to come in daily for a while but at least she is home and on the mend.  Ron and I drew a deep breath Praise the Lord and decided to take a little more time getting home.  We stayed an extra day in Port McNeill did laundry, provisioned, cleaned and relaxed in the sun shine.  Yes we have a beautiful sunny day…….

Cabernet “at home on any sea”

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Wrangell, AK

Well we had to say goodbye to our daughter and son-in-law Shannon and Jeff on Saturday from Wrangell.  They flew into Petersburg just before our son and granddaughter Jason and Carter flew out.  Jeff said he brought us the sunshine and he is the “drought king.”  We only had sunshine two days so not sure he is the sunshine king or drought king or whatever……  We motored through Wrangell Narrows from Petersburg and, stayed in St. John Harbor where there are the most beautiful sunsets when of course the sun has been out, and then headed down to Anan Bear Observatory.  You need a permit to get in the observatory so we called Wrangell Ranger Station and they had only 4 permits left for the day we wanted to go.  So on our way we stopped in Wrangel and picked them up.  Getting to the ranger station was not exactly easy.  Jeff and I set off.  Ron and Shannon stayed behind with the boat on the transit dock.  I was told to go towards town and up the hill on such and such a street.  Well we did not find such and such a street as we were all the way at the end of town.  Finally Jeff decided to ask and were told it was back about a mile by the hospital.  So we continued to hike and found the hospital but it was way beyond town almost to the airport.  We finally got our permits and headed back after, according to Jeff a 3-4 mile hike.  The sun was shining so it was great exercise.

We anchored the night in Berg Bay that night.  It was raining and foggy.  There is a USFS cabin so we decided to check it out.  Behind the cabin was a wooden walk way (very nice one) so low and behold we had to walk it to see where it went according to Ron.  I was in the middle of the group singing songs with Shannon and carrying a bell to make noises.  Ron was leading and Jeff was bringing up the rear.  It was quite a hike to this flat meadow and bay on the other side of the hill. Would have been beautiful if it hadn’t been raining so hard. Rain in South East Alaska is something else. It just pours. Ron was complaining to a local we met and he said “well you are in a rain forest” duh!! They measure rain by the foot not the inch as we do back home. We did not encounter any bears…..probably the singing kept them away.  We did later find out a woman had been mauled in that area a few years back.

The next day we went to Anan Bear Observatory and we took turns going to see the bears  so that someone was on the boat at all times as anchorage is questionable.  Jeff and Shannon took the dingy to shore and went first and they came back ecstatic so we went next.  There was no ranger to meet us where we beached the dingy, and the wooden walk-way started, so we started walking and about half way to the observation hut (1/4 mile?) there was a bear coming up the draw by the walk-way we were on.  We continued to move along making a lot of noise. He/she watched us but made no threatening moves. After we got past we walked backwards keeping an eye on her/he.( Didn’t want to get close enough to make out if the bear was a he or she)  We got to the observatory and there was a mama grizzly bear and 3 cubs along with a couple of black bears in the river catching fish.  The black bears didn’t get too near the grizzlies, especially mom and her three cubs..  They kept their distance.  We watched them all for a few hours.  It was so cool to be that close to a wild  bears in their habitat not a zoo. No bars between us……..  When we were ready to leave the ranger had us wait as they did not have an eye on the mama bear and she can be testy. She had false charged a ranger a day before. She had left the river where she and cubs were fishing and the ranger didn’t know where she went and wanted to get “eyes” on her before he let us go back down the trail.  Finally we left in a group of other people that were there also and just made lots of noise.They had guns, we had a can of bear spray.  The sun was shining that day….whohoo.

Our next stop was Thoms Place.  Jeff and Shannon went out in the dinghy just exploring and of course it was raining and windy.  Our next day on the way to Wrangell we decided to do some fishing in Anita Bay.  We thought about staying the night but the commercial gill netters had the entire bay taken up stringing their nets across the bay.  We thought it would be a great area to catch fish if the fishing boats were all out there. It had worked before, but such luck….came up empty handed.

Just before Jeff and Shannon were to fly home we took the trip up the Stikene River to the Shakes Glacier and it was a beautiful sunny day  A lot different than the last time we were there.

I also need to mention that we played Mexican Trail almost every night.   Ron and Jeff think it is a stupid game but we all had fun playing it.  I am not going to mention who won twice since it is a stupid game lol….Ron was the “first looser on every game”

Cabernet “at home on any sea”

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Petersburg, AK

Jason and Carter flew into Sitka last week and it has not stopped raining.   So our first plan was to get Carter all geared out for the weather.  She has her Grundins and Xtratufs. She immediately was running through water puddles so cute….


Our first stop was Appleton Cove which was late in the afternoon.  Jason tried some fishing and we set out crab pots.  The next morning we had one crab only and this star fish eating the crab bait.


We got up early the next morning to head to Ell Cove down Chatham Strait.  We wanted to get down the Strait before the 3 ft waves started.  We did pretty well for the first few hours then it kicked up.  I was at the helm and needed to make the turn into the cove having to go into a beam sea.   Well I didn’t quite make it and we went into the trough and started to roll.  Ron had to immediately take the wheel to get us back on track.  Just another learning experience lol……But when we got backin the cove it was beautiful and all to ourselves.  Ron got the dinghy down and they went off to see the bears by the fishery.  They were up close and personal to the bears.

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We left again early the next morning to continue back down Chatham Strait to Red Bluff Cove.  We winded our way to the back with beautiful fjords on both side and waterfalls.  Again it was still raining with low clouds.  Jason started fishing and snagged a salmon yea sushi for dinner.  We then got ourselves dressed in our rain gear and went out in the dinghy trying to get up the river but did not get very far.  But we did see all the salmon trying to go up stream but no bears.IMG_1386 IMG_1391

The next morning we headed across Chatham Strait to Kake.  I really was done getting up early just to get through Chatham Strait.  Guess we were still remembering our experience the last time…..On our way to Kake we finally saw a lot of whales bubble feeding.  Again raining the whole way.  Finally we anchored and decided to check out the town of Kake.  Not much there.  Carter got to play in all the mud puddles as we walked down the street.  A guy came by us walking and told us about the fishery up the road and that there are black bears and that they were have some festival on Saturday that we should stay and enjoy the festivities.  Since there was not much to do in Kake and it was only Thursday we decided not to stay.  We hiked up to the fishery which is now closed and saw girls down in the river trying to catch salmon in shorts while it is pouring rain.  I guess they don’t know when the sun is shining or raining.  While we were there a black bear came out of the trees and started wandering down the stream, but the dog with the girls saw him and started barking.  The bear retreated back to the woods and didn’t see him again.  Kake has the largest Totem Pole in Alaska.

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As we were anchored outside of Kake another boat that we were anchored next to in Red Bluff Cove appeared to have went aground during low tide so we watched as they tried to get the boat moved out because tide was not completely out.  They made it……We put out crab pots but no such luck only those funny looking star fish.

Our next stop was Portage Bay and we went through entering the cove at high tide.  We finally had some sun so Jason and Carter took off in the dinghy with the bear spray and no walkie talkie.  Just like his Dad going exploring and out for hours with no communication.  Finally he and Carter emerged from the woods and headed out to the end of the cove enjoying the weather.  The next morning we wanted to get out before low tide which was a minus.  We hit slack but did go through 9 feet thank God we didn’t wait for complete low tide to go through.  We motored to Thomas Bay and saw the Baird Glacier.  Jason and I spelled rotten fish outside and was glad we were not anchoring there.  We motored to Cascade Creek Bight and anchored and stern tied.  While i was outside Jason and I could still smell rotten fish.  I finally found the source and it was a bucket on the side of the boat with rotten fish (carcass from the salmon) Ron was saving to put in the crab pots.  I made him get the crab pots down immediately.  We caught two crab the next morning.  Guess it worked.  Again we had another beautiful day but Jason had to take the dinghy out and find the rain.  Bailey got to go to shore and run and play which she had not been able to do for a while.  Carter and Papa played hide in seek with Bailey in the tall grass.

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We did not have long to get to Petersburg the next day and of course it was raining.  Now the kids are leaving and Jeff and Shannon just flew in so we are off today headed towards Wrangell.  Great time with the kids we will miss them.

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Cabernet  “at home on any sea”

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