Monday, August 10, 2015

Sitka! At Last!!! -- 7/12/2015

With a noon time to begin today’s cruise, Herb and I enjoy our leisure and scan the shores of our anchorage in Schulze Cove for signs of wildlife.  One cannot see too many bears.  Silence is broken when Herb sees movement in the brush on the Baranoff Island side of our anchorage and says, “We’ve got something here!”    Bear?  No, it is a deer.  My first thought is about the deer that made a trail across a corner of our blueberry farm years ago, eating their fill of berries as they went.  Then I remember the deer that walk the streets of Anacortes.  Sweet. 

Now we have a deer in Alaska.  So we watch her for a time.

Herb dinghies out to bring in his empty crab trap and he and Ray decide we could leave early, around 10A in spite of having some current against us.  It will be nice to have a little time in Sitka before the propane service closes.

Planning ahead, Herb starts the slow cooker of ribs that will cook as we travel.  Yum – I give some thought to sides to complete the meal.

We weigh anchor promptly at 10 and cruise out of Schulze Cove under scattered clouds, and fog thin enough for the sun to bring the ambient temperature to the 60s.  There is no wind!  Water is glass.

It is a peaceful ride and I find it hard to believe that I will be in Sitka AK this afternoon.  We are in the protected inland waterways, but get a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean from time to time, here looking across Salisbury Sound, where we turn more southeast to enter Neva Strait.

Salmon are jumping, but we don’t stop to fish.  The sun comes out fully bright as we pass St. John Baptist Bay.

El Tiburon

In the twisting channel  we come to an area where range markers aid our staying in navigable water, but I don’t take photos – I watch as Herb lines them up.  Obviously, when we meet another boat, we move to the starboard a bit to allow her room, but we notice some boats appear to have trouble steering as we pass Partofshikof Island.


It is slack at Creek Point and we should ride the ebb to our advantage – timing is everything!

I see HSC Chenega coming toward us at 20 knots far in the distance, but there will be plenty of room to pass when we meet her.   We prudently watch to see which side of the green markers ahead she will take, and prepare for her wake as she leaves them to her port.  We cross the wake fairly smoothly, bouncing just a bit, but the slow cooker doesn’t tip.  Dinner is safe!

Nudibranch meets HSC Chenga

North Light

Later we hear her call Securite' for the Narrows and she identifies as Chenega, a high speed craft – light bulb in my head; so that is what HSC stands for.

HSC Chenega

Baranoff Dream

Alaska Song

Oh, excitement!  We cruise into Sitka Sound and look to the west to see the Gulf of Alaska and beyond it is the Pacific Ocean.  We now ride on ocean swells all the way into the harbor.  As we enter the breakwater a little after 2P, we call the Harbormaster for a slip assignment for Willie’s Tug and Nudibranch.  Our berth for a few days is at the north end of the marina, so we will get to catch up on our walking exercise. Some of the boating friends we meet call this area 'another zip code.'

First stop is to purchase propane and Crissy at the fuel dock tells me to come there.  A young man directs us back up the ramp to the tank, where he says, “One second, please, I need to get my manager.”  So we wait.

After a bit, he comes back with the manager and with a smile says this is his first day filling propane bottles.  Oh, why me?  Not to worry, the manager shows him the set up, fills the first tank, then allows the young man to fill the second.  Nothing blows up.  We congratulate him and wish him well in his new job.

Find Willie's Tug....

Upon returning to the boat, Herb installs one of the propane bottles and looks forward to a proper breakfast tomorrow morning.

For dinner I make mashed potatoes and prepare edamame to complement the ribs.  Ray and Lilly come over and we feast.  Herb gives Lilly her usual treats, and Ray shares some chocolate fudge for dessert.

‘We can run, but we can’t hide.’  Marine Traffic tells Bruce where we are, and also where his friend Stuart is.  Bruce alerts Stuart and we soon have a visit from him and his son, Brendan.  Serendipity, Bruce calls it.  We are so delighted to meet them.


Stuart has a wooden boat, Ripple, which is an Atkins-designed 26-foot gaff rigged tops’l cutter.  He came in yesterday, having sailed here from Seattle.   I am captivated by the stories of his travels and look forward to visiting with him again.  He will leave tomorrow, but tells us he will give a presentation early September in Port Townsend WA.  We hope to be there.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Sunday, July 12, 2015

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