Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Whale of a Lifetime! --7/28/2015

Instead of leisurely enjoying my cup of coffee this morning at the City Dock in Kake, I sip while I quickly dress for whatever the day may bring. 

Wise choice!

We cannot believe our eyes when we see Timothy coming down the ramp at 7A! He is  usually  gone by 4A to fish for several hours.  We hurry to the cockpit to visit and he tells us he will not fish today; he is only checking his boat and will spend time with his wife, Margo.  He asks our plans, and Herb tells him we would leave if we could get out of this corner without being pushed by the wind and current against the small boat in front of us.

Timothy says he can hold us off, so he and Herb plan the strategy:  Release the bow line, hold the stern in until Herb can point Willie’s Tug out into the channel.  As I pull in the stern line, we say Goodbye, then I quickly grab my camera for one last photo, but it rebels.  We have only a memory of his kind, smiling face.

Our empty slip (or Timothy's) shows only the bull rail, with skiffs peeking up from across the dock. The small boat at the left of the photo is left unscathed as we cruise away.

More scenes of Kake toward the supermarket and ferry dock.

As predicted, we have 15 knot winds, and seas vary from less than one foot to 2-3 feet. It is a comfortable ride.  Clouds are more defined over the channel and reflect the sun, which is trying to shine hope for us.

Glacier on Baranof Island

We take it on the beam for a few minutes as we turn around Point Macartney, but it is not too rough. Whales are in the distance, but I do not try to photograph, because I am holding on, then seas settle down to one to two feet. Herb chooses this time to shave and put on sunscreen, demonstrating his ability to multi-task.

More whales feed off our port side as we cruise in calmer waters around the northern tip of Kupreanof Island near Pinta Rocks to head south to Petersburg.

Traffic is light this morning, but we now begin to see the fishing boats about.  The gill netter Lady Helen is Herb’s favorite design.


Lucky Star, purse seiner and my favorite design, overtakes us north of Portage Bay.  

Rain begins and AIS shows HSC Chenega going 34.4 knots to Auke Bay, north of Juneau,  will come within 1.9 miles of us in Frederick Sound.  She is barely visible in the rain and haze.

What is….?  Wow!!!   Fluke!!!

I am speechless, frozen in time at this once in a lifetime experience.  I don’t want to take a photo.  I simply want to enjoy this beautiful scene forever.

What did I see? 

Ten feet off the starboard bow at position 1400 a scary thing appeared – and before I can figure out what it is, I see the fluke!  Bigger than life.  So close to us!  Every bit twelve feet wide and its skin shining as he gracefully glides back down into the sea.

Recovering quickly, I grab the camera and run to the cockpit to film more, but he does not delight me with his presence again.  I will never be the same.

Misty Fjord comes close enough to be visible in the haze.

One More Waterfall

Thirty minutes out from Petersburg, I call the Harbormaster, who tells me to stand by while he looks up where he put us last time.  He assigns us Slip 110, across the dock from where we were with Nudibranch July 6.  We come to the end of our cruise today to see some vessels just starting out for fishing.  Zeus looks to be hauling crab traps.

Petersburg, Alaska

We anticipate a bit of current as we approach the slip, but Herb glides in easily without use of thrusters, and the bonus is a lady from a boat nearby stands ready to catch our lines.

It is a good day.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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