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Sula Alaska Trip 2000 Update #2

Greetings folks.  Here's the second trip report from our sailing adventure.  We've switched to using Word to address some issues some recipients were having with multiple attachments and also so we can put pictures inline with the text.  Next update should be in about a week once we get to Juneau.
Hope you are having as much fun as we are!
Eric, Melissa, RJ and Kelsey
Aboard 'Sula'
Sitka, Alaska

Saturday July 15 Naha Bay, Revillagigedo Island Alaska (24NM): What a day!  After an awesome lunch and saying goodbye to Deana we departed Ketchikan around 3:30 with Bo and Cindy Bernhard on board.  We motored for about 3 hours until we arrived at Naha Bay, near Loring, the site of an old Salmon cannery site.  The weather was warm most of the way but some clouds are moving in.  When we arrived the public float was full and another sailboat graciously offered if we would like to raft (tie up to them).  We gladly accepted but feeling a tad guilty a small motorboat offered to move making plenty of room for us to tie to the dock.  They helped us tie up and Mel politely asked if they were up fishing and “Wayne”, your stereotypical gold tooth, three sheets to the wind fisherman said “yes, you want one?”  Hmmm.  Is this a trick question?  He promptly brought us a beautiful COHO Salmon and filleted it for us on the spot.  He was quite a character and quite drunk, but we reciprocated by offering him a martini and he ended up having several!  The Salmon was the Best! (And we only ate half of it!)

Turns out the other sailboat was the Passport 40 ‘Golden Eagle’, owned by Tom and Pat Tierney who we discovered, purchased their boat through the same person we did  (Jeez Jan, is there anybody you haven’t sold a boat to?)  Great people on a beautiful, well outfitted boat still going strong after 17 years.  Eric coveted their dingy davits…   The kids played with two dogs on the docks for hours and burned off plenty of energy .  We went on a beautiful hike in the morning and only saw a few signs of bears.  That was enough for Mel! 

Sunday July 16, Blashke Island, Alaska (69NM):  We spent a couple of hours sailing in Clarence Strait today.  The winds topped at 22kts.  We put one reef in the main and the jib.  Cindy was at the helm, and admitted she liked having the power! We had a sighting of Dahl’s porpoises and more Eagles. The entrance to Blaske Island was interesting.  It was very narrow and very shallow.  Mel and Bo did bow watch. We recorded a depth of 9ft on our entrance. (Yikes)  It was totally calm and serine in the cove but there was not much to do on shore, lots of rocks covered in seaweed.  Eric fixed the water maker and Mel made the kids milkshakes!  It was a lazy morning because we had to wait for the tide to come in order to pass. The entrance records a depth of 3.7ft at low tide! Not enough!

 Monday July 17, Hole in the Wall, Prince of Whales Island, Alaska (41NM):  We entered Clarence Strait again but this time in heavy fog. Visibility was maybe ¼ mile.  The foghorn and the radar were on.  We were very impressed with the radar and its ability to pick up logs in the water, and larger items that we knew were not islands that turned out to be fishing boats in our path.  It was calm and foggy for most of the day.  We arrived at the entrance to Hole in the Wall around 5pm.  The entrance again was very narrow, less than 100 ft wide and ½ mile long, between high bluffs.  Once we passed the shallow area it was very enjoyable to look at the rock walls that you could almost touch and listen to the numerous King Fishers watching us enter.  We tried for crabs and caught several but all too small.  Eric and RJ went to shore and had a few ‘Courtship of Eddie’s Father’ moments.  We set alarms for 5am, as the tide was an issue again for our departure.  The current was so strong our speed over ground was over 7kts at idle.  Mel and Bo did bow watch, not that it would have done any good!  Eric commented, “We are going to shoot out of here like a cork out of a bottle!”  It turned out not to be a problem and was kind of fun!


Tuesday July 18, Explorer Basin, Kuiu Island, Alaska (54NM): Started with calm waters this morning.  We passed several Sea Otters floating on their backs around some kelp beds.  They were very cute.  The fog set in shortly after we spotted gray whales.  We rounded Cape Decision and saw a beautiful lighthouse.  The rollers began, as we made our way north in Chatham Strait.  RJ became a bit seasick again.  Kelsey provided moral support for him by sitting next to him and chowing on oyster crackers while he investigated the inside of the bucket.  It would have made a funny picture but we didn’t think RJ would appreciate it.  We passed through a large area with Humpback Whales.  It was very exciting, a few got as close as 100ft.  We also saw a few of them breach, it was incredible.  It served as a diversion for RJ, who thought that this was the “coolest” and commented that he wanted this boat trip to last forever.  That is quite a statement after being ill just moments before. There wasn’t much to explore in Explorer Basin as it was raining most of the time.  Mel and Cindy took the kids to shore and saw lots of little crabs and shells.  We had to navigate the dingy through rocks and row a bit as the tide had gone out and we couldn’t put the motor in.  Other than that, Explored Basin was the home the ugliest Jellyfish we had ever seen, and there were a lot of them.    

Wednesday July 19, Baranof Warm Springs, Baranof Is, Alaska (48NM) Crossing of Chatham Strait went without a hitch.   The wind picked up as we finished the crossing and we sailed by jib only. The fog was laying low but lifted enough when we neared the coast to see a waterfall.  We went to investigate.  We saw some fish jumping so Mel put her pole in the water.  We got some great pictures and as we went to leave Mel caught a 5 lb. Rock Cod.  Yahoo!  We sailed slowly so Mel could fish some more.  We saw another bigger and better waterfall, but no more fish.   The last 5 miles into Baranof were quite rocky.  We were rockin’ and a rollin’ as Cindy said!  After we got the anchor down we packed our bags and headed for the Warm springs.  There is a 100ft wide waterfall at the end of the bay.  It used to be set up to generate hydraulic power for the small group of homes that occupy the area.  There is a trail up to the hot springs that are situated right beside the falls.  It is very hard to describe, but if you slipped on the wrong rock you would be gone, it is that close!  The springs were very natural (some rocks were strategically placed for easy sitting) and very warm.  This by far is one of the most spectacular things we have seen thus far.  It was well worth the detour.  We had another calm night (knock on the teak deck) and a fabulous fish dinner! 

Thursday July 20, Port Armstrong, Baranof Is, Alaska  (56NM)  We had a bit of a lazy morning and did not depart until after 11am.   We passed the 1,000 mile mark on this trip while Bo was at the Helm. We could see many peaks and waterfalls as the sun was trying very hard to stay with us.  We had a fairly calm day with just a few rollers!  The anchorage was again calm and beautiful. The kids got on shore for a bit and found some shell casings and what appeared to be a bear skull.  

Friday July 21, Kliuchevoi Bay, Goddard Hot Springs, Baranof Is. Alaska (58NM) We left a little early this morning as we were expecting the weather to pick up!  We motored around Cape Ommaney and quickly found more whales and enough wind to sail.  We Passed Eagle Rocks and had to take a look at a colony of loud sea lions. They seem like a unhappy group of animals.  It may be because they smell so bad!  But it was worth the stop.  We also saw some Puffins today which was on Cindy’s list of want to see’s.  We sailed for several hours while the seas increased.  We were rockin’ and a rollin’ again.  RJ did great today with no signs of seasickness.  We motored the last mile into Goddard Bay.  It was beautiful with many exposed rocks and small islets.  We managed to dodge the rock at the entrance to Kliuchevoi Bay and anchored in 28ft of water.  We took the dingy to the hot springs and remembered to bring a large bucket for Kelsey.  The water was to hot for her at Baranof so we put the water in the bucket and Kelsey sat in that.  It was a Kodak moment but we all forgot our cameras.  This was a man made wood tub in a little hut, with hot and cold natural running water.  The tub was very hot!   We had a great soak and another calm night before heading to Sitka in the morning.


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