Wallace Island : Back in range of your friends

One of the great things about getting South of Desolation Sound and back into the Canadian Gulf Islands is that you are now back in the near summer cruising grounds for boaters from Seattle and elsewhere in Western Washington.

In other words, you may run into your friends.

David and Lang are the nice folks who also live aboard on the D dock down in Anacortes, and whom we went to see in Vancouver on our way North back in May.  As we were about to leave Nanaimo they posted a pic from Wallace Island Marine Park…only 21 nautical miles away. We were only going to go about 15 miles that day, but for the chance to see friends, and pet Ollie dog, we’d do another 6.

After passing through Dodd Narrows early in the morning with a whole bunch of other slow boats who need to time the Slack we meandered down to the Provincial Park at Wallace Island.

Wallace Island Marine Park

 

Pulling into Princess Bay….David and Lang’s boat Sapphire was just inside the entrance, and the stern tie chain right next to them was open.  We took is as a sign.

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David jumped into his dingy to take our line over to the mooring chain, and after a little fiddling we got the hook and the line balanced.  We had 25 feet under the keel and it wasn’t going to get much lower.

After David finished his afternoon calls (he’s still a working man, but has a great cell and wifi booster system set up) we rowed over with drinks and apps and spent about 3.5 great hours catching up on the summer. The more people we meet the smoother we’re getting about telling that “whale in the narrow passage” story from Alaska.

Friday David and Lang were off to see friends near Ganges so we decided it was time to get the dinghy out and see more of the island.

Wallace Island Marine Park

This is a jewel of the Provincial Park system, but it’s very popular.  We got there about Noon after our early start to make slack at Dodd Narrows, and if you get there later during the busy summer months you definitely can have a hard time finding a spot to stern tie.

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And this is a tough stern tie as both coves, Princess and Conover, can see cross winds that make backing up once you’ve dropped the hook a little dicey.  But then again, that’s part of the fun.  You get in, pour a cocktail, and watch the fun as everyone else has the same struggle you just had. The Germans have the word for it; schadenfreude.

Once you have the hook and stern set, you’re good to go. You can hop in the dingy and get to the park dock. From there there are trails to all four points on the island so you can look out into Trincomoli Channel to the East and Houstoun Passage to the West.

Hiking over to Conover Cove is fun as that’s were you’ll find a few remaining buildings from what was a lodge years ago. One of those remaining buildings is the site of one of the Gulf Island’s more famous landmarks. The cabin where you are supposed to hang up a driftwood shingle with your boat name, your first name and the date you visited.  It’s packed by know with so many shingles, and yet there’s always room for one more; yours.

 

Karin and I thought about it for a bit and decided to hang ours next time we visit. We want to work on ours for a bit….making it special.

After a lovely two days, we woke up Saturday the 25th to a few raindrops (nobody minds as we need the rain around here to tamp down the fire danger and clear the smoke). It was time to head a little Northwest to visit Ladysmith, and nice little village we’ve heard a lot about….but never been to before.

The journey continues.

Selling a boat in the middle of nowhere

So, what do you do when someone wants to buy your boat and you are a million miles away? Ok, not a million really… but in the wilderness of Northern BC.

In the immortal words of Douglas Adams: Don’t Panic.

We’re not talking about our current home; Endless Song, but about Marie; our 1981 Hinterloeller Niagara 35. Marie has been on the sales dock at Marine Service Center on Lake Union since we bought Endless Song.

Lots of looks at her in two years… but the bite finally came when were were waaaaay far away…. with bad cell service… and that only occasionally.

We floated by a First Nations village and had cell coverage for 15 minutes and got an email that someone who had come to look at her 3 times was ready to offer. A day later, another village and 15 minutes coverage, and there was an offer sheet. We slowed the boat, downloaded the PDF. Opened it on the phone, signed, saved, and sent it to the broker. Amazing tools we have these days.

Another day or so and we got to Bella Bella. Real phone coverage for a few days, so we could call and talk to our broker. The deal was on, moving to survey and sea trial. Normally the owners will be there for that, but the folks at Marine Service Center said, no worries. They’d handle that.

So we continued South, waiting to hear results. Somewhere North of Cape Caution we got word of a few minor issues, but again MSC worked on getting one fixed, and we lowered the price a bit to cover the rest. All in all, fair deal for all.

The deal is submitted to Marine Title service. Just as when you buy a house, there is a lot of checking of titles and paperwork, and legal documents that the Coast Guard cares deeply about.

So by this time, we’re around Cape Caution… headed into the Broughton Islands. We stopped at Sullivan Bay Marina for a night. No cell coverage… but I know they have some wi-fi. There should be final paper work in my inbox at some point.

Now, a moment here about wi-fi at little marinas in the wilderness. It usually sucks. And it makes sense really. You have hot stuff wi-fi at your house. But what if 50 big RVs pulled up, surrounded your house, and asked for your password. They’ve all been driving around looking at mountains and have no phone or internet connections (except those really big white RVs, that are more like small hotels. They have domes on top for TV and internet.) You put up a sign that says, “Sure, check email and IM but be considerate. No Skype, facetime, photo uploading, or streaming video or music.” Right.

To be fair, most folks are nice… and behave. But it only takes a few. So getting up at 5am, making coffee… then wandering down to the picnic tables where wi-fi works is a winner.

And they are in the inbox; the final papers to sign and close the deal.

Here’s where being in the wilderness really is a problem. First, we need a printer. Then we need a notary. These are legal docs, and need the stamp from someone who says, “yep, Karin and Dan signed these.” And once signed, these originals have to get to the Title Team in Seattle. Scans or photos don’t do it. They need the originals.

So, at dinner that night… we got the last two tickets for BBQ…we were seated with another couple. Lovely folks, Teresa and Don from Edmonds. They are on a pretty wooden Grand Banks power boat. Great dinner, wine, and chatting about our summers. We got around to the story about selling the boat and our need to find help. Don smiles at Teresa, she looks down at her plate for a second, smiles, and says, “I’m a Notary, and my stamp and a printer are on our boat.

You have got to be kidding me. Randomly, at dinner in the middle of nowhere, I have found the Wilderness Notary.

Much laughing followed. After dinner we pulled the docs off the phone to a USB drive, went to their boat, printed them all, and signed and had Teresa notorized them. We paid with wine.

Now we have signed documents. Next issue, getting them to Seattle, fast.

We knew the was a Post Office at another little marina in the Broughtons, Pierre’s Echo Bay. So the next morning we sailed over. After tying up, we ran up to the office. We missed the mail plane by 30 minutes. Next one… in a week. Ok, this isn’t going to work.

So much as the new owners wanted to take the boat and the kids sailing, every one was going to need to be patient. We could go back North to Port McNeil, or just keep going South…and make an unplanned stop in Campbell River. Either option would delay closing a week. So rather than backtrack, we headed South.

Midday on Monday the 13th of August, we tied up in Campbell River and walked to the UPS store. The team there said no worries. Docs will be in Seattle by 10 am Wednesday.

And they were. Since we had emailed copies of the docs to Amanda at Pacific Marine Title she was ready. By 11am she sent us email that the deal was closed, and we were no longer owners of Marie. That afternoon I was able to log into my bank, and the funds were already in the account.

Amazing the technology we have today. In the past this would have taken weeks. Now, the deal was done, and last weekend the new owners took their kids and went sailing on their new sailboat…s/v Marie.

Love that boat. I hope we run into them in an anchorage one day soon.

Time to Head South

So we’ve cruised to Alaska. Seen amazing sites. Glaciers, whales, dolphins, bears, mountains, America’s Fjords in both BC and Alaska. And yet, we’ve really only scratched the surface. We had the odd mechanical issues. Overcame those. And a floatplane dropped us back on the boat after a week in the lower 48 at a family campout in Idaho. (For details on the Summer of Indy, see us on Facebook).

But now comes that time to turn for home.

There are a lot of emotions, issues and questions that go along with that moment. First, since we changed the transmission, and that took some slight adjusting of engine position. But even slight change means new sounds…and questions. Did we do it correctly? The boat, systems, engine and new transmission are running fine. But I know, and this is Dan speaking, that I’m going to be worrying about the engine/transmission systems as we go South. It’s not going to ruin my trip, but I want to have 100% confidence. I’m running about 95% at the moment. Despite the technical issues, Karin was quite sad to leave Alaska with so much yet to see.

It was odd to arrive back in Ketchikan almost 7 weeks after arriving in Alaska. We’ve seen so much, developed a few opinions about places, and what can we say? Ketchikan is not our fav Alaska spot. You have to stop there to clear customs, and resupply. You do the odd laundry. This stop was different though as we couldn’t wait to get away…from the cruise ships and tourists mostly. Last time through, we did wander downtown. This time, the heck with that. It’s nothing but tourist traps and jewelry stores. Who goes on a cruise to Alaska, gets off, and goes jewelry shopping? I mean those boats have three jewelry stores aboard. Whatever.

We couldn’t wait to point South for Foggy Bay….and Dixon Entrance…the US/BC border. Did I mention we were heading for Foggy Bay. Man! You hear about fog in late summer up here….and we found it as soon as we started heading South. It was foggy out of Thorne Bay where we had stashed the boat while in Idaho….and it only cleared as we were in the channel approaching Ketchikan. Then leaving Ketchikan….it was foggy most of the way to Foggy Bay. And it was supposed to have a little clearing wind on the border. But that never showed up, and it was light wind (no sailing) and fog all the way across the border. It only cleared up in Venn Passage, just 7 or so miles from Prince Rupert.

A little word about Prince Rupert again. As I said, we’ve developed “opinions”. Of the towns we’ve come to in Alaska and Northern BC…the Prince Rupert is one of the best. It’s pretty. It has lots to see and do. It has all the resupply you need….and very close to the marinas where visitors stay. There are great restaurants and a good brewery. And there aren’t many cruise ships that stop by, and those that do are smaller.

So now we head South, down into the long channels that make up this part of the coast. We’re making a point of staying in different anchorages, mostly, that we did on the way up to see more of what’s here….and note where we want to come back.

Did I mention fog? Yeah, we’re finding that here too. But is usually clears out in the afternoon sun. So one system on the boat that is getting a workout is the radar….and yes…these new radar systems really work well. (Thank you B&G/Simrad). It’s nice to be able to see boats big and small coming at you in the gray mists.

One thing that we didn’t have on the way North were horse flies and hornets/bees. After July 1st as it started warming up, so did the bugs. We have bug screens for our three hatches, and screens on all our opening port lights. What we really needed was netted panels for our cockpit enclosure. So we sent a note to the good folks at Iverson’s, and behold, they make these too! When we get back home we can mail our panels that we want to have netted panels made for and they’ll send them all back to us with the snaps and zippers all matched so they are interchangeable. Sailors, this is a must! In the meantime, we have used our bug zapper with relish.

Ok, here’s another lesson we seem to keep learning. I hope today’s sail from Hartley Bay to Bottleneck Inlet is the last time we learn it. There’s a thing called wind against current. It sucks. When the wind is going one way and current is going the opposite direction it makes steep choppy seas. It’s uncomfortable at best, and dangerous at worst. Think sailing in a washing machine.

So you would think…hey, just don’t do it. The problem is you may be sailing all day in perfect sunny skies and going with the current…say from Hartley Bay South. Then at the last part of your day, the current changes. If the wind is up…you have issues. And the problem with the inside passage is that you have this big long section in the middle where good anchorages are few…..and the wind always come up in the afternoon.

As we left Hiekish Narrows into Finleyson Channel, the current turned….and of course….the wind came up. Ick. It made the last 6 miles to Bottleneck Inlet that nasty washing machine thing. And it took two hours to finally battle into the entrance to the inlet.

Now the good news is that the boat performed like a champ, couldn’t care less about the bobbing around and the salt spray washing over the whole boat. Honey Badger Passport 40 is like that. The other good news is that bottleneck cove is peaceful and quiet, and Karin makes a mean cocktail to calm down the boaters. Wine with dinner….yet please.

Reminder: Plan your routes and dates so you don’t do that current/wind battle. We did it once in Rosairo Straight, once in Malespina Passage and now this. I swear…I’m done. I’ve learned.

Shearwater is a resort about half way down Northern BC, and it’s always a pleasure to pull in somewhere that has food, fuel and a mechanic if you need one. Since we had work done in Alaska, and Dan is still a nervous Nellie, we had Jay…the same mechanic who helped us out here in May…come over to the boat to look her over. Someone needed hug from an engine guy.

Jay found a slight fuel leak in one of the four injector pump fittings, and that was the reason we’re smelling a little fuel at the end of a long day. Jay says it’s 30 minutes to take the pump out, three weeks to send it somewhere to be fixed and re-timed, then another 30 minutes to reinstall it. But Jay also said it’s a tiny leak, it’s not impacting the engine, we have absorbent pads in the bilge pan catching everything, and it will NOT keep us from getting home. His final comment was, “It could run like that for 2000 hours and not be an issue. Just deal with it this winter.”

Well I feel better.

Shearwater was also where we ran into our friend Marty. He and his wife sailed to Alaska this summer too, but we never crossed paths…until Shearwater. He’s sailing south solo as his wife Deborah still has to work…at least some. Nice to find your friends on the water.

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So onward South. The goal now is to play a little at Pruth Bay again….but really to get down and around Cape Caution and into the Broughtons, where we would like to explore a little more. These are days you discover all the Fog that can sock you in here in August. As we ran South, much of the time was spent in the pea soup, with 1/4 mile visibility or less. As I think I mentioned before, love the Radar.

Finally we made it around the Cape…again in fog…and into Sullivan Bay in the Broughtons. We can refuel, rewater, and get ready for some exploring. Funny how life tweaks your plans. Someone finally wants to buy our old boat! More on that to come….but ask yourself this. How do you find a Notary and sign sales documents when you are in the wilderness? Once you solve that problem….how to you get them airlifted back to the boat title folks?

Hey, why is the transmission making funny noises…

Tick, tick, tick is the last sound you want to hear from your transmission when you are somewhere deep in Southeast Alaska….80 miles from anywhere.

As they say, it’s a boat…and eventually some thing’s going to wear out. Since this is a 33 year old boat, that is even more likely.   And just to make sure we’re prepared we have all kinds of spares; bilge pump, bilge switch, hoses, belts, water pumps for engine and for the water systems.  Lots of spares.

One spare you don’t typically carry is a full transmission. So, of course, what is the part that’s going to start acting up?

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It started in Petersburg. Pulling out of a slip, I put the engine in forward and it didn’t seem to go into gear. As I was throttling back, it popped into forward.  I went out into the channel and tested forward, reverse, forward, reverse.  Seemed ok.  So we left.

A couple days later, over by Chatham Straight it did it again, and for a short time there was a ticking noise.  Dangnabbit…as they say. While it still went into gear…something was not right…and we were 85 miles from Sitka on the backside of Baranoff Island.

Now transmissions are funny things. They work. They can fail.  They can fail all at once, or they can gradually get worse.  Around Puget Sound, The San Juans or the Gulf Islands there is lots of help you can call.  Yea TowBoatUS and SeaTow.  Deep in the bays, coves and straights of SE Alaska those things don’t exist.

But you’re a sailboat, you can just sail.  Hmm, right. The problem with that theory is that summer winds in the bays and channels are fluky and often light, or the wrong direction.  What’s more, you may be deep in a tricky anchorage with twists and turns through the rocks to get out.

You need a motor.

Given all that, Karin and I realized we needed to get to Sitka. We were in gear, moving forward and we didn’t want to take it out of gear until we were just a few miles from Sitka…and help.  So we left early on a sunny Wednesday and motored North up Chatham Channel, into Peril Straights, and down toward Sergius Narrows.

The Narrows 25 miles North of Sitka were the tricky bit. They can run to 8 knots and we needed to wait until the current dropped to 2-3 knots to be safe.  Luckily, Deep Bay just North of the narrows is long and straight. We made 3 long slow runs up and down the bay to burn time, and wait.

Finally just before 6pm the current had dropped enough for us to pop through and head for Neva Straight down to Sitka.  Then the fog hit.  Of course.  But that’s why we have radar….so we picked our way past a bunch of longliner fishing boats in the channels down to an anchorage about 10 miles Northwest of Sitka.

We dropped the hook in a cozy corner west of Krestoff Island, and slipped the boat out of gear.  We knew that if we couldn’t get it into gear in the morning at least help wasn’t too far away, and we had phone service to call for it.

Of course that means everything worked fine in the morning and we motored into Sitka, found moorage and worked with a bunch of local folks until we found a mechanic who could come help us figure out what was up.

Stan Lapapa is a mechanic and a fisherman.  We’re just glad he is here.  We both played with the transmission, slipping it into and out of gear.  Most of the time it worked fine….but every once in a while we’d find a “catch”. A position where it didn’t want to go into forward.  If we twisted the shaft a little, then it would pop in.

That means something in there is worn, broken, pitted…whatever. It also means it could work for a while….or it could break tomorrow.  As I said…not good in deep SE Alaska.

OK, what’s the plan?  Well, here’s where it hurts to have a Nanni converted Mercedes engine.  No one here has worked on one. Who knows what parts we needed.

Then it dawned on me that I know the best transmission guy in the NW; Mike Voht at Harbor Marine in Everett. He rebuilt the transmission and V-drive on our old boat 8 years ago. So I called him on Monday morning the 25th, explained I had a 35 year old Hurst transmission going out.  He laughed a little, and said that’s bad…they don’t make that anymore. Crap.  Of course then he said, “But I have 13 VF12M transmissions sitting on the shelf that are almost a perfect replacement. You only have to move then engine up 3/8 inch on the mounts…and the prop aft 1/2 inch.”

Nice!  We talked about rebuilding, but his point was that it was going to cost almost as much to do that as buying new….and it would still be old.  And it would take time. Buying a new one means that with a $50 Goldstreak delivery on Alaska Airlines it could be here overnight (they phone just rang, by the way…it’s here).

The only drawback was that it would be a good idea to put in a new damper plate, and he didn’t have that.    Hmm, who has that.  I did find one in the UK, thanks Manfred….not this time.  Then I punched the part number into the search engine….and the first name to come up was PYI in Lynnwood.  Wait a minute, I know these guys too.  I used to contact them all the time for customers needing new stuff.

So I called and talked to Phil at PYI, and he said, “Hold on, you’re working with Mike up at Harbor.  Lets hang up, I’ll call him.  We’ll figure out the plate you need and get it to him today….so it can come with your transmission.

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So with all the parts, Stan has put the system back together. We’ve spent a week getting to know Sitka….which we like. Best town in SE Alaska from our POV.   We also spent some dough….but not really much more than if we had to do this in Anacortes or Seattle. Mostly about $200 more for shipping….but really, that’s not too bad.

So now we’re mobile again…and off once again on our summer adventure. Of course, I check those bolts on the engine bell housing a lot…such to be sure nothing’s rattling loose.

Warm Springs Bay to Ell Cove, plus whale day!

Our next anchorage is to be Ell Cove just 10 miles north of the Warm Springs Bay.  We are feeling pretty good at this point since we are liking the anchorages Baranof Island has offered so far.  Dan wants to take a look at Kasnyku Falls in Waterfall  Cove.

Our first glimpse of the waterfalls.

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Endless Song swings back Waterfall Cove before getting to our anchorage.

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We go back on the dinghy from Ell Cove to get a better look.

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Our anchorage at Ell Cove. Dan is really happy here with a solid set and lots of swinging room.

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We check out the white granite beach at Ell Cove.

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And, of course, the whales.  I only got one photo and one video that turned out (we don’t post videos on this site so we’ll send that out later).  We must have seen a dozen whales that day.  One only a couple hundred yards off our starboard side.  It’s a thrill every time we see them.  These photos were taken as we were turning into Ell Cove so pretty close to shore.

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Keku Strait to Baranof Island.

Heading northwest out of Keku Strait we see this beautiful view of the east side of Baranof Island, about 40 miles away.

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We spent a good portion of the day motoring toward the island through Frederick Sound and then Chatham Strait.  We had a fairly nice day…it didn’t rain and was mild.

Our first destination was to be Warm Springs Bay.  Upon entering this large and deep bay you see the waterfall long before you get there.  Our intent was to partake in the hot springs next to the water fall while there but anchoring and dock space became an issue…we’ll hit it our our way back.

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A full public dock.

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The water falls

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Our anchorage in the West Arm of the bay.  We hear a lot of woodland birds here with a pretty little creek feeding into the bay.  At low tide you head its waterfall.  This was a bit awkward anchorage so we ended up a combo anchor plus stern tie.  It wasn’t pretty but we didn’t run aground at low tide.

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Kake to Lord’s Pocket, Keku Islands

One on the things that Dan and I like about boating is finding that snug and cozy anchorage that you can hang out in and explore for a couple days.  We found our first great anchorage near Kake in the Keku Islands.

We were heading west from Petersburg and needed to fill up with diesel so decided to stop in at Kake.  They lost their fuel dock in a storm a year or two ago so you have to call in to make arrangements for have fuel brought down to the public dock to refuel.  This is a 2 hour process because their delivery truck holds two types of fuel and multiple boats waiting requiring different types of fuels.  It does give you time to chat with the other boater waiting with you.

Upon leaving Kake, we picked our way west through lots of small and large rocks and islands, through the kelp bed where the sea otters mothers and babies were hanging out to find this little anchorage for 1-3 boats.  In our guide it’s call Lord’s Pocket and it felt that way.  So beautiful and peaceful.

Lord’s Pocket:

View of shore from boat

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View of Frederick Sound from AnchorageIMG_5468

Endless Song at anchor nearing high tide:

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Shore exploring at low tide:

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Frederick Sound and Dall Porpoises

We left Petersburg early to start our trip towards Sitka.  Once you leave the Petersburg harbor heading north, you leave the Wrangell Narrows and enter Frederick Sound.  That morning the water was glassy so you could see the water well and the mountains were all out.  Very pretty if a little grey.

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It was a relaxing morning.  No wind or current to deal with so we’re puttering along. A way off we see a whale and some porpoise here and there…nice but nothing spectacular.

Then two porpoise change direction and head straight towards us coming fast.  They raced along our bow for maybe 10 minutes-what a show!  I’m kneeled at the bow with the camera and these beautiful creatures are so close you think you could touch them.  For me this is the highlight of the trip so far.  I’ll try to post the video on FB.  I don’t have good enough coverage to get my pics and video posted.

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After that they day is rather dull but the sun breaks through the clouds and its a beautiful day.  Our anchorage that night is Portage Bay.  This is a large and fairly shallow bay that dries out toward the end.  This is one of the nicest weather days we’ve had so far in Alaska.  There wasn’t much of interest at the bay except a sunny afternoon and wo fishing boats dropping crab pots all around us that evening.  A clear sign that we should have dropped the pot!

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LeConte Glacier

When we arrived in Wrangell we knew we wanted to see Glaciers.  But here’s the thing. Glaciers calve off pieces that are, essentially, icebergs. Remember Titanic. The other reason we chartered a jet boat was Dry Strait.  Dry Strait is an apt term as this is very shallow area at the  mouth of the Stikine River where silt collects. That strait dries out at low tide.  The guide boats have to time the tours with the tide.  Icebergs will crush your gelcoat and ruin your prop.  They guide boat are aluminum with a jet…no prop at all.

It was a magical day.  I loved the the speed (39 knots vs 7 knots) and having someone else drive.  We could sit and enjoy.

Looking toward Stikine River.  The green water is from river silt.

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Approaching LeConte Glacier Bay and the beginning of icebergs.

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Larger icebergs beginning to appear.

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Seeing a bit of the glacier.  It’s still a couple of turns in the bay to go.

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The first of many harbor seal mothers and pups at this rookery (some that were quite small like this one below).

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The seals are all over the ice flow.  It’s hard to stay away from them because their are so many and all over the place.IMG_5226

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The glacier.  This is as close as we can get because there’s too much ice.  The Petersburg High School group measures the glacier every year for the last 32 year..  They have to apply and test their surveying skills for a spot on the team of 8.  Helicoptered in by Temsco, a local service provider.  The glacier calves from the top and also know for calving from the bottom called a “shooter” since the ice is buoyant.

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Surrounding miscellaneous photos.  The rocks were really interesting and the water a beautiful color.

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IMG_5232IMG_5241IMG_5272IMG_5283IMG_5334IMG_5335A small iceberg for Peter’s cooler.  We opted out for a share of the ice for cocktails.  It’s supposed to be the best ice going but frankly I don’t know what’s frozen in there so none for us.

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Food Discoveries

One of the best things about our trip has been the food.  I’m proud that I’ve been able to provide great food that we’ve enjoyed so much.  It’s that phenomenon where everything just tastes better when you’re out camping or boat.  Or I’m trying…

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Things we learned during the trip:

Cheese:  Bring lots of it, seal it and keep in the frig.  I froze the Tillamook brick and it dried out.    Usable but not in premium condition.  The further north you get the less selection and higher cost.  Ketchikan Safeway had an aged gouda for $9.98 before tax so that was our splurge for that shopping trip.

Our friend Jamie sent us a package of Point Reyes cheese selection as a bon voyage present (Jamie, it was fabulous–Thank You!) so between that and the sailor rumors of expense cheese I went a little went a little overboard on the cheese purchases.  However, I don’t regret it one bit.  We’ve been in good cheese for the entire trip until now.  Eat the soft cheeses first otherwise that can spoil while you’re distracted with other cheeses.

Bring your favorite foods:  For example, we like mixed nuts that we get in the bin containers at The Market in Anacortes.  I bought a large bag and sealed them if 4 separate packets.  We ran through them in a couple of weeks.  Should of brought more because we haven’t found anything better or comparable we like so far.  Same goes for coffee, canned goods, etc.

Make note of new products and where you got them:  Bick’s pickles are good and readily available in BC.  Prince Rupert has a great meat shop near the marina  and will do custom orders and freeze them for you.

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What we found plenty of was Best Foods/Hellman’s Mayo, Budweiser and Simple Lemonade (surprise) for Shandy’s, variable vegetables type and condition.

New Discoveries:

True Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit and Orange products (not the drink product).  Don’t get the bottles but rather the little packages.  The damp clumps the crystals badly in the bottle.  Reconstituted liquid is a good replacement for the fresh squeezed.  It worked in cooking and cocktails.

High Seas Canned Smoked Albacore Tuna:  This stuff is great.  From Cheese and crackers, chowder, and tuna salad sandwiches.  I’ve been using it carefully so it will last the trip. $6 a can at the Co-Op, cheaper direct.

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No Knead Bread (based on Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day):  This is easy, tasty and a clean process comparatively and certainly nice for the boat.  I haven’t figured out how to get the crisp and crunchy crust but maybe its the propane stove.  Everything takes longer to bake.  I made baking powder biscuits and baked for 40 minutes before they browned (yes, I know what you’re thinking).  By then, of course, they were hard tack.

The 1/8 baking sheets, Silpat pads, and baking stone are great for making everything bake well and clean up is so easy.

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Yesterday I decided to try out a number of baked items.

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Pie Crumbles.  I read an article on the the King Arthur Flour website discussing the old way of keeping pie crust in the freezer for ready use.  Dan’s grandmother did this all the time and I thought it might work well on the boat.  It did!

I made a double pie crust recipe with flour, salt, butter and Crisco (I had to buy this in Ketchikan because I haven’t used it in years), or your favorite recipe.  You then need to figure out how much mix will be needed for small boat-size pie tins.

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It’s 1 cup of mix, 3 Tablespoons ice water for 4 single or 2 double pie crusts.  It worked great except I don’t have a rolling pin so the Oban bottle was used instead—hope I didn’t damage the booze.  Christian, I could really use a custom rolling pin.

I followed the baking instructions for a normal sized pie.  The filling was made up from old and new apples I had on hand.

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Celery and tin foil:  Go figure.  Clean and dry your celery and wrap in tin foil and store in the frig.  They will stay fresh forever.  Well, probably not forever but long enough to use up on the boat.  Does this work for other things?  I want tips from all of you!

Storage containers:  Our friend Stew put me onto these (he won’t remember because he’s been using them forever).  When I was setting up the boat with storage containers for food stuffs I went through a lot of different types (Rubbermaid, lock-n-lock, snap ware) and nothing really worked for the space I had (plus they were expensive).  Storage space is varied on a boat (see pics below).

Anyway, I bought a package of these short and tall containers that stack and share the same lids (like to ones at the grocery store delis only sturdier).  This works great for storing supplies in general, but those especially that come in bags or paper boxes.  The bags can rip and the paper can get damp and ruin your product.  I moved all my baking supplies to these so there would be a even layer in “The Hole” to stack my giant flour container on.  They are also super for left overs, etc.  They don’t leak, they stack well, easy to clean and reuse.  They were cheap too.

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Coffee:

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Tomato Products (hmm, I’m getting low):

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Canned vegies and fruit, miscellaneous:

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The microwave cabinet aka “The Mess” (bread, cereal, herbs and spices, etc.  needs some work)

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Spice Rack (everyday items):

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The Hole (Dry goods and baking supplies):

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