Blog 4 – Ketchikan – Alaska
25th/26th – Salmon Bay to Alert bay, Coromrant island
25th Quote of the day: “Betty, you’re like auto helm” – Jake
26th Quote of the day: “I didn’t think I could possibly get any worse at this, I’m 50degrees off, somebody take this from me!” – Alan
Anchor up at 1020. Underway for 150nm.
As we were so sheltered, we raised the main sail up at anchor, but as soon as we left the bay, the wind picked up more than we had anticipated and soon enough, a reef was put in.
With Mikes infamous gnocci for lunch to keep us fueled, we had overcast and grey skies above.
Winds were pretty consistent for the afternoon, sitting between force 4/5.
Around lentil ragu time (1800), we came out of the front, the skies cleared and the winds began to settle at force 2. With the motor on, the crew enjoyed these last few hours of warmth in the daylight before the night watches commenced.
0000 – Watch changeover, and weren’t they happy to go bed.
Preventer line rigged. Thick fog inbound. Damp conditions.
A couple crew were feeling a little wobbly and visited the seasickness station down below. Those who hadn’t sailed by night before, appreciated that helpings a completely different ballgame when you can’t see where you’re going, especially in fog. It can be very disorientating, as if you’re sailing through a big black hole. All that we could see was the reflection of our nav lights against the mist and the sparkly array of bioluminescence trailing behind in our wake.
Sharing old stories and adventure novel recommendations, our stint in went quickly. We had a flock of curious birds circling Sea Dragon, singing their songs in attempt to land on the lower and upper spreaders, from what we could see, they had no luck.
Crew changeover with hot chocolates and coffee at the ready. The next team took us back into daylight.
The wind remained between force 3/4, the sky remained blanketed but the barometer began to increase slowly as we made our way to Coromorant Island. Anchor down with a mishap of a snapped pin causing the windlass to come to an immediate halt. Ale and Jake made a quick fix whilst the crew went foraging for food ashore, explored the U’Mista Cultural Centre and nipped into the local store for some personal bits and bobs.
Back onboard, those who wished made use of being back with phone signal, called loved ones and posted some updates online. A symphony of snores crescendoed as the night went on.
27th alert bay – Pearse island – an hour
Quote of the day: “Are we there yet?” – Mike – reference point: we only had 6nm to do.
A quick motor to Pearse Island, we anchored and got the dinghy out. We took a tour around all the wee inlets, small islands and bays where we bumped into seal pups, many a piece ion driftwood and underwater forests of kelp as thick as your forearm! A new moon had brought strong spring tides and currents, of which they channeled through the inlets at severe rates.
This area is known to be home to many a pod of Orca’s, where only a couple of days ago an Albino Orca had been sighted! We kept our eyes peeled, but sadly, no luck.
28th – Pearse island to Forward Harbor
Quote of the day: “On a day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open & the world is full of beauty. Today is such a day.” – Rumi, shared by Alan.
0645 Anchor up. Cloudy Calm and cool.
Extra layers came out, and then some more.
The wind was cold and right on our nose. Kayakers were out paddling and trawling lures behind them in hope of a catch.
Alan, one of our crew members shared this quote with me: “On a day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open & the world is full of beauty. Today is such a day. – Rumi”. We discussed how today wasn’t such a day, with the wind against us, however it didn’t remove the beauty that surrounded us.
Forward Harbour, a bay of serenity. Completely still. The sky was ominous.
Whilst we prepped dinner, our crew were up and down the cockpit and saloon between the breaks in showery spells. It made me think, rainy weather is either welcomed or unwelcomed, does it depend on the situation or does it depend on the person?
After dinner, droplets of water had began to tickle the deck more consistently. The water was silky, disturbed only by the small droplets bouncing off of the surface, some creating bubbles. The air was fresh, that sweet/salty earthy smell that zings your nostrils. A quick dunk and a couple of laps around the boat, I tilted my head back, facing the sky, floating like a star fish off of the transom. Open water acts like a big pool of liquid medicine, momentarily, you feel weightless and present.
With tea and a game of uno to warm up, we munched on some homemade lemon drizzle cake before tucking ourselves in our bunks.
29th – Forward Harbour to Thurston Bay
Quote of the day: “Holly, I am trying to come back to the boat.” – David
A birthday onboard Sea Dragon calls for birthday pancakes for brekky! Matched with plenty berries and tasty toppings, we fueled up for a walk ashore, up through the forest and to the other side of the bay.
Departing slightly later, gave us room to pass through the rapids at slack tide.
Arriving in Thurston Bay, the crew split up between a dinghy ride, reading and receiving some paddle boarding tuition.
Scott, Mike and David were the keen SUPping beans. With mirror like conditions, it took a bit of time for the legs to stop wobbling, but soon enough, all three were zooming around Sea Dragon and the bay. Fully stood up and managing to somewhat steer, seals playfully splashed around in the distance.
After dinner, Jake and I headed out on the SUP’s also. Jake checked out the coastline, scouting a little bothy and spying on some spider crabs, whilst I paddled closer to the array of purple mountains. The sound of breaking wake and no sight of a vessel caught our attention. After 10minutes of scanning the bay, I stood up and spotted a black thing fly in the air, followed by another and another. Dolphins? Porpoises? I called Jake over and we paddled hard over to the display. Thirty or so Dall’s Porpoises were flipping, jumping and circulating (from what I’ve read to be completely out of character). A truly magical event. What they were doing was unclear, whether it was feeding or playing, but we were glad to be there. Some of the larger porpoises swam towards us and underneath us, checking us out and playing alongside us. A right place, right time moment.
30th – Thurston bay to Gorge Harbour
Quote of the day: “I feel revived” – Alan
Today was warm, full of yummy food topped with beautiful mountainous horizons.
Betty whipped out the bread machine, and made a blueberry and lemon loaf, and it didn’t come out blue! Holly made a smoky quinoa salad with feta, hummus and sweet potato. Ale made a minestrone soup and homemade garlic bread. Nom nom nom. The entrance to Gorge Harbour is pretty unique. With steep cliffs and a narrow passage, you don’t expect the large anchorage ahead for such a tight entrance. As we passed through and came round the other side, the harbour was much emptier than what it was when we passed through on the previous trip. After the quickest dinghy deploy, some of the crew went ashore to grab a refreshment, ice-cream, chill in the park and take a shower. Apparently, some of us still haven’t got our land legs yet as David took a tumble in the park’s armchair.
Refreshed and “revived”, the sun set and the stars came out to play. What a performance they gave. The sky lit up like a giant disco ball, sparkling away, the clearest night we’ve had yet.