Alaska Summer 2017

Updated August 19, 2017

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After A Wild and Wet

4,689 nm, 46 day trip from Pohnpei, we arrived in Sitka, AK on July 1, 2017. The following morning, we tied up at the transient dock at Eliason Harbor. It was just as cold and wet in Sitka as it had been at sea, but we could plug in and fire up our electric heater to begin the long slow process of drying out Carina.

Still Wobbly

we set of towards town to find our friend John, who was visiting Sitka. We found him (or rather he found us) on the Eliason dock and we walked to the Sitka Hotel for a convivial lunch.

Also in Sitka

were friends Randy and Gayle of Otter who we'd last seen in Ecuador in 2006. They were most welcoming and we spent a few happy hours catching up with them.

Sitka is

historic, with native and later Russian roots.

Some Examples of Vibrant Native Art

painted on the side of a building in Sitka.

St Michael's Russian Orthodox Church

stands proudly and attractivly in the middle of Sitka.

Sitka is

surrounded by mountains, many of which have snowfields year-round. Mt. Edgecumbe is west of the city on Kruzof Island. It emerged from the clouds about 4 days after we reached Sitka.


transient moorage provided us a temporary home to mop up and make repairs. This photo was taken by new friends Martina and Larry who were friends of many of our friends.


has had many ocean adventures, so we found ourselves kindred spirits. She and Larry left for a summer adventure during our second week in Sitka.


was high on our list of Sitka projects and we succesfully re-commissioned our diesel-fired cabin heater during week 2. This would allow us to unplug from shore and still stay warm during this, colder than normal, summer of 2017.

Independence Day

was celebrated in Sitka for many days. The big wacky event was the local parade.

Smokey the Bear

Now you know where he lives.

'68 (?) Corvette

Someone out there probably knows the vintage of this beautiful automobile.

History is Important in Sitka

and the locals seem enthusiastic about showing their pride.


also marched in the parade and gave out candy to people on the sidewalks.

Rollerskating Must be Popular in Sika

as these children and adults skated down the street.

Every Costume

seemed more bizarre than the next.

It Wouldn't be a Fourth of July Parade

without old glory waving.

This Person Dressed up Like a Refugee

from the Salvation Army store.

Blue Hair?

and a little cutie.

And it goes on and on...

Eliason Harbor

looking south to the mountains with fishing boats in the foreground. Probably 90% of the vessels here are fishing boats.

Our National Bird

is as ubiquitous as crows. This one sits in a tree in the parking lot of Eliason Harbor.

Charter Fishing Boats

headed out through the opening in the breakwater each morning to fish for salmon.

Float Planes

are also common in Sitka. This is a public mooring for transient planes off downtown Sitka.

Sitka is

a popular destination and jumping off point of trips north into SE Alaska's interior.

Cruise Ship

passengers flood town a few days per week bringing their smiles.

Our Halyard Got Stuck

when we tried to lower the genoa to effect repairs to a couple of torn areas. Only thing to do was to have Leslie haul Philip up the mast in the bosun's chair to unstick it.

We Took Turns

powering the sewing machine while we made sail repairs on the dock, much to the amusement of passing fishermen.

The High Voltage GTO Wire

runs from the radio tuner in the stern through a deck fitting and attaches to the backstay acting like an antenna. We had to replace the 15 year old wire due to corrosion.

This House

sits on a tiny rock islet in downtown Sitka. We couldn't see a road to it.

This Mega Yacht

was moored in downtown Sitka. British flagged, it appeared to be a private yacht.


We have no idea what these are. Sure were pretty, though near the sidewalk.

Neva Strait

We departed Sitka on July 19 and after overnighting in Krestof Sound, continued up the Neva Strait towards Sergius Narrows. The mountains of Chichagof Island, north of Salisbury Sound made the scenery dramatic.


passing through Sergius Narrows into 20 knots of williwaw winds, we ducked into Deep Bay as the ebb began to flow against us in the Peril Strait north. A salmon stream exits into the bay and the shallows were filled with migrating salmon that were churning up the waters.

Our Anchorage

in the west was a bit exposed to winds piping up from a low passing to the south. We later moved to the site that this fishing boat is occupying.

GrassTop Island

protects this more easterly anchorage from swell and wind, though it is a small shelf next to kelp covered rocks and with quite a bit of current.

Much to Philip's

delight, a grizzly decided to wander by our anchorage and stop to graze on grass.


the mists settled into the timber as winds abated.

Further Down

the Peril Strait, SE of Hoonan Sound, we tucked behind DeadTree Island to get out of the chop. This tiny bite at the site of an old logging operation had a great view of ice-fields on Barnof Islands NE corner.


in using binoculars made us realize it was probably pretty cold up there!

A Run Down

the Chatham Strait towards Elll Cove brought us in close proximity of many excursion boats. This one is one of the prettier ones; it is called the Westward.


at last. At Ell Cove we finally met up with David & Dorothy, crew Wade Biggs and Kevin Shanley with pups Rusty & Rascal, who we'd been trying to meet since we left Sitka and they Wrangell. We had a wonderful visit with lots of chatter as we caught up with these friends we'd met on two separate Pacific islands, a year apart. They know each other from Hong Kong.

Ell Cove

is a magnficent basin surrounded by old growth.

This is Wilderness

and the king of the neighborhood took a stroll through. He later swam across the entrance and meandered off into the woods.


left for Sitka the following day with Wade and Dorothy following after the tender with...

...David, Kevin

Rusty & Rascal aboard. They were headed out to visit a small low tide beach before jumping aboard and heading off up the Chatham Strait towards where we had come from.

Baranof Warm Springs

is a popular spot with a public dock. The day we arrived it was chaos of boats rafted and boats racing each other for rare openings. We went instead to the SW bay which we shared only with a grizzly and a pair of eagles...for awhile.


appeared to be courting and cried plaintive calls to each other as they collected sticks for their nest.

Our Neighbor

the grizzly looked a little thin...he was also grazing on grass near the small stream that entered just behind us. He wanderer up the rocks of the bay sniffing often, probably at our odd scent.

Back Out

into thick fog of Chatham Strait, we passed this sea otter who couldn't have cared less that we were motoring by.

Our Destination:

Red Bluff Bay. This is what we saw when the fog finally cleared.


the red bluffs, Mt. Harding and its mates provided protection to the south. Red Bluff Bay is a fjord that cuts deep into Baranof Island.

This Waterfall

was the biggest of the lot of them and I mean a LOT of them. This one flows from a moraine lake fed by the mountain glaciers. The motoryacht is called Ellipsis.

As You

approach the anchorage, the view gets stunning.

At the Head

of the bay are the shallows from glacial rivers flowing in. The biggest stream is shown in the center of this photo and it leads to a lake that is reputed to be "grizzly" country.

The Anchorage

has good holding in mud but is somewhat deep. We had a small humpback whale swim behind Carina here as he circled the bay grazing on the abundant life!

The Site

of the anchorage is splendid.

We Waited

for the first gale of the season to pass by in Halleck Bay, home of a halibut about the size of Manhattan. Thankfully he got off the line.

A Long Day

brought us to the nearly perfect Portage Bay. Nearly perfect because it had a tortuous entrance clogged with prop-stopping kelp. Otherwise it was perfect. Perfect protection, beautiful views.


visiting float planes.

Frederick Sound

borders the mainland mountains and their spectacular glaciers. This is the Patterson Glacier. Notice the waterfront home.

Just off Peterburg

are the Sukoi or "Sockeye" Islands. We believe the backdrop is the LeComte glacier which is a tidewater glacier that drops bergy-bits into Frederick Sound.

At the North End

of the Wrangell Narrows, sits Petersburg. Founded by Norwegian Peter Buschmann in 1897 as the site of a cannery - with its own natural source of ice!


and fish processing still dominates the economy, though logging has also become an employer.


still make up a good share of the population and so rosemaling is seen everywhere. This is a local bank.

A Collector

of antique salmon labels was asked by the city of Kodiak to share the art for garbage cans to revitalize downtown. The local collector, Karen Hofstad, decided that such cans would be good for Petersburg too! Twelve cans were sponsored by local individuals and businesses.

Sing Lee Alley

is a historic street where Japanese merchants set up shop in the early 20th century. This cute home is #15 Sing Lee Alley.

Also on Sing Lee Alley

is the Sons of Norway Hall Lodge #23 and Bojer Wikan Fisherman's Memorial, complete with a boat aptly named Valhalla.

This Clever

boatbuilder works in aluminum, the material of choice for many expedition boats.

Between Petersburg

and Wrangell lies the Wrangell Narrows and the Sumner Strait. This is the light on Two Tree Island in the strait where the waters of the ocean and the mighty Stikine River meet.

South of Wrangell

town is the new marina at Heritage Harbor. It's about a third of a mile to the northern basin but about a mile walk to downtown.

Sights of Wrangell

...the power company

Chief Shakes

house on Shakes Island in the middle of Reliance Harbor

Totem Park

right on Front Street. A beautiful and peaceful setting.


The different figures carved in the totem poles all had a certain significance to the carver. For the clans here, totem poles told stories.

Wrangell's Historic Front Street

was the site of many scenic shops. We were surprised to find about three stores that were three chanderly shops in such a small community.

Trucks and more trucks

It seemed that every other vehicle in Wrangell was huge overpowered and loud pickup truck.

Inflation has even Impacted Lemonade Stands...

This little cutie charged $1.00 for a very small cup of store bought lemonade but she was hard to resist and it was hot that day after a long walk to see Petroglyph Beach...

XtraTuf boots are a Common Sight

If you don't have a pair, you are definitely an outsider. This boot was serving double duty.

This bar

was close to the harbor. Les was amused by the sign.

The Stikine Drugstore

had some life-size pirate figures guarding the entrance. Russell Stover Chocolates - welcome back to America!

Another bar in Wrangell

and another fiunny sign.

Mud Flat House

This house sits on the mud flats right in the center of Wrangell. No lawn to mow.

Wood stoves

must be a hot item in Wrangell. Yes, it's a bad pun...

Gold pan

We guess people are still panning for gold near Wrangell based upon pans that are for sale in the hardware stores.

Another historic cottage

we saw along our walk out to Petroglyph Beach in Wrangell. Not all waterview homes are palacial in AK!

The artist

took a traditional art form and gave it a modern twist.

Wrangell Museum

This large aphrodite marble stone stands outside the Wrangell Museum and is studded with prehistoric clam fossels.

Petroglyph Beach

A twenty minute walk north of Wrangell brought us to Petroglyph Beach where there are about forty petroglyphs carved into the rocks. Who carved them, when and why remains a mystery.

Wrangell Harbor Haulout

We were impressed with the massive, three hundred ton Travel Lift in the harbor. Try to locate Philip in this picture.

Zimovia Channel

Philip checks for channel markers down the serpentine Zimovia Channel. We only saw two other vessels all day.

Zimovia Cove

was a stopping place on our way down the inside passage and old growth forests lined the shore.

The Zimovia

channel connects to Ernest Sound at Etolin Island. This is Mt. Etolin as seen in the early morning light from the sound.

Meyers Chuck

Where Ernest Sound dumps into Clarence Strait is a haven called Meyers Chuck. It is entered through a tiny hole in the rocks that's seen just off Carina's bow. It's a cute little town with some quaint and historic homes.

And a

zip code, 99903

And a

Fire Dept.

And an

angler's club/lumber company. Keeps the men-folk busy I guess.

This Looked Like

the oldest home of the bunch. The roof gives you an idea of the climate here. We were lucky to have a nice sunny day to visit.

This was

another cute home; this one was on Back Chuck which we could only reach at high tide with the dinghy. There is a deep water entrance to Back Chuck from Clarence Strait.

Many of

the homes at Meyers Chuck are vacation homes. Float planes serve as transport to Ketchikan for connection to the world. The public dock at Meyers Chuck is managed by the city of Wrangell. By evening, the dock was full and we had eight boats anchored in the tiny bay. This is a popular stop as it is about 33 nm to Ketchikan.

The Float

plane stayed only a few minutes and then kicked up the bay and headed back to Ketchikan with its two passengers aboard.

The boats from the Rally

to Alaska kept popping up in these popular spots. This is Ruby Slippers, the yacht of the organizer, just before dawn under a setting full moon.

At the

north end of the Tongass Narrows on which Ketchikan is located sits Guard Island. The mountain behind is on Prince of Wales Island. Ketchikan was a zoo! Five, thousand-foot long cruise ships a day, dozens of float planes, god-awful amphibious tourist traps, traffic and a tightly packed marina. Despite ground level fog and cruise-ship arrivals, we left the following morning, inching past a cruise ship in the narrowest part of the Narrows in zero visibility fog.

In the Fog

we headed to Foggy Bay - no kidding. We believe this is Mt. Tamgas on Annette Island; the light house is on Mary Island in the Revillagigedo Channel. Shortly after this photo was taken, the fog bank descended again to sea-level and we crawled onto Foggy Bay, dodging speeding boats only visible on radar.

Les called

Philip and said, please come and see this, as it'll probably be the only mountain you will see today. It was.

Foggy Bay

was actually inside the fog bank during the late afternoon and evening hours. We had five boats here: this is the David B

By Morning

it was foggy again.

And We

had a minus tide.

We Returned

to Ketchikan to wait on weather and access resources. There we met Gary Freitag who also owns a boat named Carina. He works in fisheries at the Univ. of Alaska Sea Grant Program. We spent most of a lovely day touring around Ketchikan and getting to know Gary. This park is nearby to Ketchikan.

The Old Growth

trees on Revillagigedo Island were awesome and the scent of the forest fresh and fecund at the same time. It is impossible to capture the beauty of the place with a little camera.