Inland Passage 2016

July 18-August 24

We got on the ferry the evening of the 18th and watched the moon rise. It was hard to believe that this part of our journey had come to an end and we were making our way slowly back to Bellingham where we had begun 2 months ago.

No surprise when we meet more interesting people on the ferry.  The first person was George an 81 year old man from Petersburg. He was reflecting on a recent experience and he shared it with us. He also gave us a book that he had written. George was all smiles as he told about his experience with God and how his life right now was so fulfilling.

 George could not stop smiling! He was a joy to talk with.

George could not stop smiling! He was a joy to talk with.

As we were eating some food a young couple came by, turned and said Mr. Ford? It was friends of Jeff's from high school, Shannon and Alec.  They were on their way to the East Coast where Shannon was going to start Medical school.  We had a good conversation and then since the ferry was going to stop in Sitka for 4 hours, we invited them to see the Totem Pole National Park with us. It was somewhat of a sprint to get there, but worth the effort.

 Beautiful town on the outer coast. We had not paddled by it so we were glad to do a visit here.

Beautiful town on the outer coast. We had not paddled by it so we were glad to do a visit here.

 Shannon and Alec

Shannon and Alec

 Many totem poles were displayed thru out the forest.

Many totem poles were displayed thru out the forest.

We made it back to the ferry and checked out our boats which seemed sad, that they were parked between two cars, rather than being on the water.

 The Kayaks. There was a rack, but the cars were packed in so tightly that we could not get to it.

The Kayaks. There was a rack, but the cars were packed in so tightly that we could not get to it.

The itinerary had us arriving to Petersburg, our destination at 1:30 in the morning. That time came and passed. The ferry had slowed way down and we were beginning to think that there was a problem.  Some of the crew members hinted that there was and the ferry would not be leaving the Petersburg dock until a mechanic could look at the engine.  We, however, happily got our gear and boats and left the ferry.  It turned out to be a problem that left the boat and all the people with their vehicles stranded there for an extra four days. We were on contract to work the next day so glad we did not have to figure out how to get here.

We met Corey, our other instructor and concurred that was him that had paddled past us when we had left the Juneau area. We take the obligatory instructor photo pre to meeting the students.

 The students never saw this photo!

The students never saw this photo!

Our 25 day paddling course with 9 Naval academy students traveled over 220 miles. They had all finished their freshman year. We were blessed with amazing scenery and good students!

 Near the Le Conte Glacier, which is way the water is this color

Near the Le Conte Glacier, which is way the water is this color

 A very active glacier with lots of calving

A very active glacier with lots of calving

 Follow the leader thru the ice floes

Follow the leader thru the ice floes

 Lots of rain enabled us to keep our water bottles full.

Lots of rain enabled us to keep our water bottles full.

We had our share of fog as we paddled around the islands in the area.

 Look close! The students are paddling in a group in front us as they start there small group expedition without us.

Look close! The students are paddling in a group in front us as they start there small group expedition without us.

In certain areas where the sea is protected, the under sea life is magnificent. Below is a photo of closed anemones.  When they open they are large frilly filter feeders moving their feathery tentacles in the waters current.

The course ends successfully and we spend several more days in Petersburg waiting for the departure date of the ferry. We see this replica of a can of Salmon on the street and wish that we had take a course photo here.

The day or should say evening comes where the ferry departs. The ferry is routed thru a very narrow and shallow channel so departure is dictated  when the tide is at its highest, which today is about 1 in the morning. Our friends drop us off at a reasonable hour and we begin our wait, reading and just hanging out.

 At least it was well lit.

At least it was well lit.

We are on the same ferry that had broken down a month ago, but are assured that all is well and we will be in Bellingham in two days. We have a five hour stop in Ketchikan and walk the streets that we had avoided when we had paddled by here in mid June. Only one cruise ship is here today and the streets are relatively quiet.  The summer season is coming to an end. This is the last stop the ferry makes until it reaches Bellingham.  We will soon be in Canadian waters and the ferry just moves thru. 

 Last stop till Bellingham.

Last stop till Bellingham.

Before it gets dark we pass by a Canadian Light House that we had camped nearby.

We see several other places that we recognize and then the sky begins to darken and we find our places between the chairs to go to sleep.  When we awaken we will be close to Bellingham!

Our friend Kurt, who had dropped us off three months ago meets us at the ferry terminal and we go get our car. A visit with friends at Orcas Isalnd that we met 30 years ago in Baja and a short visit to hike in the Olympic National Forest round out our time in the Northwest.

 Bonnie and Joe Sedavic   Behind us is Clark Island, the first campsite of our Inland Passage trip.

Bonnie and Joe Sedavic   Behind us is Clark Island, the first campsite of our Inland Passage trip.

 A hike filled with old growth forest.

A hike filled with old growth forest.

Our Inland Passage trip is now a memory that has touched us both.

July 14, 2016

The wind blew all night and the rain fell rather hard at times. I woke up at 3, listened to the weather forecast and debated about getting up. The weather forecast was calling for strong wind in the afternoon. It was foggy outside, but the wind had died some, We thought that we would get up, have breakfast and see if the conditions had changed.  The seas looked fairly calm so we decided to go for it and cross over to the other side and then head to Skagway. It was a committing move as the first pull out once one entered the fiord was at the town of Skayway, 12 miles away. We quickly passed over to the other side and the conditions were stable. A lot of waterfalls were tumbling down the mountain sides.

It is a thumbs up day, we feel strongly that Skagway is going to be our destination today.

We were not the only ones in the fiord. About 8 o:clock, tour boats in all sizes were sharing the sea. Then came the planes, followed by helicopters. The clouds were below the mountain tops so not sure what they were seeing from the airplanes and helicopters.  The tours lasted about 6o minutes and then another group would be headed down past us. We were glad to be in the slow mode and taking in all the sights.

Then there was the town of Skagway or I should say there were 4 cruise ships. It seemed somewhat anticlimactic paddling past them as we went from a slow pace to watching the rapid movements of thousands of passengers,

The town was bustling with over 10,000 people walking the several main streets. In winter the town mostly shuts down and there are less than 500 people that live here.

 It sits in a beautiful valley.   

It sits in a beautiful valley.

 

The last photo of this part of our journey with smiles on our faces.

Our paddling trip on the Inland Passage had come to an end,

55 days~~~~1160 statue miles

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 13, 2016

We were up at 4 and loaded by 6. The hoppers were out in force and tried their best to hop into our boats. I probably did some damage to their population as I tried to sponge them out of my boat. Finally I just gave up and let them come along for the ride.  We paddled between two islands and found the spot where the black oyster catchers were congregating, They are another one of my favorite birds.

 Black Oystercatchers.

Black Oystercatchers.

Today was a repeat of yesterday. Looks like we are going to have smooth paddling all the way to Haines. That changed when the tide switched and we felt like we were moving thru molasses. We saw the town, but it seemed like it took us for ever to land.

 

We paddled into the harbor and tired to call our friend,Ne Ne, but she did not answer the first time.  The data plan that we had purchased outside of Juneau had expired and we had gotten our cell coverage returned. Don gave them a call and told them what had happened.  They apologized and said they would give us a day of credit and supposedly after they fixed it, all we had to do was to turn off our phone and when we turned it back on we would have a day of data and cell service. So with a little hesitation we turned it off and then turned it on. Yikes, the same thing happened. We lost our cell coverage so now our friend could not return our call.  Don checked out a trailer park not far from the harbor and they had a couple of tent sites left.  We paddled over and carried our gear up the banks to the site. Don left to go to the library and to scype our son Jeff on our iPad.  We were hoping he could find out what was going on with the phone service.  That did work after they realized that they kept signing us up for the wrong program. Once again  they apologized and gave us a day of credit. Meanwhile NeNe our friend got the message, but when she tried to return our call she could not get hold of us. She came looking for us, fortunately Haines is rather small, so after making several stops, she found us at the library. It was a lot of fun to catch up on the latest events that she has been doing. She is a traveling vet in the South East. She invited us over to her new house to have dinner, do laundry and take showers. The evening went too quickly and soon we were back to our tent, wondering if tomorrow was going to be the last paddle of this part of the expedition. The weather forecast was calling for wind. Not much one can do so off to bed we went,

Nautical miles traveled 14.7

July 12, 2016

We were up at 4 and had blueberry pancakes. Lots of blueberries.  The seas have calmed, probably the most calm paddling of the entire trip.

We pass numerous fishing boats with their nets out.  I imagine they are quite satisfied with the weather as well.

It seems that the biggest physical challenge of the trip has been keeping my hands dry. Everyday they seem to be little worse. I keep waiting for them to have some type of cold wet injury, but after drying them out at night, they seem to be okay by morning. then by afternoon they look like this.

One of my favorite birds, the Common Loon finally gets close enough to take a photo.

 And the afternoon is more of the same, calm and scenic. This is the first day that we saw brown bears walking along the shore. The salmon are returning to the streams and so are the bears.  When we stop to get some water from a stream to have in case we need it, we are doing bear aware practices.    

And the afternoon is more of the same, calm and scenic. This is the first day that we saw brown bears walking along the shore. The salmon are returning to the streams and so are the bears.  When we stop to get some water from a stream to have in case we need it, we are doing bear aware practices. 

 

Do not think that it gets any better.  The weather forecast was calling for 15mph winds and 3 foot seas. Guess that was wrong.  We checked out one place that could have worked, but leaving at low tide in the morning would have been an obstacle course. With the conditions we were having we decided to go check out another spot on an island several miles away. From the distance it looked like it might have a sandy beach. We were not disappointed when we reached it and realized it would work just fine.. The shore line was just small pebbles. It was great for loading and unloading.  The beach, however had lots of seaweed and underneath the seaweed was our friends the hopper bugs. Hoppers as we like to call them get into everything including our food. They even manage to get inside our boats with the hatch covers on. Anytime you move some seaweed the little creatures come out in full force. They hop into the frying pan and add some protein I hope. as it is hard to avoid not eating some of them. If the weather holds this might be the last wilderness type campsite of the trip. This if the first site that has noticeable trash. This has been our longest paddle day of the trip. If all goes as planned we should be in Skagway day after tomorrow.

 

Nautical miles paddled 33.4

July 11, 2016

Slow mornings are becoming a pattern. I guess we are in that tide cycle and going up smaller channels have a greater effect. Today, however, the wind picked up and it had a greater influence on our paddling than the tide. Its a beautiful day and we are experiencing all kinds of sea states.

P1030546.jpg

We are feeling blessed that we can see the mountain tops. Often this area has low lying clouds, but not today.

We head into shore to take a lunch break and find a hammock that someone has made out of a fish net. We take advantage of it for a fun break.

 So do Thing and Esri guy

So do Thing and Esri guy

Our friend NeNe also told us about a nice camp site on an island that we are approaching. The wind has now picked up and the waves are beginning to build. It is early in the day and we had not planned on stopping quite yet. However, once we checked out the recommended campsite and saw the best berries of the trip, we decided to stay.  It is a beautiful hardened site in the woods and it is good!

 Best berries of the trip.

Best berries of the trip.

Just a little small world fact. Don walked out to the beach and saw a lone kayaker working his way by along  the shoreline. It was somewhat lumpy and he seemed like he was paying attention to what the sea state was doing.  Later we found out that this kayaker who works part time in Juneaus was going to work with us in Petersburg on a NOLS course in a couple of weeks. He had seen our kayaks, but did not want to bother us and Don could not get his attention to invite him in. If the weather pattern holds we may be in Skagway in 3 or 4 days.

Nautical miles paddled 15.7

July 10, 2016

Getting used to late start mornings, but as we have said before going with the current makes sense. We crossed over to Douglas Island this morning and then the wind became our friend and pushed us along the shoreline. This was a weekend and we saw several groups of kayakers camped along the shore. We figured they must have paddled over from Juneau. 

Lots of boats were out fishing today. It was a good day to be on the water. As we rounded the north point of Douglas Island, the Mendenhall glacier that is located behind Juneau came into view.

Our friend NeNe from many years ago who lived in Juneau for 19 years, but now lives in Haines told us about camping on an island near here. We found it and it was probably the most impacted site of the trip. It would work and we could see the city lights across the way.  We discovered that we had cell service, but our data plan had expired. Wanting to check our emails, we called the company and paid a one day usage fee. We were advised to restart the phone and all would be good. Not so, not only did we not get any data, we also lost our cell service. Apparently the person we had talked to had given us the wrong plan, not realizing that Alaska was not an international country.

Nautical Miles paddled 23.2

July 9, 2016

Another slow departure this morning. The current is dictating this so decided to be on the water by 8. then the wind came up and the effects of the tide were minimized.  It was a pleasant day of paddling. Mid way thru the day we decided to not go past Juneau which added some mileage but avoided the craziness of a city bustling with cruise ships. Juneau would have been the largest town we would go by and since we have both been there we decided to avoid it. We ended up camping on Admiratly Island, which has one of the largest brown bear population in Alaska. Sure enough as we were looking for a place to camp we spotted a brown bear on the hillside. When we finally did find a place to camp, there were signs of bears, but not real recent ones. We  were both tired and once we fell asleep, I am not sure we would have even heard a bear check us out. Fortunately there were no signs of visitations during the night,

 An ice berg whale!

An ice berg whale!

Nautical Miles Paddled 28.4

July 8, 2016

If yesterday was our wildlife sighting day, today is the vista day. Actually everyday has been one of beauty, but today was perhaps a little more. We knew that we were going to be fighting the current so we thought we would take a slower morning. The whales were putting on quite a show and it seemed that we should take advantage of this display. Eventually though it was time to move on and feast our eyes on the surroundings.

 A dead Whale was stuck on a rock...this was not a pretty sight...could not tell what happened.

A dead Whale was stuck on a rock...this was not a pretty sight...could not tell what happened.

It had started out being a warm day with not much wind and then when we rounded a point we were hit with a blast of cold air and some stronger winds. We pulled into a beach and put on our dry suits. The tide was coming in rapidly as the bay was quite shallow and it was interesting to try to put our dry suits on and hold on to the boats.

 Looked like a decent landing until the tide started rolling in.

Looked like a decent landing until the tide started rolling in.

Interesting enough as we paddled out of the bay and around another point, the seas got quite calm and the sun warmed us up.. We decided to keep on the dry suits as we were going to cross Tracy Arm and did not want to be in the midst of the crossing without our dry suits on. In the middle of the crossing was a large iceberg that had floated out in the middle of the crossing.

 Two eagles were perched on top. Shortly after taking this photo the ice berg collapsed, Aways a good reason to stay clear of floating ice.

Two eagles were perched on top. Shortly after taking this photo the ice berg collapsed, Aways a good reason to stay clear of floating ice.

Below are a couple of photos we took of each other to show the calmness of the day!

Then there was the rock out cropping.

And the crossing of Tracy Arm. Easy decision to cross today.

 We were not the only ones out enjoying the view. Several cruise ships were heading in and out of Tracy Arm.   

We were not the only ones out enjoying the view. Several cruise ships were heading in and out of Tracy Arm.

 

 One more iceberg was in our way before we got to the other side.

One more iceberg was in our way before we got to the other side.

As we paddled close to shore we came upon several cascading waterfalls and filled up several droms.

Looking forward to setting up camp here.

Its Don's turn to cook tonight.

Still have Esri Man and Thing...they have become best buddies+

Great Day on the water. A feeling of peacefulness surrounds us.

Nautical miles paddled 24.3

July 7, 2016

This was our wildlife day paddle. Lots of whales were doing antics all day. We would also pass huge flocks of surf scoters. They never would let us get very close so with no large telephoto, one has to be satisifed with the photo below.

 Love their beaks and the sound they make when they fly away.

Love their beaks and the sound they make when they fly away.

The day started out quite foggy, but as the day progressed the sun lifted and we were awed by the surrounding mountains.

After a break on this beach and we were back into our kayaks a group of moose came out on the beach and watched us go by.

Next we paddled by some rocks that were covered by a flock of birds that were well camouflaged. We have not identified them yet.

We pulled off on a beach and off in the distance was a whale showing us its fluke.

 Whale fluke

Whale fluke

Quite a few camping sites along this coast. So after paddling another day close to 30 miles we pulled over and set up our tent and kitchen on a somewhat sandy beach.  The wildlife continued with a visit by a porcupine. Glad it decided not to hang out with us. 

Nautical Miles paddled 30

July 6, 2016

Don returned yesterday and we decided that we would continue north and see if we could make it to Skagway before we needed to be back to work our NOLS course. We were camped at Froggy campground which was a site in the front yard of the owner. It worked just fine and had access to the water. 

We were up at 4 and on the water early as we needed to catch the ebb tide going out in the Wrangel narrows.  Our neighbor Joe who was tenting there awoke to wish us well.  He had gotten up not only to say good bye to us , but also to spend time reading the bible. He was a gentle soul and we had enjoyed talking to him. It was totally worth the early morning departure   as we easily moved almost like we were on a river. We were not the only ones catching the current so was the Alaska State Ferry.

The sea state was flat calm and we took our first break at a small island. The chitons and goose neck barnacles were covering the rocks. Notice the small limpet on the chiton. Once again we marvel at the creatures of the sea.

 Love the limpet that attached itself to the chiton

Love the limpet that attached itself to the chiton

 Waiting for the tide to cover them up and they can begin to feed once again.

Waiting for the tide to cover them up and they can begin to feed once again.

It felt good to be back on our journey one again. With conditions like this we were able to move North easily, Whales entertained us with their spouting and several breaches. 

We even paddled near an ice floe that had started many miles away when it broke off from the Leconte Glacier. It was hard to stop paddling today, with the scenery, conditions and our thoughts, it was good.. When the mileage came up that we had gone over 30 nautical miles we looked for camp.

Nautical Miles traveled 31

 

 

June 30-July 5

Our trip is on hold as the priority of Don's Dad is the focus. While Don is with his Dad, I am here perhaps getting ready for the last section of our journey or some other direction. Don's Dad had waited up for him in his chair in the living room. He was able to say a few words, but has stopped eating and is quite weak. He is on Hospice and has 24 hour care in his home. Don is with him almost constantly until he dies on July 4th. He was 90 years old and had not been in good health for several years. His passing was not unexpected.  The siblings decide that Don's presence is not really needed here in Portland so Don returns to Petersburg on the 5th. We decide that we will return to doing the trip and prepare to leave on the 6th. 

June 29, 2016

We were up at 4 and to the dock by 4:30. A shorter night than what we are used to, but visiting Tim and Chris and taking a flight over the area was better than a good nights sleep. The first challenge of the morning was loading the kayaks. Getting the gear to the docks was easy. Getting the gear into the boats was a job for long armed people.

 The distance to the water was over a foot. I had some challenges.   

The distance to the water was over a foot. I had some challenges.

 

 Don's long arms were necessary in getting the gear into our boats

Don's long arms were necessary in getting the gear into our boats

With that task done we headed over towards Dry Strait. Knew it was going to be a good day when half way across a passage, a rainbow appeared in the sky.

A lot of water from the Stikine is pouring into this area and water has turned a brown color. It is interesting to see where the two waters mix.  Now though most of the water is being influenced by the Stikine.

We point our boats toward Dry Strait and with the current with us are able to make it thru the strait without having to walk.  When a paddle touches the ground though we pick up the pace. Great timing as we go through the strait the tide switches and now we have the current with us for 6 more hours.

We had thought that we would take two days to get to Petersburg , but with the conditions and daylight it is in our reach. We take a break along the way and admire the mountains. In mid July we will return here and work a 25 day course for NOLS. We look forward to returning here.

Don called his brother when we were in Wrangel and his father's condition is deteriorating. Don may fly back to Portland from Petersburg to help his brother and most likely see his Dad one last time.

We make it to Petersburg and are met by Glenn, a friend of ours who is working there this summer for NOLS.  We sure appreciate his ability to do this. There are no courses in town so we can use the NOLS storage area as a staging area. Don calls his brother again and the decision is made for Don to fly back to Portland. He is able to get a ticket for the first of July.. I will stay here and organize our gear and be prepared for whatever our next move is.  Once again we explode our gear. This time though we are inside and are not going to be effected by the rain. Don packs for his trip to Portland. We are thankful for the circumstances that has placed us here.

Nautical miles paddled 32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 28, 2016

It was a good decision to stop early yesterday and make camp. We had a good nights sleep and the wind died. The tide was up in the morning so loading boats was easy. We even waited till 7:30. We were going against the the tide, but we did not have a long paddle today as our destination is Wrangel. We passed numerous boats with their nets stretched far out behind them.

As we approached Wrangel, we noticed the water turning a deep brown color. Later we found out it was due to the Stikine River which flows into this area. This area is filled with sediments from the river.

We were somewhat confused as to where we should go in Wrangel, the first harbor that we checked out did not seem right and we were directed to the city docks. Upon arriving there that did not seem right either. We had a friend from NOLS that lives here and thought that if we could make contact with her, she could help us out. With the help of the internet, we were able to find a number and soon we were talking to Chris. She quickly invited us to stay with her and her partner Tim. Not only that she would come and pick up our gear and take us to her house. This was better that we had imagined. It was going to be another night in sheets. Within 10 minutes they were at the dock and we were on way to their house.  They both went back to work and we spent the afternoon walking around the small friendly town of Wrangel. We met them for dinner at The Stikine restaurant where we filled up on seafood and salad. The evening was turning out to one of beautiful skies so Tim and Chris invited us to go for s sightseeing flight over the route that we would be taking tomorrow, the Le Conte Glacier and the Stikine River Valley. 

 Dinner at the Stikine With Chris and Tim

Dinner at the Stikine With Chris and Tim

 Looks like it is going to be a great evening for flying

Looks like it is going to be a great evening for flying

Nights like this are not real common as often there are clouds and rain obscuring the views, but not tonight. We took off and soon we were flying over our route tomorrow. We would be crossing thru Dry Straits which at certain tide levels becomes almost dry. We need to be off early to make the crossing.  Tonight though our attention was just to look at the beautiful views. We were soon making our way up and over the Le Conte Glacier. This glacier is the southern most tidewater glacier in the US

 Le Conte Glacier

Le Conte Glacier

We continued our flight up and over the glacier and then the Stikine River valley came into sight,  This river is on our list of ones to paddle someday and it looks like it would be a beautiful one to do.

 Sticking River Valley

Sticking River Valley

Back to the airstrip and landing as the sun is setting. A long and memorable day.

Plan to get up early tomorrow so we can get thru Dry Straits. Looks like the weather report is going to be a go for our departure.

June 27, 2016

Looked at my watch this morning and it said 3. I was ready to go, we are on Alaska time so it would have been 4 Canadian time. Anyway I woke up Don and we were getting up and making breakfast 15 minutes later.  We knew that we would be paddling against the tide later in the morning so getting on the water now was to our advantage.  The morning started out cloudy, but soon the sun started showing itself and the snow covered mountains glistened.

 Oh what a beautiful day.

Oh what a beautiful day.

We are heading up a relatively protected area unless the wind decided to blow from the north and then it gets funneled and much harder to make forward momentum. This area is know for having native villages many years ago.  There are places where the trees have been cut down in order for them to beach their dugout canoes, We take a break at a beautiful spot.

 The only challenge here was the tide was going out and we kept having to move our kayaks.

The only challenge here was the tide was going out and we kept having to move our kayaks.

Early afternoon we were going against the current and the wind also decided to increase against us.

When we saw the bull kelp flowing in the opposite direction we knew it was:

Time to look for home. We found it on Turn Island. This is a place where the ebb tide and flood tide meet.  We were even greeted by a deer who checked us out for some time before slowing leaving.

 Turn Island

Turn Island

 The welcome committee

The welcome committee

It was a peaceful afternoon . We had time to dry out some gear, reflect and bake some bread.

 glad we stopped

glad we stopped

 Reflect

Reflect

 Even Esri man and Thing are still with us.

Even Esri man and Thing are still with us.

Nautical Miles Traveled 19

June 26, 2016

We awoke early and had breakfast. The conditions look so much better than yesterday. Still somewhat overcast and began to rain as we were finishing loading our boats. There were whales and sea lions in our view site this morning. The logging area that we had hiked in yesterday continues for many miles, we paddled by the logging operation severals miles past our campsite.

 It was a Sunday, so seemed pretty quiet. Lot of trucks were parked.

It was a Sunday, so seemed pretty quiet. Lot of trucks were parked.

We were heading towards the small town of Myers Chuck. When we arrived it was almost like a ghost town. We never did see any people. Perhaps later in the summer more folks will be here. At one time it even had a school, but that is closed now. There was a sailboat tied up to the dock. They had arrived last night and had seen no one as well. Several houses had wood smoke coming out of the chimneys. So we assume some one is here.  There is a postoffice on the shore that is opened several days during the week. Not much to hold our attention here so after a short walk on a path we decided to continue paddling North.

 Neat sculpture of a Great blue heron. Made from drift wood

Neat sculpture of a Great blue heron. Made from drift wood

 Dave and Karen were sailing up from Seattle area. They were surprised to hear that we would often paddle as many miles as they would sail. I have a feeling though that we are on the water longer.

Dave and Karen were sailing up from Seattle area. They were surprised to hear that we would often paddle as many miles as they would sail. I have a feeling though that we are on the water longer.

 Lot of marine creatures were living under the dock.

Lot of marine creatures were living under the dock.

Continuing on the paddle we encountered good conditions and by the time we stopped we had paddled over 30 nautical miles. The first couple of sites that we looked at did not look like they would be above tide level. We have also been warned about bears in the area so do not want to be near salmon streams. Finally found a beautiful grassy island. Normally we would rather camp on a hardened surface, but our options were waning and this looked like we would only be here for one night. The tide was up so unloading was easy.

 Love the peacefulness

Love the peacefulness

After we had set our tent up and starting to cook dinner a mink walked right  below us. It must not have caught our scent as it stayed long enough for us to take a photo.

 Can see why their fur was so valuable.

Can see why their fur was so valuable.

Glad to be here and love the Lupine.

Nautical Miles paddled 31

June 25, 2016

The rain was hitting the tent with force this morning and the wind was also strong.  The waves had increased in size from where they were yesterday and besides there was no visibility due to fog. Sounds like a good day to hunker in the tent. First though we were somewhat hungry and headed over to our kitchen tarp. We discovered a couple of unwanted guests had taken advantage of Don's coffee cup.

 The slugs were all different colors and sizes.

The slugs were all different colors and sizes.

Whoever said that slugs were slow had not met the slugs here. We would remove them gently of course from our area and then watch as they would quickly move back.

 Good entertainment watching them moving in on us.

Good entertainment watching them moving in on us.

First a fishing boat went by, we heard it for quite a way before seeing it:

Then a cruise ship, doubt if they are getting much of a view:

Then an airplane;

By this time we had no doubt in our minds that we would be here for the day. We headed back to our tent where we opened up the speaker gift that Jeff had sent us. Soothing music to relax ones soul seemed appropriate.

 Life if good.

Life if good.

As the saying goes, One can not stay on the summit for ever, eventually one has to come down. Think that is also true for one can not stay horizontal in the tent for ever, one must get up and go out. After reading and even taking a short nap, we decided to venture out into the elements. We thought if we could crash thru the downed logs we would get to the logging road and be able to take a hike. Getting to the road was not exactly easy, but with determination we eventually got there.  

 Hard to imagine the cost of putting these road in.

Hard to imagine the cost of putting these road in.

 Seems like there is a lot of waste here.

Seems like there is a lot of waste here.

We did get to take a walk on the road, it was nice to stretch our legs, but can not say we appreciated the view. This is a very large clear cut. The feeling one gets here is so different than the one gets walking thru the trees that are growing around our campsite.  Back to the tent, staying warm and cozy inside our tent. Hard to know what tomorrow will bring, but we have lots of water and plenty of food.

June 24, 2016

During the night the wind blew and the waves crashed on the shore. We did not even need to go outside of our tent to check the weather. Looks like we might be hanging out here for awhile.  We had fresh fruit from our shopping in Ketchikan so breakfast was a real treat. We must be near some good fishing grounds as boats are beginning to show up in front of the campsite. They are rocking back and forth with the waves.  Several hours later though the wind has shifted and the current has switched. We are crossing the Behm canal which will take us several hours, but the conditions have improved and we decide to load up the boats and head across. It is a bit of a carry across some rocky terrain, but we are used to that and soon we are loaded and on the water. I decide to use our Greenland styled paddle and enjoy the different set of muscles that are used.

 Still some wind.

Still some wind.

The weather is unsettled and we are not sure how far we will get today, but getting across the channel was a goal.  We were glad when we reached the shore on the other side. At least we could look for places to land. We landed at a little creek, took a break and watched the waves beginning to build. We will be looking for a place to camp soon.  Waves were  hitting the shore and we really did not want to do a surf landing as most of the coastline was quite rocky. Finally we found a spot that had some rocks that gave the landing a bit of a break.

 It has some protection and is quite scenic.

It has some protection and is quite scenic.

Right behind our camp are some large trees, but right behind them is a clear cut logging operation. There are also some huge stumps that are remains of old growth trees that had been cut down. One can only imagine what the coastline looked like 200 years ago.

We take a short walk around the forest and check out the trees.

 Close by is the logging operation

Close by is the logging operation

We level a spot for the tent and find a protected place for the kitchen tarp as well.  Looks like we might be here for awhile. It is always interesting to listen to the weather reports as they can be so different than what we are observing. They do give us some indication of what is going on in the big picture.

 Home for the night

Home for the night

 Comes with it own tree garden!

Comes with it own tree garden!

Nautical miles traveled 12

June 23, 2016

We woke up to rain, but the small shelter at the small park provided us cover. We were glad that we were the only ones here as the park is quite small. The bugs are bothersome this morning and we have our bug nets on. About the only time we have had to deal with bugs was when we are near a stream. Another reason to keep our droms full and dry camp. The tide is ebbing and the water's edge is getting farther away. We continually have to move our boats out each time we bring a load down. Alas the last time I did not quite make it and had to drag my boat over fortunately soft muck.

 Early morning and the tide is going out.   

Early morning and the tide is going out.

 

 Glad we had the shelter to cook under.

Glad we had the shelter to cook under.

 Tide went out before i got the last load in. At least it was good ground to drag my boat.

Tide went out before i got the last load in. At least it was good ground to drag my boat.

With boats finally floating, we headed off to visit the Native village of Saxman,

 We were able to paddle close to the village and walk to look at the Totem poles.

We were able to paddle close to the village and walk to look at the Totem poles.

There were many totem poles representing different styles and stories. With no written language the Natives used the Totem poles to tell stories of the past.

 This totem was about Seward, when he came to visit the village. He was given many gifts, but did not give any out. Therefore they made a ridicule pole about him.

This totem was about Seward, when he came to visit the village. He was given many gifts, but did not give any out. Therefore they made a ridicule pole about him.

 Interesting place to learn some history.

Interesting place to learn some history.

As we left Saxman and headed toward the main part of Ketchikan, the activity level of the area increased immensely.  There were 4 cruise ships in town and we had to paddle by them. Cruise ships often spend the day at a port. This enables the passengers to visit the area and spend their money on tours. With 4 ships at the dock there were around 10,000 visitors checking out the town. It was crowded on the land as well as on the sea. The wind was blowing from the North and the ships that we had to paddle by was like paddling next to a cliff.

 This will be interesting getting thru town.

This will be interesting getting thru town.

 There were 4 ships that we had to paddle past today.

There were 4 ships that we had to paddle past today.

 With the wind coming from the North, it was funneling the wind by the ship. 

With the wind coming from the North, it was funneling the wind by the ship. 

Ketchikan is spread out for about 2 miles along the shore. There are several boat harbors and we were looking for the one with the US custom station. Somehow with all the activity we managed to miss it. We paddled to the last harbor where the harbor master was located, Upon calling the custom office we discovered that we had missed the offices by a mile.  I was not going to paddle back, I would walk back if need be. No worries said the officer, just stay there and we will be there as soon as we can. Sure enough in about 10 minutes, here comes Mark, the enthusiastic kayaker custom officer that Don had talked to in Prince Rupert. He was not actually working in customs that day, but the woman who had come to check us out invited him along. He had paddled the route that we were about to do to Juneau and shared a lot of information with us. Finally the other officer said we need to get back to work. Mark said that there is usually only about a dozen people that check in at Ketchikan. Guess that is the reason we are not seeing many kayakers. We are the first ones to check in this year.  After we had cleared customs so to speak, we checked in at the harbor master and got permission to stage for the next leg of our trip outside on the lawn in front of the building. 

 It was conveniently located to the Post office and grocery stores

It was conveniently located to the Post office and grocery stores

As I unloaded the boats, Don headed off to get our packages that Jeff had sent. When he returned it was major organization. One of the small packages was from Ryan who had sent a boat ornament for Don's boat and Jeff had replaced mine since I had lost it in a wind storm.

 Thing and Esri 2

Thing and Esri 2

 

 

     We are about 15 days ahead of where we thought we would be so plan on sending several boxes to Petersburg. This will give us an option of perhaps getting to Skagway before the course we are planning to work towards the end of July in Petersburg. So going with the flow and will see what happens. Don talked to his Dad and brother his Dad is stable, but does not seem to be getting much better. We treated ourselves to ice cream and fresh fruit! This stop has taken longer than we planned, but to our good fortune, the wind has died and we will have some current with us with us.  We want to stop at a place called Totem Bight. It will be closed, but there is access from the water and we should be able to see the totems. Our timing could not have been better as we pulled into the park, the sun was at a level to make everything glow.

The first building was a replica of a long house.  The CCC had worked on this park in the 30's and the attention to detail was obvious.

 The long House

The long House

Scattered around in a circle were a number of totems. All with stories to tell.

 Helpful Information

Helpful Information

 A thoughtful poem

A thoughtful poem

We hated to leave this place , but the sun was setting and we had to find a campsite. All along the shore were people sitting around fires. We were beginning to wonder if we might be sleeping in our boats. It was a beautiful evening and a lot of people were out enjoying it.

 Moving past Ketchikan.

Moving past Ketchikan.

Just as we beginning to give up hope, we approached a beach that had just what we needed. A place to put our tent in the forest. A good thing cause the light was beginning to disappear.

 If we did not have a big crossing we might have just paddled till dawn.

If we did not have a big crossing we might have just paddled till dawn.

Nautical miles paddled 12

June 22, 2016

It was a good decision to spend a day at this camp. It never cleared until late at night. We were awake at 4 feeling well rested and decided to get up, have breakfast and depart. The tide was up as well so it was easier to load. There was still some fog in the area, but nothing like yesterday.

 At least we can see the other side.

At least we can see the other side.

A little wind some waves, but they were working with us so we felt content.

 Heading toward Ketchikan.

Heading toward Ketchikan.

Our first break was shared with many purple and orange Sea Stars. Not sure what they were doing, but it made for some good photo shots.

 Sea Stars

Sea Stars

 And more Sea Stars

And more Sea Stars

As we continue North, a fishing trawler came into view.  This is the only type of fishing boat that we have not seen pull in their catch.  The early king salmon caught this way bring a good price.    

 The lines are out and ready.

The lines are out and ready.

As we were approaching the town of Ketchikan, the sun came out, the seas flattened and the mountains came into view. We plan to camp at Black Sand Beach State Park and arrive to Ketchikan tomorrow.

 It is a good day to paddle.

It is a good day to paddle.

And the water only gets calmer!

 WOW

WOW

 

As we were heading to our campsite, a fisherman yelled over to us and wanted to know if we wanted a freshly netted king salmon. We took him up on his offer and looked forward to having it for dinner.

 Pretty fresh fish.

Pretty fresh fish.

Campsite comes to view and we head into shore. This day started out a bit foggy, rainy and windy, but ended up being like paddling on a lake in the summer,

 Home for the night.

Home for the night.

Nautical miles paddled 29

 

 

 

 

June 21, 2016

During the night the rain started falling and when we looked out from the tent in the morning the fog was quite thick, the visibility was low. After rethinking our strategy we decided to spend the day here.

 Would't be much to see today.

Would't be much to see today.

Don went to pick some huckleberries for pancakes and I set up a rain water collector with the umbrella. Looks like it is going to be a good day to nap, read, check out the charts and bake some bread.

 So far we have used mostly rainwater for drinking. Guess it rains a fair bit here.

So far we have used mostly rainwater for drinking. Guess it rains a fair bit here.

This was a great hang day. We have been on the water for over a month and this is only our third day of no paddling. We are really glad that we have dry suits. Being warm and dry is a great benefit of paddling the Inside Passage.

Nautical miles paddled Zero!