June 15, 2005

10:20 pm, anchored in placid Rescue Bay on Mathieson Channel. Vivid reds and purples of a spectacular sunset are still fading in the western sky, a half moon overhead. For the past 2 hours we were privileged to watch, from the safety of the dinghy and boat, a young grizzly grazing along the shoreline. We spotted him in the low angle evening sunlight along a grassy shore, and moved to within 200 yards of him in the dinghy, snapping digital photos as we slowly rowed toward him. He is a beautiful animal, light brown coat, with powerful dark brown forearms, a dark stripe down his back, and an interesting dark brown V on the top of his head. Earlier today, while out in the dinghy fishing, I heard a pack of wolves howling in the forest above the bay. They produced a lovely chorus.

Not all went well today, however. I fought a losing battle with the kicker motor, which I tried to use for the first time on the trip. First problem was locating the key to the lock. Finally found it and got the little 3.5 hp outboard mounted on the stern of the dinghy. I fueled the tank on top of the motor, and noticed fuel leaking from the front, just below the throttle. I cracked the case open and looked hopefully for a loose fuel line, but everything was tight. I dried up the seepage, and tried to start it. She fired up, briefly, but continued to leak. I finally had to concede defeat, drain the gas out of the motor, and hang her back up on the motor mount on back of Chinook. I’m not sure what to do about this. The leak seems to come from the throttle mechanism, but is an internal problem. I fear parts will be very hard to come by in this region.

The cruise today was very pleasant. Started around 6 am, with overcast skies. Ran down Seaforth Channel, and then turned up Reid Passage, a neat but narrow passage that enables you to avoid entering Milbanke Channel, which is open to the Pacific. We got in to Rescue Bay at noon, and had a great soup and cracker lunch. We were the only ones here when we arrived, but before long, the power cruisers began pulling in. There are 6 boats anchored in the bay, lots of room for everyone. One of the boats was at Shearwater. Nice single guy named John, from Anacortes. He cruises with his airedale named Charlie.

Distance for the day: 34 nm Total for the trip: 356 nm

June 16, 2005

The days keep getting longer. Dark around 10:30 pm. I’m getting into a pattern of waking around 5 am, turning the coffee on shortly thereafter, then preparing to get underway, with actual departure time depending on how far we plan to go for the day, and such factors as tides and currents. Try to arrive at destination by early afternoon, explore or fish a little, back to the boat for cocktail hour at 4 or 5 pm, nap afterwards, then dinner around 7 pm. Evening row after dinner, and to bed around 11. Don’t know how that routine will hold as days get even longer, but that’s how it is for now.

Got underway around 8 am today. A little breezy heading up Mathieson Channel, but the wind died down after an hour. The further we ran, the more spectacular the country got. Nice sunny morning, and near the start of Fiordlands Recreation Area we found our first waterfall. Lovely cascade dropping a couple hundred feet, directly into the channel. Nearing the entrance to Kynoch Inlet we could see the dramatic falls on the far side, that greets visitors to this remote and beautiful waterway. It strongly resembles Yosemite Valley if flooded. Striking granite domes and glaciated features, with snow capped peaks forming the backdrop. Waterfalls and cascades wherever you look. We cruised about 7 or 8 miles up this dead end inlet, stopping ¾ way up for a lunch break at the base of a waterfall. Sun warmed the cockpit and the air was still. We just sat there, drifting, yet hardly moving. Around the next corner was the head of the inlet and the entrance to Culpepper Lagoon. This intimate saltwater lake lies at the extreme head of Kynoch, and is entered through a narrow pass. Entrance must be made at slack water, since the narrows is a saltwater rapids during ebb or flood. Flood currents can hit 9 knots on certain tides. We arrived an hour before slack, on a change to flood (low tide). Most boats have to wait for high water, but with our shallow draft we were able to enter without difficulty. Current estimated at 2 knots about 40 minutes before slack. Once inside, it’s like cruising up an alpine lake, except that there are jellyfish and seals in the water. Towering granite walls and dramatic snow covered peaks surround on nearly all sides.

We anchored near the head of the lagoon, but it was a struggle. Deep water all the way to the head, then rapidly shoaling to the delta at the mouth of the river. After a couple unsuccessful tries with the plow, I resorted to the faithful danforth, which works better in sand, which I figured was down there. It still took a couple tries before it hooked firmly. We went ashore for an explore, and to burn our trash. While there, Sandy spotted a little mink rambling along the mudflats, generally in our direction. She got her camera ready, and he kept on wandering toward us, until he stopped not more than 15 feet away. She got a terrific picture of the little guy.

After cocktail hour, nap, and dinner, we spotted another boat, a cutter from Vancouver named Nerus II, cruising toward us. We had hoped to have the place to ourselves, but this was not to be. They also had difficulty finding a good place to anchor, but finally got set. We went for a row up the inlet river at high tide at twilight, hoping to see wildlife. Only a few birds out. Back to the boat and bed.

30 nm for the day; 386 nm total

June 17, 2005

Butedale. Fascinating place. Old, abandoned cannery, with buildings and docks in various states of deterioration and collapse. In the midst of this slow but steady decline to the forces of nature stands Lou, the delightful caretaker. I’m guessing he’s in his mid 70’s, and he’s here by himself, one dog (only survivor of the entire litter – all others gotten by wolves) and one cat. He’s slowly pulling things together. He can sell you some gas, some ice, some pop, a shower, and tie up space at his floats. He’s been here 4 years, and he says it seems like yesterday. He doesn’t know where the time has gone. He’s gotten a water turbine power plant going by some amazing means. He produces DC power, stored in banks of batteries and converted to AC by means of an inverter. Electric wires snake around to various buildings and equipment. He can produce 1000 watts. He says you can do a lot with 1000 watts. His water system is equally innovative. I don’t think the building inspector or electrical inspector gets around here very often. We’re tied up at Lou’s float for the night, hoping the cruise ship and BC ferry wakes won’t rock us too badly.

Long run today, but the best day weather wise thus far. Beautiful morning, and I raised anchor at 7:30 am. Light down lake breeze, so I raised the jib and quietly glided down the lagoon. Sandy joined me on deck for a breakfast of oatmeal and juice, while basking in warm morning sunlight. The breeze failed us halfway down the lagoon, so I fired up the motor and we cruised toward the narrows. I wasn’t in too big of a hurry, since I didn’t want to hit the narrows too early in the flood tide. Got there about 40 minutes before the turn, and had no problems getting out into the main channel. We had a stiff down channel breeze, so unfurled the jib and motor sailed for several miles. Finally, the winds became too erratic and so I rolled the sail up and continued on under power. We ran back down Kynoch Inlet to Mathieson Channel, then headed north to Mathieson Narrows and out into Sheep Passage. The run to the narrows was against a stiff breeze, with lots of whitecaps, but after passing the narrows we turned southwest and again had the wind at our back. I set the jib again, and was able to turn the motor off for several hours, averaging 6 knots just with the jib. Down wind sailing on these narrow channels keeps you on your toes, though, with wind direction repeatedly shifting as we passed side canyons. As we neared Finlayson Channel and Princess Royale Channel we picked up a headwind, so furled the sail for the day. We motored through Hiekish Narrows, and then proceeded up Princess Royale. This is a broad and fairly straight passage, which is on the main cruising lane of the Inside Passage. We were passed by the large BC Ferry Queen of the North, second time we’ve seen her. She kickes up a big wake. We were also passed by a fishing boat and a couple of pleasure craft. Stunning day, weather wise. First day of the trip with absolutely not one drop of rain. Glad we made it all the way to Butedale. This will be a good jump of place for our short run to Bishop Bay Hot Springs, where we plan to enjoy a nice long soak in the thermally heated water.

Distance for the day: 56 nm Total for the trip: 440 nm

June 18, 2005

Kicking back on a lovely cedar plank veranda, overlooking a very choppy Bishop Bay. We’re tied up at the little dock, and it was calm when we arrived. We’re on the exposed side, which was fine before the afternoon breeze came up. Full fetch of the bay is hitting us broadside, and our little boat is really rocking. Which is why we’re enjoying the evening, sitting in our folding chairs on this very stable open air deck, with the lovely view of rocking boats.

Started the day in leisurely fashion, to a wonderful, sunny morning. Enjoyed breakfast in the cockpit, and wandered up to the cook shack around 8:30. Found Lou up and drinking coffee. He had been up late (2am)with the two guys on the fishing boat. He told a few more stories. I asked him if he had a burn barrel where I could burn our garbage. He said bring it up. He took me over to one of the dilapidated buildings, a former dormatory. We walked down the old corridor to one of the far rooms. He pulled up a trap door cover and said “Toss her in”, and I did. The crawl space was full of trash bags. Solid waste disposal, Butedale style.

We said our goodbyes around 9 am and shoved off. The cruise up Princess Royale Channel was highlighted by a great show put on by a helicopter logging operation. We spotted two big barges, one fully loaded with logs, and the second well on its way. An old ship hull with a dormatory style building constructed on deck was cabled to shore in a shallow cove. On the roof of one part of the building was a helicopter, and on the stern end was a stubby, twin opposing rotor lifting copter. We had a ringside seat as the lifting copter took off, flew over to the mountainside, and picked up a load of logs. He then flew down to the barge and laid the logs down. A self loader on the barge took over from there. He made trip after trip. The hillside where the logs were coming from showed no signs of the timber removal.

We crossed over to the east side of the channel. As I cruised along, about 200 yards off shore, I glanced over toward shore, just in time to see the back of a humpback whale arch clear of the surface and slowly bend back beneath the sea, about 50 yards away. I called to Sandy, and we watched excitedly as the whale came up again, headed in the opposite direction. We slowly circled around and watched, as two whales showed themselves. They tail slapped, and waved their pectoral fins at us, slowly working their way down channel. After about 15 minutes of this, we reluctantly turned back on course and continued our northward cruise.

We rounded into Ursula Channel, heading northeast, toward Bishop Bay Hot Spring. The water was deep blue and rippled by a light chop, a truly lovely day, tee shirt weather. And we had the entire channel to ourselves, not another boat in sight ahead or behind, as far as we could see. As we neared the entrance to Bishop Bay, I spotted a dolphin ahead and toward shore. Sandy watched for it, and saw one making a splashy rush across the surface. First one, then another, and soon we realized we were seeing a whole school of dolphins. I slowed to an idle, and to our amazement, the school rushed in our direction. We took turns standing on the bow, watching a spectacular show. Dolphins would zoom through the water just in front of the boat. We could see them below the surface, perhaps 15 feet down. They darted, surfaced, changed direction, and disappeared, only to turn and make another rush. We concluded that they were Pacific White Sided dolphins, and were busy feeding. Very exciting show. After about 15 minutes of this, they moved off, and we continued our way into Bishop Bay.

At the head of this bay is a very popular hot spring. I was hoping against hope that we would have this place, on this beautiful day, to ourselves. I rounded the corner and was pleased to note a completely empty bay, not a single boat at the little dock near the hot spring. We had cruised to within a half mile of the dock, when I heard the sound of a boat motor from behind. I looked and spotted an aluminum power boat tearing across the water, toward the dock. I continued fendering the boat for a port side tie up, and wouldn’t you know it, this guy passed me up within 200 yards of the dock and tied up port side. I switched fenders to the starbard side, and thus ended up on the exposed side of the dock. The people on board turned out to be really nice, a bit loud, but friendly, from the nearby town of Kitimat. Soon another boat entered the bay, a sailboat, which turned out to be the red sloop that had passed us on Queen Charolette Sound, and shared the anchorage at Fougner Bay. We finally got to meet them. Nice folks from Sidney, BC. While talking with them, a big crab boat cruised into the bay. He rolled right on in, and tried to raft to the red sailboat. His bow was almost against our stern. Finally he decided to pull back out and wait for the Kitimat boat to leave.

We wandered the beach to pass the afternoon, and I went for a swim, it was that hot. Once the hot spring was vacated, we went up for our bath. It was wonderful. After that, we barbqued rock cod fillets, courtesy of Lou, and watched as 3 other power boats arrived, all rafting to other boats. Really getting crowded here. Got to quit now. A log is drifting in toward our boat. Have to fend off, so will sign off.

464 miles total, 24 miles for the day.

June 19, 2005

10 pm and like a mill pond at Lowe’s Inlet, a lovely alcove along the 50 mile long, straight as an arrow Grenville Channel. A real contrast with last evening, with that nasty south westerly breeze barreling down Bishop Bay, bringing with it a rough chop, right onto the dock and broadside to our boat. I had 5 fenders between me and the dock. Our mast swung a 30 degree arc at times, and seemed to almost want to jump right onto the dock when that chop hit her. It didn’t begin to settle down until around 10 pm. We sat on folding chairs on the dock until then, since it was too bouncy on board.

Got started around 6 am today. Had to handline the boat around, 180 degrees, to get away, since a light breeze was still coming up the bay, and we were inside the red sailboat, with shore only 10 feet from our bow. Once we were turned around, it was no problem to get away. The bay was still rough, but the water smoothed out once we gained Uganda Passage. Big change in weather, with solid overcast and a threat of rain. We rounded the north tip of Grinnell Island and cruised down Verney Channel, and then across Douglas Channel to Hartley Bay. Hartley is a picturesque Indian village, with a very welcome fuel dock. We ran out of gas in the starboard main fuel tank a few miles short, and came in on our last 12 gallon tank, just about how I’d figured. This was our longest run between fueling, at 167 miles since Shearwater. It’s Sunday and things were really quiet at Hartley, but we finally roused a guy who turned the pump on. Overall mileage for the run from Shearwater was 5.25 m/g, which is just fine. We had about a 50 mile cushion in range, and I was glad to have every extra gallon in the portable gas cans.

Got quickly underway, and passed down Spencer Narrows and around the corner, into Grenville Channel. While swinging into the channel, we noticed a pretty green sailboat, also heading for Grenville from a slightly different angle. He had his sail out, but before I could swing around to his heading, the wind had swung to our nose, and sailing was out of the question. We motored together up the channel, with my speed a bit higher than his. We finally recognized him as the last boat to come in to Bishop Bay. He was rafted on the outside of the group at the dock, and we never got the chance to talk. Boat name is Morning Star. A few miles up the channel we picked up a tail wind, and we both put out our jibs for some motor sailing. He slowly pulled ahead, but after the wind fell, I moved back in the lead under power. As we turned into Lowe Inlet, we met a big southbound NOAA research vessel. The inlet is in a pretty alcove, with Verney Falls at the head. We anchored near a grassy shore, which is known to attract black and grizzly bears, although we have seen none today. We anchored without difficulty, although at low tide I swing a bit closer to shallows than I’d prefer. The bottom comes up very quickly here. We went out for a dinghy explore in the afternoon, and examined an old Indian fish trap on shore. A ring of barnacle encrusted rocks was created, many years ago, across the entrance to a shallow cove, to trap fish at low tide. It’s very similar, on a small scale, to the fish traps we’ve seen in Hawaii. I fished a little, hooked and lost a nice rockfish. I set the crab trap out, but so far have only managed to trap my own anchor line. I’ve got to remember to row further away before lowering the trap. We visited with the folks from Morning Star, who are from Sequim. They cruise up to Alaska, and then winter over. I think they have a wood burning stove on board. Very friendly people, and we hope we will run into them again along our way.

Tomorrow we’ll run up to Baker Inlet, and then after that, should make Prince Rupert.

48 miles for the day – 512 miles for the trip.

June 20, 2005

Day started out great. First thing, I pulled the crab trap and found I’d caught my first dungeness of the trip, a real dandy which would make for a fine dinner. Decided to row back across the lagoon to try for a rock fish, and that’s when things started to go downhill. About 3 minutes into the drift I snagged and lost my buzz bomb lure, and being without another, had no choice but to row back to the boat and prepare to get underway. I had planned to delay departure until about 10 am, which would work well for catching the last of the flood on the southern half of Grenville Channel, and then take advangtage of the switch in current direction midway, by getting a push from the ebb on the northern half. Good plan. Only one thing needed to put it into action. Ignition when you turn the key on. I knew I was in trouble when I found that the key had been left on the night before, after raising the motor. I hopefully turned the key and — nothing. Not even a slight turn. Dead silence. Not a good thing, since you can’t push start a MacGregor. Fortunately, while cruising, you can rely on fellow cruisers for assistance in such situations, so I rowed across to Morning Star, and told my tale of woe to the good folks we had met the day before. He grabbed his multitester and rowed over in his dinghy. I was out ahead, and pulling hard to get back first, and prepare the work area for a visitor. I must have been pulling harder than normal. In the midst of a stroke, the 4 pop rivets holding the starbard oarlock to the side of the porta-bote decided to fail. Great. Boat engine won’t start, and I can’t even row my dinghy. Had to get towed the rest of the way across.

We dug into the problem and quickly concluded that the problem was indeed a weak ignition battery, the result of both leaving the key on and some corroded terminals. Cleaning up the terminals helped, but there was still not enough in the battery to get it started. Just then, the fellow from Rain Shadow II rowedup in his zodiac to see if he could help. Indeed yes. He offered to bring his igintion battery over. We rigged up some jumper cables, jumped the battery, and she fired right up. With sincere thanks to helpful friends, we could now get underway. Problems weren’t over, though. I carefully monitored the voltmeter as we maneuvered out into Grenville Channel. Igintion battery was charging just fine. The house battery, however, didn’t seem to be getting any charge. It was low and getting lower. We turned off the chart system on the laptop, turned off the radio, and just ran the GPS. Loss of the ability to charge one’s service power can be disconcerting, especially after the preceding events. Nonetheless, northward we churned, through choppy waters and the spectacular scenery of Grenville Channel. In midafternoon, we spotted our first cruise ship, the Celebrity Cruise Lines ship Celebrity, approaching us from behind. She is really a spectacular sight on such a narrow channel, a virtual floating city that looks entirely too top heavy to stay upright.

Reached the entrance to Baker Inlet in late afternoon. The entrance is very narrow, and the channel leading to the lagoon gets progressively narrower. We hit an ebb tide, and the outflowing current must have been running at 4 knots. Really love the 50 hp in such situations. Most sailboats would have had to wait 4 hours before attempting this entrance. Watts Narrows, as the entrance is known, is really beautiful, with overhanging trees, mossy rocks and ferns growing on the steep sides. I couldn’t really appreciate the beauty, however, with all my attention focused on staying in the center of the channel. As recommended in the cruise guide, we blasted with the horn to announce our approach to any outward bound vessels. None were met. In fact, for the first time in the trip, we achieved our desire of complete isolation at an anchorage, Nettle Basin at the head of Baker Inlet. And this was one time that we would have appreciated some company, since we weren’t completely confident of that ignition battery. We set the anchor at the head of the lovely basin, and turned the motor off. I showed a strong charge, and was quite certain things would be fine, but when it fails once, your confidence gets weakened.

Finally, things began to improve, thanks to that crab that had started the day so hopefully. We did all our cooking on the barbque, since we didn’t want to run the galley stove, which uses some electric power. That crab made for a wonderful dinner.

27 miles for the day; 539 total.

June 21, 2005

Summer solstice, and the longest day of the year. I’m sitting in the cockpit in my tee shirt at 8:15 pm, tied up to a calm slip at the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club marina. We’ve successfully completed the first leg of adventure, with 580 miles of water having passed our keel. The sun is still about 20 degrees above the horizon, and won’t set until 10:19 pm here. They’re having a big Aboriginal Days celebration here, and we can hear the music from the park above. Big group, having a fine time. We walked up earlier and watched some traditional dancing. Very colorful, all age groups involved and everyone enjoying themselves. There must be a dozen or more eagles hanging out around the waterfront area, providing dramatic flying demonstrations.

We got a fairly early start, in order to exit Watts Narrows fairly close to low tide slack.

We arrived there about a half hour before slack, and really enjoyed the cruise out. It was a very low tide (full moon) and some amazing sea creatures were plastered on the rock walls of the channel. We were going too fast to really appreciate them, however. The north half of Grenville Channel was quite smooth, but things started getting choppy as we entered Chatham Sound, which is really quite big water, and with a reputation for roughness. Fortunately, it never got so rough as to be uncomfortable, nothing like our crossing of Queen Charolette Sound. We made our way into Prince Rupert harbor, dodging the Alaska State Ferry Malaspina on our way in. We fueled at the fuel dock next to the marina, a place which caters to fishing boats. Entrance between the big fish boats was difficult, but we managed. It felt great to get tied up in the marina, place a call to Todd at Blue Water Yachts to pick his brain about the house battery charging problem (he had it diagnosed in ½ minute, and head uptown to see about parts. This will be a good rest and refit stop to prepare for our actual entrance into Alaskan waters.

Distance for the day: 41 nm; total for trip: 580 nm

Fueled – 17 gallons, averaging 5.3 mph since Hartley Bay

June 22, 2005

Layover in Prince Rupert, and a lot of necessary tasks accomplished. I talked with Todd at Blue Water, and arranged for the battery combiner to be mailed to Ketchikan. I then walked into town and bought parts to make a jumper with switch, between the two batteries, for a temporary fix. I also installed a fuse to the radio circuit, and I bought and installed a new bruce type anchor. I’m hopeful that this type will work better up here. Most boats I see carry them. My biggest challenge was fixing the fuel leak in the kicker motor, and getting it to run. I checked the carburator bowl, and it was full of sand and gunk, probably sucked up when I ran it into shallows last year. It cleaned up easily, and after a bit of fussing around, I managed to get it running. Hurray. Didn’t even drop any parts overboard. Sandy made a shopping run up to the grocery, and I got ice for the cooler and filled the water tank. We wrapped up by early afternoon, which left enough time to walk up to the Northern BC Museum. Wonderful place, most enjoyable. We went out for a seafood dinner at Smiles, and wrote post cards while waiting for dinner. Back at the boat I managed to go on line, and caught up on e’mail, and sent Ken a message, with cruise log attachments. Finally. We finished off the evening by walking over to watch the cruise ship Mercury come into port. Chris and Bob are on that ship, and we hoped to spot them at the rail. In that we were disappointed. Couldn’t see them, so we retired to the boat and a late turn in.

June 23, 2005

Today we started the next leg of our journey north. A drizzle began around 5 am, and so I rose to put up the cockpit enclosure. We quickly finished preparations to depart, and we were underway by 6. We transitted the narrow, twisting Venn Passage just before low tide, and then turned north, along an inside route up the Portland Inlet. We had a southerly breeze, which allowed us to motor sail nearly all the way up. On the basis of information gained in Prince Rupert, we decided to modify our route with a side trip up Khutzaymateen Inlet. This inlet winds about 9 miles back into rugged snowy moutains. The primary attraction of this area is the grizzly bear sanctuary, the only one in Canada. We arrived at the ranger station around 3 pm, and checked in. We paid $20 to be able to stay overnight in the sanctuary, and cruised up toward the head of the inlet. We found a good place to drop the hook, and my new bruce set right away. That’s more like it. It was raining as we came in, but stopped by the time we anchored. I attached the kicker to the dinghy and we set out to explore. After a little stubbornness in running, the motor finally decided to cooperate, and we headed for the grassy delta where the river joins the inlet, determined to see our money’s worth of grizzly bears. We putted nearly to the head of the inlet before Sandy spotted the first bear. He was grazing away in the tall grass, quite a distance away. I shut the motor off and started rowing. While I rowed, we started seeing bears all over. First one off to the right next to a clump of willows. Then one hanging out around a downed log. Motion to the right, a sow and two cubs hustling for cover. What an amazing place. Reluctantly, we realized it was the dinner hour, so turned back toward the boat. I decided to stop and talk with some crab fishmermen who are working this inlet. We pulled up to Johnnie Boy, and were greeted by 3 cheerful young men, Vietnamese I think. We talked a bit about crabbing (price down, fuel cost up, crabbing ok). They had about 180 on the big holding cage, suspended in the water behind the boat. They asked if we’d like some crab, and we said sure. He pulled the holding cage up, an amazing sight, and passed 3 big dungeness over to us. I tried to pay, but he wouldn’t hear it. Dinner plans changed abruptly. The barbque is boiling on the stern, with half the crab in it. The other half will cook up tomorrow. Things are tough, but we’ll manage somehow. On the way back to the boat with our crab we spied another bear on the grassy delta right next to where we’re anchored. Cute young bear, lounging around and munching on grass. It’s real cozy inside the cabin, with rain drizzling down, warm spiced cider in the mug, and crab soon to be served.

Distance for theday: 52 nm; total for the trip: 632 nm

Getting 300 miles for each gallon of engine oil

June 24, 2005

Almost 10 pm here in Foggy Bay (11pm Alaska time), and the sun hasn’t yet set. Our first day in Alaska, and it has been a fine one. We got underway just after 6, skies gray, ceiling very low. While I was transferring the kicker motor to its mount on the stern of Chinook, Sandy announced that the stove wasn’t running. Bad start to the day. I tried it again, and no go. Got underway without morning coffee. However, shortly afterward, it started for
Sandy so all was well. We saw no grizzlies on our way out, but we did enjoy a nice ebbing current, which helped our speed and fuel economy. We continued to make good progress down Steamer Passage. We were passed by a Canadian Coast Guard cutter. Once clear of Steamer Passage, we cut across Portland Inlet, which was our biggest open water of the day. Nice crossing, with lazy rollers, well spaced and not too high. We then entered a series of narrow passages between islands as we neared the Alaska boundary. We crossed over shortly after noon, and marked the occasion by replacing the Canadian maple leaf courtesy flag with the Alaska state flag. I gave a blast with the conk horn and we continued on our way. We rounded Cape Fox on the edge of Dixon Entrance waters, and proceeded up the coast about 12 miles, to Foggy Bay. We tried hard to spot some whales along the way,but no luck. We did see our first sea lion. The entrance to Foggy Bay anchorage is a bit confusing, but thanks to Douglas’ cruise guide and very accurate coordinates, we cruised right in. Beautiful place, and very calm. We found our friends on
Morning Star pulling in shortly afterward. We went for a dinghy explore after getting settled, and the motor ran just fine. Got back to the boat around 5:30 pm and got ready to cook up the rest of our crab. We spotted a beautiful, very large black bear on shore, grazing on grass. Talked later with Rich and Laurie, and they also saw a brown bear while entering. Crab louie dinner was outstanding. I went out for an evening dinghy cruise, and found the most amazing clam bed, with dozens and dozens spurting fountains of water up simultaneously. Quite comical. Tomorrow we head for Ketchikan, to clear customs and visit our first Alaska city. Oh yes, the weather today was spectacular. Just as we crossed into Alaska waters, the sun came out and it was wonderful.

Distance for the day: 55 nm; total for the trip: 687 nm.