July 8, 2005

Went for a nice walk last night, after dinner. Visited the Sons of Norway hall and memorial to lost sailors, where they also have on display a Viking long boat. The sun came out late, making for some beautiful views of town and the surrounding mountains. The setting for Petersburg is really striking, with snow capped peaks to the east, across Fredrick Sound.

Foggy first thing this morning, but after breakfast it began to lift. We tied the dinghy up in the slip and took Chinook out on her own. Destination: the Le Conte Glacier, about 15 miles east of Petersburg. The sound was flat, and without the dinghy to worry about, and with a fuel dock conveniently located in town, we opened up the throttle for the first time on the trip. She responded nicely, getting on step at 13 knots, and we quickly crossed the sound toward the glacier. We soon began seeing iceburgs, scattered along the far shore and clogging the sound ahead of us. They got more numerous and bigger, the further we went. By the time we neared the entrance to Le Conte Bay, they were everywhere, from basketball size to some larger than a residential lot. Most were white, but many of the big ones displayed a characteristic deep blue color, most beautiful. We had to slow down and navigate carefully to avoid striking one as we worked our way into the bay. We saw an eagle perched atop one berg, and some were covered with gulls. Inside the bay, the bergs were much thicker, and we spotted some with harbor seals hauled out on them. We ate a lunch in a small open area, but it began getting nerve wracking, trying to avoid colliding with them. As it was, I did hit 2 with the stern while turning to avoid some in the bow. We never did get close enough to see the source of all this ice, since the bergs were so dense that we turned back well before getting far enough in to actually sight the glacier. We watched a couple of big excursion boats plowing through the ice on their way out. Apparently their hulls are tough enough to take hits from the bergs, but I wasn’t about to try that maneuver. Once back on open water, we opened up and made another quick run across the flat waters of Fredrick Sound. Hit 14 knots on the way back.

This evening we’ll go out to dinner and then decide whether to lay over tomorrow or shove off for parts north. We have several days of nice weather forecast, and it would be nice to get into quality scenery in nice weather for a change.

Distance for the day: 35 nm; total for the trip: 1076 nm

Bought 9.5 gallons of fuel; mileage with 2 high speed runs w/o dinghy: 3.7 mpg

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