July 9, 2005

Color this day gray. From start to end the sky has been gray, the water gray, and the incessant rain has even made the air seem gray. The one highlight of the day’s cruise involved spotting several whales. They were the only exception to the theme of gray, being not gray whales but humpback whales. We spotted two different groups, the first off Farragut Bay and the second near Cape Fanshaw. We got quite close to one in the second group.

We departed Petersburg around 9 am, just as the rain was starting. I kept the throttle around 2200 rpm throughout the day, in an effort to conserve fuel. Our speed varied between 5 and 6 knots. We were able to raise the sail for a good part of the day, which undoubtedly helped. I’m hoping that we will be able to save enough fuel to allow us to explore both Endicott Arm and Tracy Arm in the coming days.

We sit at anchor on an inside channel just north of Cape Fanshaw. The 57 foot trawler Burnt Sand is anchored just north of us. We were moored near her at Wrangell, and she passed us up on the Narrows, on the way to Petersburg. We haven’t talked with them yet, but have heard them on the radio. We have another boat sharing the anchorage, a small cruise ship named Spirit of ’98. She pulled into the channel an hour ago and to our surprise, slowed and anchored. Fortunately she’s a good distance away, since her generator is running, and will likely run all night.

I heard a sailboat named Tranquility talking on the radio with the Coast Guard regarding a call for help from someone in Tracy Arm. Tranquility was able to report that the problem had been resolved. I radioed Tranquility to inquire regarding ice conditions in Tracy Arm. She advised that the Arm is quite choked, South Sawyer worse that North Sawyer. She was able to work all the way in to the glacier in North Sawyer, but it sounded rather difficult. I doubt that I will subject our boat to the same risks. Our hull is much more tender than that of a 42 foot ketch.

I’m debating whether to go out in the rain to try for halibut and crab. I bought bait in Petersburg before departing, and got information that this area could be good for both. I’m quite warm and dry inside the cabin, following a very nice dinner. It will be hard to go out in the rain, to a dinghy with 4 inches of rainwater in it, and slosh around with crab and fishing gear. We shall see.

We did listen to an encouraging weather forecast this evening. They are forecasting one sunny day in the next 5, on Monday, and a couple of days on either side where rain wasn’t mentioned. I don’t know what we would do with 3 straight days without rain.

Distance for the day: 39 nm; total for the trip: 1115 nm; location, just above 57 degrees north.

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