Friday, June 26, 2009

#27 – Kake to Baby Bear Bay

Our crew, Commodore Dick and Harriet Squire, arrived yesterday afternoon, June 25th, from LA-Juneau via Tree Top Airlines aka Wings of Alaska. The weather was just OK yesterday so we hung out last night in Kake. Pat created some wonderful crab cakes from the volumes prepared and pulled by Karen and Bill.

This morning we departed at 9AM for Baranof Island, hopefully making an anchorage in Peril Strait before a big storm hits tonight. Originally we were to visit Red Bluff Bay and Warm Springs Bay on the east side of Baranof, but those anchorages were not that protected from the expected big Southeast winds. We entered Frederick Sound then South Chatham Channel going north. We also watched yacht Yachette on our AIS pull into Warm Springs Bay, one of our original destinations. Later we met and chatted with owner Mike in Sitka and he told us he had quite a bit of wind in that evening.

Our route from Kake to Baby Bear Bay in Peril Strait

Chatham Channel was pretty tame, but instead of fishing, the fishing boats we saw seemed to be hurrying to a secure anchorage. Just before we were about to make our left turn into Peril Strait, a giant humpback surfaced just next to the boat. He wasn't very good at posing for a photo, so we began our search for an anchorage in Peril Strait Our first candidate was Appleton Cove, a popular anchorage, which was confirmed when we cruised in at 3PM and found 7 boats already there. We then decided to give Baby Bear Bay a try as it is located just 3 miles before Sergius Narrows. The Narrows are really fast rapids (as much as 8 knots today) at all times except near slack. At Baby Bear we could hang out to just before slack tide and brave the Narrows with peace of mind.

The entrance to Baby Bear Bay would be mighty scary at low tide!

We arrived at the entrance to Baby Bear Bay at 5PM after a full 8-hour day of motoring. The entrance is a bit tricky with a U-turn around a reef and a skinny channel with shoals. We had +12 feet of tide, so although it looked scary on the chart, we made the Bay without issues. Four other boats were already anchored, and we managed to squeeze into a spot between them and the shore, putting out a bit more scope than usual. The weather forecast calls for 25-35 knot winds from the SE, with 40+ gusts. We set the GPS to sound an alarm if the anchor begins to drag. Alex will sleep in the salon, with one eye open.

Bowl-shaped Baby Bear Bay affords excellent all-weather protection.

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