Sunday, July 5, 2009

#31 – Sitka to Kalinin Bay, Kruzof Island

Today's anchorage is just outside Peril Strait at the top of Kruzof Island. This has been good fishing grounds for Yachette, and owner Mike and crew landed three King salmon just along the northwest coastline last week. We hope we're as lucky (or good!).

Our crew is completing their Sitka tour this morning and then the boys are rendezvousing at the marine store for last minute fishing gear. Gerard wants to rig the tender for trolling. I think this is gonna work!

Wild Blue tender with trolling gear

The weather continues to be hot, 80+ today, and although the water temp is 54, Bob goes for a swim off the boat, albeit a short one. After everybody is back aboard, we depart Sitka at 3PM, northbound.

A rather large yacht, Ice Bear is 174 feet long.

Say good bye to Sitka and thanks for a great time!

Today's route to Kalinin Bay

The weather is sunny and warm as we move north. The Wild Blue's sun lounges are splayed out on the boat deck, and some crew are even sporting Alaska Ambers. The wind is light and all is copasetic, as we pass several fish boats on the way to Sitka, with full loads we hope.

About two hours into our cruise, dense fog envelopes us and we now focus on the radar. In narrow Neva Strait, we are forced to switch the radar between 1.5 and .75 mile ranges to detect moving boats coming at us. Suddenly, while following a blip coming towards us at ½ mile, the VHF radio blurts: “Wild Blue this is Voyager at ½ mile, we're moving to our right and propose a port-to-port passing. What say?” We respond “Voyager, Wild Blue thanks for the call. We'll move to our right as well and go port-to-port. Wild Blue, out.” Eventually we sighted Voyager at 1/8 mile, a larger fishing vessel. Fishing vessels typically won't use an AIS transponder as it would give way their position to other fishermen. But it's good to know that some are equipped with an AIS receiver, can see us on their chart plotter, and used that information to hail us by name.

After 40 minutes of “fog cruising” we arrive in Kalinin Bay and anchor along with two fishing boats and five other cruisers. The tender, now rigged for salmon trolling, is launched and Bob, Gerard and Alex head back outside. Using a “pink lady” and “deep six” diving planes with a herring hootchie, we begin trolling with the current, along the northern edge of Kruzof Island. With 20 minutes we have a 22-inch King salmon “shaker”, a hooked fish which has been netted but released because of it's small size. Maybe in other places 22 inches is enough, but it's a 28-inch minimum King salmon this year, for us non-residents fishing Alaskan waters. Within an hour we have two more shakers and head back with no fish “in-the-box”. The crew hits the hay at 11PM and will fish again at 5AM before we leave for Double Cove, on Chicagof Island's west coast.

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