Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#8 - Juneau to Sikta

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - Juneau

A new crew flew into Juneau today. We provisioned lightly hoping to empty the freezer still packed with poultry products.  We'll get underway tomorrow after dinner at the busy Twisted Fish restaurant. The Black Cod pan fired in lemon, butter and capers is awesome!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - Juneau to Funter Bay:  Crab Time Again

Obviously in this time of high fuel prices, one tends to cruise the least distance between destinations.  The shortest route from Juneau to Funter Bay is via Gastineau Channel across the Mendenhall Bar.  This Bar is marked with clear navigational aids, but drys completely at low tide, at times leaving a few boats high and dry as well.  A Mendenhall Bar crossing saves two hours but requires very high tide and steeled nerves.  Fortunately, we have neither so opt for the long way around Douglass Island.

This could happen if you misjudge the tides.  Unfortunately this was the case for Scrimshaw, which was anchored on July 2010 near Ketchikan, and got hung up on a rock on a minus tide.  Click for the Coast Guard summary.

After making a U-turn over the top of the Mansfield Penninsula on Admiralty Island, we cruise south to Funter Bay and find an open spot on the State float.  Since most of Alaska recreation is water bound, the State spends money on "water parks" in the form of docks in protected waters. These are heavily used by boaters and fill quickly as ours did today.

Funter Bay once had a cannery like so many well-protected Alaskan bays.

After tying up, we launched the tender and set a couple crab traps soaking for the night. We hope the males muscle out the females for our traps.

The Droid Group includes Carolyn French, Marianne Fonte, Vince Fonte and Chuck French all of San Luis Obispo.  Like most crew these days, when a cell tower is in range, their attention moves to smart phones.  Hopefully somebody is looking out for deadheads!

Our crew this week in the Fontes and Frenchs of San Luis Obispo.  These folks have a lot in common including real estate, retirement, poker, cowboy-ing and Droid phones.  The Droid Group has crewed with us many times in the past, held the biggest fish record (87-pound halibut) for the 2008 season, and survived the worst storm aboard Wild Blue (rounding Cape Chacon in 2008).  They are a fun group.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 - Funter Bay to Tenakee Springs: Dining on Fresh Crab

This morning we pulled our traps and found 5 legal sized crabs.  Only one was a female, so that left enough for dinner hors douerves.  We clean the crab at the handy fish cleaning station mounted on the end of the State float.  Unfortunately a crab kicked our best butcher block knife overboard.  Don't tell the Admiral.

We left Funter Bay cruising south in North Chatham Channel (the one in Alaska not British Columbia).  We were against the current and wind and ocean spray splattered the foredeck which was promptly washed away by the continuous rain.  Don't get me started on he rain.  This was supposed to be a sunny year per the weather almanac.  It's been raining since mid-June with one full day of sun. We arrived at the town of Tenakee Springs and tied at the nearly empty transient dock. We took a rainy walk "uptown" and were surprised to see a good mix of new and vintage buildings.  We chatted up a local resident who explained to us about Tenakee: it is its own city, has about 60 year-round residents, has city owned fuel and power station, a natural hot water spring and bath house, and has some homes that are heated with hot spring water.  Sounds like a nice place to be, but after living here 23 years, this resident is yearning for warmer winters!

A newer beach home and beach garden in Tenakee.

There are interesting character older homes and some are being restored.

The Tenakee beach collects various flotsem which become house decorations.

Crew Vince was raised in Italy and is an expert Italian chef.  Tonight's entree, after fresh crab with garlic butter, is Pasta Carbonara a Fonte family favorite.  It's now a Wild Blue favorite too.

Remove shells and boil crab legs in seawater with Pappy seasoning. Add hot spices if desired. Remove from boiling water after about 10 minutes as crab will continue to cook.  Serve warm with garlic butter.  

Vince prepares Pasta Carbonara per his family recipe.

Friday, July 1, 2011 -  Tenakee Springs to Sukoi Inlet via Peril Strait

We left Tenakee at 9:30AM hoping to transit Sergius Narrows in Peril Strait at 5PM slack current.  Our goal is to get to Sitka for the July 2nd spectacular fireworks show and we want to be beyond the Narrows for an Saturday morning arrival.  Sitka harbor fills up with boats arriving for the show which is sponsored by the local fuel company.  The fireworks emanate from three locations around Sitka harbor.  This year a pirotechnologist is orchestrating the show near midnight July 2nd, as he has show in other locations for July 3rd and 4th.

Our route through Peril Strait between Chicagof and Baranof Islands

After about 6 hours we near Sergius Narrows with lots of other traffic bent on crossing at slack current.  The Narrows current will reach 8 knots or so on the peak flood tide which of course is beyond our cruising speed, so timing is everything.  When there's lots of boat traffic, chances are all these boats can't have miscalculated slack time, so lots of traffic is a good thing.

Boat traffic means you timed the transit correctly.

Boiling Water

Tug and Tow

We crossed with minimum excitement and after another hour dropped two crab traps and our anchor in Sukoi Inlet.  The rain continues so once again we plan a feast which this time is Williebird's BBQ duck breast.

Barbecue Duck Breast.  Caution: when barbecue-ing duck fat will ignite!

Saturday, July 2, 2011 -  Sukoi Inlet to Sitka: The Fireworks show is Tonight!

At 9AM we pulled our anchor then our crab traps.  They were empty this time. We moved on to Sitka through the narrow but protected passages named Neva and Olga.  Luckily we arrived at Elaison Harbor Sitka soon enogh to be assigned a slip for 6 nights while we enjoy the city and exchange crews.

Empty crab traps.

Whitestone Narrows

The Sitka fireworks began at 11:30PM on July 2nd this year.

Sitka July 4th Parade features US Coast Guard helo flyover.
It stopped raining for a bit near sunset in Sitka.

Happy to be in Sitka.

Sitka fawna.

The Sheldon Jackson museum of native culture is quite entertaining.

The town cemetery is also interesting.

20 to 40 pound King Salmon litter the dock.  I wonder if these guys will miss just one?

Chuck French celebrates his 69th with a home made cake prepared by Sous Chef Carolyn

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