Wednesday, July 10, 2013

#2013-37 Sitka, Appleton Cove, Warm Springs Bay and into Rocky Pass

On July 8th Bill Lee arrived to crew on Wild Blue. Bill is a good friend and lodging business competitor, operating the Back Bay Inn just across the street from our Baywood Inn.  However he is famous for starting the US's largest broker-owned commercial real estate brokerage, Lee & Associates. Alex has been enticing Bill with stories of cruising Alaska for several years and at last he made it.  We'll be cruising from Sitka to Craig along the west coast of Baranof Island, or that was the plan until the first stormy weather in many weeks stared pounding our area.  It's just 13 hours motor time to Craig via the outside ocean route, but 26 hours through protected Peril Strait, Rocky Pass and El Capitan Passage.

On Tuesday, the 8-foot seas ocean forecast drove us and many others into protected waters.  We exited Sitka mid-morning to make Sergis Narrows by slack high water.  About 10 different boats, ferries, tugs and tows squeezed through the Narrows within 20 minutes.

Tug tries to keep barge in the channel at Sergis Narrows.
Reminder to pay attention!
By 4PM the winds were over 20 knots from southeast generating big chop as we headed east near the end of Peril Strait.  Bill was fast asleep in the forward birth with a side port opened for air.  He was suddenly awakened when the sea came through the port hole onto his berth.  We decided to anchor in nearby Appleton Cove, on of eight other boats that made the same decision.

On Wednesday, July 10th we were underway to Warm Springs Bay early in hopes to get a spot at the public dock for a hike to the lake and falls. The weather was sunny and calm.  We paused at Kasnyku 300 foot Falls for a photo op then made the Bay around noon. 

It is a nice hike past the public baths, through the tiny community of Warm Springs, along a lengthy boardwalk and path to Lake Baranof.  No bears just plenty of sun and bugs.  Bill checked out the local real estate prices as there were two "homes" for sale.  Even at $159,000 it really wasn't much of a place. We were back for lunch and on our way into Rocky Pass in search of an evening anchorage.

Bill at Kasnyku Falls

Same Bill, same Falls.
The public dock at Warm Springs Bay was open.
Main Street, Warm Springs Bay
Water flows from Baranof Lake faster and faster as it approaches the falls.
Water is racing past the hot springs and over the Falls.
It was still a fair distance to Rocky Pass.  We had a quiet crossing of Chatham Strait and Frederick sound entering Keku strait at 6PM.  we decided to get as far into Rocky Pass as the current allowed.  By 9PM we dropped our anchor just south of High Island near the top of the Pass.  There was a pretty sunset and Sleemans Honey Brown lager to welcome us.

Sunset near the center of Rocky Pass.

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