Tuesday, June 17, 2014

2014-17 Fishing Sitka Sound and Surrounding Areas

During mid-June, the crew of the Wild Blue fished Sitka Sound and surrounding areas.

Sunday, June 8th:

This morning the Sitka Harbormaster called to say a package had arrived and the contents were broken.  This was surprising since Alex hadn't ordered any parts or supplies.  A new Wild Blue crew was flying in today, so the package pickup went on the back burner.

Roger Larson, Dave McNamera and Sid Findley are crewing until mid-June.  These San Luis Obispians like to fish, chef and dine, and are good at all three. Roger and Dave own 4-Seasons Outfitters sporting goods store in SLO Town so this is sort of a business trip for them.  Sid is a retired County Judge so we always like him out front when there is potential confrontation.  All have crewed with us before in Alaska and know the routine.

Soon after they arrived, the Harbormaster brought us the package, crushed and wet with a fluid, that smelled like gin.  Turns out the crew had mailed their beverages in advance by US Express Mail One Rate.  The bubble wrap did not protect the contents fully, but the Crown Royal and bourbon survived. Instead of Tanqueray, Dave will just have to survive with what meager offerings we have aboard......Hendricks bottled in Scotland. What an inconvenience!

Welcome to Alaska Judge Findley
While doing the routine engine room checkout, Alex noticed a lot of dark fluid in the Northern Lights generator collection pan.  Thinking he may have overfilled the oil, Alex sampled the fluid, determining it was diesel fuel.  On closer inspection a small drip of fuel was continually occurring on the #1 injector.  Checking with Hatton Marine in Seattle, the recommendation was to replace the unit and not use the generator until then.  Hatton had a new injector assembly in house, so for $800 plus $200 shipping we would have the part by the end of the week.

12 kw Generator Fuel Injector with leak.

 Monday, June 9th:

We started provisioning in the morning then got going to Whale Bay around 11am and were trolling the north side of the Bay by 4pm.  After 4 hours we had a fish or two and ended our day anchored at the SE end of Kritoi Basin in one of the many great protected spots in Whale Bay. Dave created a delicious dining experience of barbecued salmon and grilled vegetables.

Whale Bay, some 40 miles south of Sitka, has many protected anchorages.
The red lines are routes we use.  Concentrated red area is prime salmon trolling.
Jo and Bob aboard Josie the very first production Selene 53, a 2001 build.
This older couple manage their way to Alaska each summer.
Seals on rocks at North Cape just outside Whale Bay
A trio ready for processing
Dave is the fish cleaning pro when provided with a properly prepared G & T.
SOS: Salmon on a Shingle.  This is the BBQ version on a cedar shake.
Chef Dave dishes
Tuesday, June 10th:

After a restful night at Kritoi, we got going again at 8am.  We baited the crab traps and headed up into Great Arm of Whale Bay, looking for a crabby spot.  It was 6 miles up to the first bay and we set our two traps near the mouth of a flowing creek, the fresh-salt water mixture usually a good place for crabs.

By 1pm we were back on the north side of Whale Bay near the entrance trolling where we did so good yesterday.  It was a bit bumpy with a southwest swell on the troll today so after just two fish, we anchored just inside Still Harbor for a late lunch.  Then it was back to trolling at 5pm.  Bay 7pm we were done and moved northwest around North Cape and into Necker Bay at Yamani Cove.  Yamani was glass like making for a placid night.

Looking from inside Kritoi Basin northwest into Whale Bay.
Crew Sid and Roger read novels between hookups.

Wednesday, June 11th:

Out early, we headed back for more fishing on the northern edge of Whale Bay.  After 3 hours we motored into Great Arm and pulled the crab traps with just one keeper crab.  We had three days of fish on ice ready to be turned into the processor for bagging and freezer storage, so by 2pm we were on our way back to Sitka, and ended our day at anchor in Scow Bay inside Beauchamp Island south of Sitka.

At 530am a low fog blankets the entrance to Whale Bay
Fresh made Salmon lox and cream cheese.

Thursday, June 12th:

After a restful night in Scow, we motored up to Biorka Island and added to our catch, then finished our cruise into Sitka with the Big Blue fish processors meeting us at the dock in Thomsen Harbor.  Then we met up with our cruising friends Patrick and Miriam Gill on the Selene 55 Spirit.  Of course they, being the most gracious hosts, invited us to imbibe and dine aboard with them.

Captain Patrick is bartender and chef aboard the Selene 55 Spirit.
Here he's promoting and mixing our new favorite vodka Tito's.
Sid, Miriam, Nordic Tug friends, Roger and Dave are ready to dine on
 Patrick's fresh caught halibut, 
Chef Dave cooked an excellent peach cobbler which the Wild Blue,
Nordic Tug and Spirit crews enjoyed.
Friday, June 13th: 

We fished the local Sitka waters including St Lazaria Islands, Vitskari Rocks (aka The Rock Pile) and Long Island landing a couple more kings.  Then, is it was off to a night at the Sitka Music Festival.

All the Wild Blue crew members are required to enjoy
the Sitka Music Festival compliments of the Skipper.

Saturday, June 14th:

Today we motored northward to Kakul Narrows at the western entrance to Peril Strait.  We fished for halibut and caught a medium one and some black cod.  Later we dropped the anchor in Kalinin Bay on Kruzof Island, a popular anchorage.  There were 11 other boats anchored as well.  

Captain Alex Mans the BBQ
for more fresh caught halibut.
Yet another BBQ fish dish

Sunday, June 15th:

All this week we've been without a generator waiting for a new fuel injection pump.  Amazingly we've been able to charge the batteries from our main engine 300-amp alternator.  We shower when the main engine is running using the generator power and engine-heated fresh water.  We hope to egt the new injector pump installed in a few days.

Today we fished the Shark Hole just outside Kalinin Bay and got our 1-king limit for all four fisherman in just over an hour.  Then we moved over to Kakul Narrows for some more bottom fishing.  After a few bottom fish and two 20+ pound halibuts, we motored south towards Sitka, ending up anchored in the center of Siginaka Islands about 8 miles above the city.

The Spirit fishing tender and crew drove up at high speed from Sitka
 just for this morning's fishing.  This 20-foot speedster goes almost 30-knots!

Every year we see many of the same boats on the Inside Passage in Alaska.
Mairead is a Grand Banks 42 is a regular we've seen in many ports,  Here
she is passing us at Kakul Narrows on the way to Sitka.

Monday, June 16th:

Earlier in the week we had been looking for ice.  On our search, we temporarily docked the boat at the Totem Square Hotel near downtown Sitka checking if they had bulk ice available.  After sending Judge Sid as our ice emissary, he brought back two boys with a large tub of cube ice.  Of course Roger tipped the guys handsomely as as we left two hotel managers came quickly down the dock.  Not sure what arrangements Judge Sid had promised, we quickly thrustered off the dock expecting harsh "words of wisdom".  To our surpise, these hoteliers were thanking us for the business and invited us to dock 'our pretty boat" and their hotel!  So this morning we pulled the anchor and called the hotel.  Our moorage was ready! Visit www.totemsquarehotel.com for close-in accommodations.

View of our moorage from the Dockside Cafe at the Totem Square Hotel.

The Totem Square Hotel has great amenities, a large restaurant and bar with
sports size flat screens and is located in the downtown area of Sitka.
Today Alex retrieved the new injector pump from Alaska Airfreight.  Dave and Roger assisted with the installing the new pump which included retrieving a washer that had fell inside the engine block.  T-G for magnets!  Roger also repaired the broken trash compactor so all is back in working order again.

It's been a great week with Sid, Roger and Dave.  Look forward to having them back aboard for many future cruises.

Note: Unbeknownst to us at the time, this would be our last cruise with Dave McNamara. In August 2014 he suffered a massive heart attack and later passed away.  He was a great guy, wonderful chef, and  an avid outdoors person who we all will miss.  

Dave is up early at Small Arm Anchorage in Whale Bay, Alaska.

David E. McNamara 1954 - 2014

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