Sunday, August 10, 2014

2014-23: A Musical Cruise from Ketchikan to Shearwater

August 2nd through August 10th, 2014

Saturday, August 2nd: We met this week's crew at the airport ferry that runs across Tongass Narrows to Ketchikan.  Rudolf Budginas and his father Paul (Americanized pronunciation) Budginas flew up from Santa Rosa, California where Rudolf is a college professor of music.  Paul is a college professor of music as well, and lives in his native Lithuania.

Besides his professor gig, Rudolf is an accomplished concert pianist and entertainer.  Growing up in Lithuania during Russian rule, Rudolf was recognized as an exceptional musical talent, and at young age, was sent away to one of Russia's great music conservatories.  He attended conservatory boarding school year round until graduating from the university in his twenties.  Then it was off to the University of Southern California to earn his PhD.  As a result, Rudolf spent very little time with his father growing up. So on the Wild Blue, Rudolf wants to spend time with his dad fishing.  It's much like that final movie scene, when the Red October submarine Commander and Lithuanian Marko Ramius, played by Sean Connery, says "I miss the peace of fishing like when I was a boy". There's more about Rudolf at

His old friend musical Gerard Ages from San Luis Obispo County, and part of this year's Wild Blue crew, has a video message for Rudolf:

Sunday, August 3rd:  After some minor provisioning yesterday in Ketchikan, we pulled out of Bar Harbor at 5am.  Today we exit the USA headed south for British Columbia.  We will cross the sometimes rough Dixon Entrance, then Chatham Sound and into Prince Rupert where Canadian Customs clearance is first. After that we will head to the town for the heavy provisioning needed for 7 days away from civilization.

It was a bright sunny day and we found Rudolph quite handy with his Nikon SLR.  The whales were dancing and so was Rudy's camera.  The seas were flat and we pulled into the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club at 330 pm.  Customs had no issues with Lithuanians entering hockey country, so we toured our way to the market.

Dancing whales in Chatham Sound.
Whale breach!
A selfie from the bow as we enter Prince Rupert via Venn Passage..
This ship is docked in Prince Rupert, and is leaning.  It has a list.  Here's why:
Shortly after 10 p.m. on Monday, July 14th 2014 the Japanese-owned
228-metre Amakusa Island ship ran aground in the outer harbour of Prince Rupert
ripping a 2 metre long hole in the outer hull. At the time of the accident
the ship was loaded with approximately 80,000 tonnes of coal.
It was later reported that the gash in the hull was 30 metres in length.
No coal or contaminated products entered the sea.
Prince Rupert's automated container system, offloads containers onto waiting
rail cars.  Containers reach the north central Canada and US almost 2 days
sooner when offloaded in Prince Rupert, compared to the ports of
Vancouver or Seattle

Monday, August 4th:  At 5 am we exited Prince Rupert Harbour hoping to do some fishing on our way south. At 9 am we arrived near Angela Point noticing a group of Canadian Seiner fisherman. We fished the southeast end of Porter Island we got a fish or two there then moved on to fish Elbow Point on the northwest side of Pitt Island.  Next we moved down Petrel Channel to the south side of Wright Island. We fished for an hour or so and then fished into east into Evinrude Passage through Ali Passage to the unnamed bay just across from Angry Island's Angry Point.  Whew...that's a mouthful!

Haida Girl is a 60-foot Canadian seiner.

Tuesday, August 5th:  We pulled anchor at 530 am and moved south through the Ali Narrows eventually exiting into Principe Channel. At 930 am we fished the very popular north side of Otter Channel. By 2 p.m we had boated a king and several Coho salmon so we stopped fishing and looked south for an anchorage settling on the bitter northern end of McMicking Inlet. We set crab traps on the way in and noticed our cruising friends on the Selene 47 Resonance already at anchor.  Roger and Chris are very experienced world cruisers having boated all over Western and Eastern Europe.

Later Roger arrived in his tender and came aboard for a chat. An accomplished amateur radio operator, Roger and Alex became absorbed in a technical discussion of ham radio's on boats, and associated radio receiver noise problems (aka RFI).  Soon the Ham Radio was powered up and operating, the electronic gear, and inverter were switched off to reduce noise. As a result, the strong radio noise in the boat's SSB High frequency transceiver was isolated and eliminated.  Wild Blue's HF radio had never worked as great as it does today, thanks to Roger!

Roger and Chris' Selene 47 named Resonance.
In the evenings after cruising and fishing all day, we usually settle down for a beverage and some entertainment.  Rudolf prefers beer and Paul is happy with some Kentucky bourbon straight up, with one ice cube.  After a couple, the crew loosen up and Pat brings out the keyboard.  See what happens below:

Rudolf eventually joins in,  Soon we find a second use for the fish cleaning table as passing dinghies stop to enjoy the show!

Wednesday, August 6th: We got going south once again at 7am, our heads buzzing with alcoholic fuzziness, and ears yearning for more spectacular piano music.  We fished the southern tip of Campania Island and then crossed Campania Sound to fish on the western edge of Duckers Island. By 330 pm we were at the bottom of Laredo Channel looking for a place to anchor near Meyers Passage. Quigley Creek Cove was too busy, filled with boats, so we worked south through Thistle Passage and turned into Meyers Passage, settling on the small anchorage just to the south of Meyers Narrows.  It was a great place to enjoy the rest of the day, and more piano concerts.

Thursday, August 7th: We left the Narrows early, winding our way around Split Head, past the Boat Bluff Light Station, through Klemtu, crossing Finlayson Channel and slowing at Jackson Pass to get the free wifi from the fish farm.  After checking email, we cleared Jackson Narrows and turned south into Mathieson Channel.  We stopped to fish Salmon Bay after seeing so many fish jumping and humpback whales feeding.  The fish were there but difficult to land.  The one or two we did land were small.  Eventually we started fishing again at Seaforth Channel on the south side at Idol Point.  We fished for a couple hours landing a few then anchored in Lockhart Bay at around 6pm.

Friday, August 8th:  We fishing Idol Point by 6am.  Seems like others are landing more than us.  After 4 hours, we moved across to the north Seaforth Channel to get cell service.  After phone calls to Shearwater Marine for moorage, we set the anchor in the southwest corner of Yeo cove,  This tight anchorage required a reset with stern line tied to a tree.  We had a restful evening and found crabs in our traps the next day.

Saturday, August 9th:  We untied and de-anchored, then motored over to Shearwater.  As they told us the day before, no moorage was available, so we anchored in Klilsoatli Harbour, near the Shearwater Marina and launched the tender.  We dinghy'd ashore for a short hike.  Rudolf bought a seafood shipping container for their flight back to California.  Pat prepared a crab appetizer.

Sunday, August 10th:  The Budginas musicians left today with just about 50 pounds of frozen fish fillets.  We kept the piano keyboad on board. Pat also left to return to SLO Town. The Budginas are great fun and totally entertaining. We hope to cruise with them again.

Over the next 10 days or so, Alex will solo the Wild Blue down to Comox on Vancouver Island for the next crewed leg.