Sunday, July 17, 2016

2016-19 Sitka to Petersburg via Cape Ommaney, Eastern Baranof, Kake and Stephens Passage with The Ocean People

Friday, July 8, 2016:  Los Osos Crew Arrives

Recently we've cruised with The Boat People, then it was The Fishy College Boys.  Today a new crew arrives from the central Coast of California.  It’s the Ages family of Los Osos.  Gerard, Peggy, and Hans are The Ocean People (OP’s) who swim, kayak, kite-board, paddle-board, sail, surf, camp and fish regularly.  Gerard probably spends way more time in his wet suit than any suit of clothes.  Except for Hans, all have cruised aboard with us many times before.

In real life, Gerard is a successful contractor who has completed many projects throughout central coast area including several residential, office and commercial projects for us.  Peggy is your friendly Trader Joe’s representative.  Hans is a professional photography, music and video technical specialist based in NYC.  He travels the world producing photos, videos, commercials, and short films for business.  He has completed professional photo shoots for some major corporations.  Check out his website at

July 4th Never Ends in Sitka
Sunny Sitka
Saturday, July 9, 2016: Biorka then Whale Bay

After provisioning, fishing at Murray’s Marine, and Sitka bicycle touring, the crew was ready to go.  We departed Sitka for the summer, thanking our hosts at the Harbor Department, and headed towards Biorka Island for a days fishing.  The ocean was a bit bouncy but quickly abated once in the lee of Biorka.  We fished for a a couple hours without seeing much bait or enjoying a bite, then decided to move to Whale Bay.

Crab Cake Lunch on the way to Whale Bay
By 5:30PM we were fishing at high slack along the entrance’s north side.  After 3 hours we moved to the Krishka Island corner.  By the end of the evening we had landed two kings and Hans' first salmon.  We anchored up and processed fish for the evenings dinner.

Two old guys fishing.
First Salmon for Hans
Dad gets one too.
Wild Blue after deck is transformed to full fishing mode.
Anchored in Kritoi Basin, Whale Bay.  Note: That is not a Navy Seal
completing his dive off the Wild Blue fly bridge.
Salmon Barbecue Steak Dinner.

Sunday, July 10, 2016:  Whale Bay

We got fishing again by 10AM just at the Krishka Island corner. The sun shone over us while we landed two more Kings and a couple Cohos.  By dinner time we had anchored in Port Banks near the outflow from the low falls and river.  It took us a bit to finally set the hook as the anchor chain had fouled while stacking in the locker and exited in a knot.  It was nice to have a contractor aboard who diagnosed the problem, disassembled the locker cover and untangled the chain.  Gerard and Hans set off exploring the falls up close.

Port Banks exploration at the river and falls.
A paddle across the bay.

Monday, July 11, 2016: Snipe, Bryon, Redfish, Dorothy and Puffin Bay

We started out today hoping to pick up a few fish in Whale Bay.  After lackluster results we turned southerly towards other fish grounds leaving Whale Bay behind.  The Bay had not yielded as many fish as last year, but still out performed any other coastal bay we fished.

As we leave for the summer, the view looking back at Whale Bay
By 1PM we started trolling the entrances to Snipe Bay, then Bryon Bay, then Redfish Bay, then anchored in Discovery Cove.  There we dropped baited hooks for halibut.  The King bite was off but we still landed a few Cohos. About 25 commercial trollers worked outside a couple miles and seemed to be doing OK. By evening we moved to Puffins Bay and finally hooked to the bottom for the night in Little Puffin Bay.  Here's our route.

Route south along Baranof Island's west coast.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016: Cape Ommaney, Port Alexander, Mist Cove and Patterson Bay

After a restful night with windy weather on the outside, we got underway by 8AM.  We want to get around Cape Ommaney before the afternoon winds build along the west coast.  The forecast for Southern Chatham Strait is fair with light breeze.  We had a fine rounding then rolled into Port Alexander for ice.  Our route follows:

Puffin Bay to Cape Ommaney, Port Alexander and Patterson Bay Route
Cape Ommaney approaching from the northwest.
Seal rock off Cape Ommaney
The great folks at the Laughing Raven Lodge provided ice to fill our
coolers.  Of course we reciprocated with a couple bottles of fine
Central California Coast wine.
A view from Port Alexander
Port Alexander temporary moorage while we forage for ice.

We were so enamored with Port Alexander we hung out there until late afternoon gathering ice, swimming, lunching, strolling and meeting the very nice locals and visitors. Finally at 4PM we set off on a northerly course trolling at various inlets along Baranof's east coast.  We landed about 4 more Cohos then rolled into Mist Cove to see the pretty falls.  Lastly we entered Patterson Bay fishing the 180-foot flat spots for halibut without success.  We anchored in a tiny bay on the east side near the head of the Bay with a stern tie to shore.  Of course Gerard promptly lowered the gear and just as promptly hooked a 60-pound flattie.  Patterson Bay is one of the prettiest and secluded spots around!

Approaching Patterson Bay from the south.
Inside the pilothouse inside Patterson Bay.
Halibut landed in Patterson amongst the jellyfish.
Sunset at PB.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016: Red Bluff Bay

Today after a short 3-hour cruise further north, we anchored in pretty Red Bluff Bay setting two prawn traps near the entrance to soak over night.  The river and falls were flowing but no sight of the brown bears.  Others have said the bears haven't been in Red Bluff for a couple years now.  I guess the bears probably have a good idea what years have the better salmon runs.

Wild Blue tender crew.
Posing as Navy seals.
Up the Red Bluff River with a couple paddles.
Gerard ready to dive off the rock at Red Bluff Falls.

Gerard is looking for a second career as a model in advertising.  Here he
poses for a future beer commercial.
This is Gerard's audition photo for a new GoPro ad.
At anchor in Red Bluff Bay.
The view from our anchorage into the 10 PM sunset.
Moon rise in Red Bluff.

Thursday, July 14, 2016: Kake for Night Crew Delivery

Our two traps yielded enough fresh prawns for a large pasta dinner.  Of course the OP's wanted to try prawn sushi.  Next it will be fresh king salmon roe!

Gerard and Hans try fresh prawn sushi from Red Bluff Bay.
Prawns for tonight's pasta.
Today we head to Kake, a small native American village on the west side of Kupreanof Island.  Our mission is to retrieve crew Pat.  Pat will be arriving on the Alaska Ferry Matuska at the bewitching hour of 1:15AM, tomorrow morning. 

After a 3-hour motor we tied up at the Kake fuel dock and scouted for propane, ice and supplies.  A local construction company supplied the propane and the SOS market re-provisioned the boat.  At the local liquor store at the NW end of town, across from the sea-plane dock, we found ice to fill our large cooler.  Afterward we anchored just west of Grave Island less than a mile from the ferry dock.  You can see the grave markers along the eastern edge of Grave Island.

At the spooky hour, half-past midnight, Alex guided the tender in the darkness, past ghostly Grave Island, and towards the ferry terminal.  At Kake's terminal, there is no float for picking up passengers by boat.  So Alex tied up the tender along side the floating road ramp which is lowered to unload vehicles.  The ferry arrived, and Pat off-loaded.  Since the Kake stop would last almost an hour, Alex asked and received permission from the ferry's load-master to exit.  Then Pat and Alex were headed through the blackness towards Grave Island, and the brightly lighted Wild Blue.  Whew!

Wild Blue tender tied-up at base of ferry ramp.
Exploring the small islands around our anchorage off Kake, AK.
Hans enjoying the view.

Friday, July 15, 2016: Pybus Bay

At noon, after crossing Frederick Sound from Kake, we began to troll Long Island in Pybus Bay.  Bait fish were showing up with no salmon biting.  The whale activity kept increasing so that after a while maybe eight humpbacks were doing bubble circles nearby.  Now in close quarters, we shut down the engine and drifted quietly as the noisy whales fed on herring.

After the whaling activities, we settled at anchor in the bay formed by the San Juan Islands of Pybus Bay.  This bay looked fishy so we set leads with baited hooks on the bottom and left the reels in free-spool with the clickers on.  Three-halibut later Gerard and Hans decide to explore in kayaks leaving the fishing to Peggy, Pat and Alex.  Alex was able to land the fourth halibut but needed Peggy to reel in the fifth.  It was too big to land but Peggy managed to keep it close while Alex harpooned it with a secure line tied to the boat.  This 57-pounder was left for the "yakkers" to land later.

"FISH ON!" Or maybe another audition photo?
Steaks only for the Ocean People.
While Gerard and Hans went kayaking, Peggy
nabbed a good sized halibut.

016-19 Sitka to Petersburg via Cape Ommaney, Eastern Baranof, Kake and Stephens Passage with The Ocean People

Saturday, July 16, 2016: Farragut Bay

Today we moved across Stephens Passage towards Petersburg exiting at Farragut Bay for the evening.  By now the freezer was full of fish and its chiller wouldn't go much below 22F, when 13F is normal.  We will need to offload fish at Petersburg for a quick freeze for shipping.  No more fishing, just kayaking today.

Sunday, July 17, 2016: Petersburg

In town again after an uneventful 2 1/2 hour run from Farragut Bay.  The Harbormaster accommodated our boat in the North Harbor.  We offloaded fish for freezing, lunched out, bicycled around and prepped for our guest's departure.

After four 50-pound insulated boxes, the fish was ready to travel.  These Ocean People were an active group and we had a bunch of fun with Peggy, Gerard and Hans.  Already looking forward to our next OP adventure.....

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