KatieKat 2005 Cruise Chapter Six

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GoBackTo 2005 Cruise Chapter Five
29 June - 3 July 2005Juneau
4 July - 11 July 2005Glacier Bay
GoFwdTo 2005 Cruise Chapter Seven

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29 June - 4 July -- Juneau - Hoonah

[KatieKat behind huge yacht]The transient docks in Auke Bay host a variety of vessels.

[Screening over forward windows]Speaking of vessels, we caught up to our friends Steve and Dorothy Darden on Adagio in Auke Bay. Thought you'd be interested in the custom eyebrows over Adagio's forward windows. These provide a sunshade, some rain screening, and a great handhold when going forward. Despite their unorthodox appearance, these things admirably withstood Adagio's Pacific crossing from New Zealand.

[Freezing indicator on post by Fred Meyer store] [Fire hydrant with flag attached]

For the benefit of our Queensland friends, a couple of Alaska cold-weather peculiarities seen in Juneau. Note the little red flag above the fire hydrant to identify it under the snow.

[Knotmeter reading 68.98 knots]Been tuning the boat - ready for a world sailing speed record attempt :-) ... and they tell pilots to trust their instruments!

In Juneau we were joined for a week by David Reeves, the engineer son of long-time friends Larry and Katia Reeves. In addition to being an accomplished cyclist (he cycled across the US a few years ago), David has a variety of interests and proved a great source of wildlife information during our sojourn through Glacier Bay.

[David soldering instrument]David proved helpful right off the bat, finding and fixing the poor solder joint which had resulted in intermittent operation of our brand-new Raymarine Graphics display. Warranties somehow lose their meaning when you're in the middle of nowhere!

From Auke Bay we sailed over to Hoonah and enjoyed some of this Tlingit Indian town's Fourth of July celebrations before continuing northward and anchoring off Pleasant Island, ready to enter Glacier Bay the following day. In this part of the world, the fireworks display is scheduled for midnight, when it's finally dark enough! We would have liked to have stayed in Hoonah to enjoy the festivites, but were on a tight schedule (sigh).

[Water skier]As we were approaching Hoonah, we came across this - who woulda thunk in Alaska!

[Kids over table with hands behind their backs]The kids were having a blast with the no-hands watermelon-eating contest, as part of the July Fourth festivities.

[Photo of Joe and Kathy, with KatieKat and fishing boats in background]Nice to have David around to snap our picture in Hoonah. Yep, I wore my shorts in Alaska!

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4 July - 11 July, 2005 -- Glacier Bay

[Map of SE Alaska showing KatieKat's track] Our track into and around Glacier Bay. I forgot to identify Lamplugh Glacier, which is the one between Reid and Johns Hopkins Glaciers.

Reservations for entering Glacier Bay are required ahead of time and, if you're lucky, a permit is issued (the number of boats allowed into this National Park is restricted, despite its huge area). One makes a formal entry into Glacier Bay at Bartlett Cove. There, the National Parks Service personnel give a briefing, identifying all the major do's and don'ts within the park. For example, a number of areas are restricted and one can't go closer to shore than one mile (because whales like to hang out a half-mile offshore). Well, we were suitably indoctrinated, topped up the gas tanks, had a great meal at the lodge there, and took off... we didn't get far, because the tide was against us so we turned sideways and anchored for the first night off Young Island - in the restricted areas you're allowed to approach the shore (only at right angles) in order to anchor.

[Photo of Joe, Kathy, and David in restaurant]Ah, yes, roughing it at the lodge in Bartlett Cove. The food was delicious!

From Young Island we spent most of the next day motoring up to Blue Mouse Cove (named, if you can believe, after a New York theatre), where seven years ago I had spent a miserable night as my trimaran had positioned itself broadside to the small wavelets there and the slop in the hinge mechanism (located right next to my sleeping head) kept klunking until I got up in the middle of the night and pretensioned the outer hull with a halyard - obviously a painful memory for me if I still remember it!. Anyway, on KatieKat we had a reasonable anchor set and the boat totally ignored any wavelets which might have been present, and thus had a great night's sleep, eagerly anticipating reaching the glaciers the next day.

[Kathy and David on the SeaCycle]Kathy and David went off exploring the cove after dinner. The surroundings are spectacular.

[KatieKat in Blue Mouse Cove]KatieKat in Blue Mouse Cove.

[Mika on awning]At dusk, Mika the cat was off exploring the boat as a cruise ship passed by the cove entrance.

Ok, so we're off to the glaciers... we had intended to go to Johns Hopkins Glacier, but a solid wall of fog greeted us, so we turned up into Marjorie Glacier.

[Bergie bits in water]First signs that we're approaching the glacier. Have to remember to think of these white chunks as floating rocks!

[Joe at steering wheel with radio transceiver headset on] [David holding boathook and fishnet]

Outfitted with two-way headsets and David armed with boathook and MikaNet, we ventured into the bergies with KatieKat.

[David pedalling off on the SeaCycle] [David on SeaCycle by small iceberg]

Once we got to an area relatively clear of ice, David hopped onto the SeaCycle for a photo shoot.

[KatieKat with iceberg in foreground]Way cool! (guy talk). That's Marjorie Glacier in the background.

However, almost immediately we were surrounded by fog...

[KatieKat in fog with iceberg in foreground]Icebergs, fog, and KatieKat. Last I saw Kathy, she was retreating down below clutching the cat and muttering something about the Titanic...

Once we had extricated ourselves, we decided to call it a day and sailed over to Reid Glacier for the night. The next morning there wasn't a cloud in the sky! The following three photos show off our anchorage there.

[KatieKat at anchor with glacier in background] [View of Reid Glacier from KatieKat] [KatieKat with mountains in background]

Our anchorage off Reid Glacier. Yes, the white stuff in the water is ice! Luckily, the tide didn't bring us any large chunks during the night.

With this gorgeous weather and highly-visible beautiful surroundings, we roared off to Johns Hopkins Glacier.

[KatieKat with glacier in background]Along the way to Johns Hopkins is Lamplugh Glacier, and David dutifully hopped onto the SeaCycle to take this photo.

[KatieKat with small iceberg in foreground]Into Johns Hopkins we went, with beautiful weather and forgotten BikeBoat fenders over the side. The surroundings are awesome!

[KatieKat with glacier in background and lots of small icebergs in foreground]Boy, I think David sure took some nice photos! That's Johns Hopkins Glacier in the background. Because of the floating ice density, I chickened out and we didn't get really close to it.

With this gorgeous weather, we decided to revisit Marjorie Glacier, which became fog-enshrouded the previous day. We motored over in the usual dead calm, but right in front of the glacier we experienced a bitingly-cold 20+ knot wind! Now we know what the expression "Glacial Wind" means, as just a hundred yards away there wasn't any! This wind coming down off the glacier is incredibly localized.

[KatieKat sailing hard with glacier in background]KatieKat's lee bow depressed as I zipped along looking out for bergie bits and not paying much attention to the traveller position.

[David on SeaCycle, windy and glacier in background]David had gone for quite a tour of the glacier on BikeBoat in these windy conditions. There is always a concern that the calving glacier will release a particularly large chunk, with an associated miniature tsunami. Happily, we retrieved David relatively intact.

From the glaciers, we made our way back down Glacier Bay and dropped David off in Bartlett Cove where he caught a ferry back to Juneau and the flight home. It was indeed a pleasure to have him along for this exciting part of our trip!

[David up mast, perspective] [David up mast, smiling]

Before he left, we asked David do us one more favor: perform one of the twice-yearly mast sailtrack lubrications with SailKote - the stuff works wonders, and we find our simple hard-plastic slides most effective, without any need for fancy (and expensive) roller batten cars.

So, there you have it: my goal for this year's Alaska trip was to get a photograph of my Australian tropical cruising catamaran in front of an iceberg, and I consider this a mission accomplished. Unfortunately, we simply ran out of time to sail further north in Alaska to Valdez and explore Prince William Sound - a future goal, perhaps. I'm holding back some of the better iceberg photographs for a possible magazine article.

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