KatieKat 2005 Cruise Chapter Seven

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GoBackTo 2005 Cruise Chapter Six
11 July - 13 July 2005Glacier Bay - Sitka
18 July - 29 July 2005Sitka - Port Hardy
July 2005Whales
GoFwdTo 2005 Cruise Chapter Eight

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11 July - 13 July, 2005 -- Glacier Bay - Sitka

From Glacier Bay I elected to retrace my 1998 route which would take us outside into the Gulf of Alaska for a portion of our trip south.

[Map of SE Alaska showing KatieKat's track] Our track from Glacier Bay to Sitka.

[KatieKat at the dock in Elfin Cove] Elfin Cove is still the unique cute little hideyhole that I remember, but I was unable to capture its spirit with photographs. When we left into that fogbank we had an 'interesting' experience with a landing seaplane.

[KatieKat at dock in Pelican] [Kathy in front of Pelican library] [Joe with boardwalk in background]

Pelican (named after a fishing boat - there are no pelicans in Alaska!) is still the boardwalked community I remember (right photo, in background). Misty backdrop for KatieKat tied up at the dock. Fantastic harbormaster and very friendly locals.

From Pelican we sailed out Lisianski Strait through a fairly narrow entrance into the confused seas of the Gulf of Alaska. It was sure nice to finally turn off the engines, as we finally had a great wind for a broad reach and later a spinnaker run down the coast, with the waters settling down a bit as we got offshore a few miles.

[Waves breaking on nearby rocks] [BikeBoat tossed around by waves]

The rough exit and subsequent bouncy sail down the coast made me regret not having stowed BikeBoat. Its seaworthiness is not the issue, but the danger is that a slack towline could wrap itself around one of the drive legs and tear the thing apart. We stopped and I tried to remove the drives, but it was very rough and simply too dangerous to do in open water.

[Anchored fishing boat with very bright mastlight] As we were coming out of the anchorage at Kalinin Bay on Kruzof Island in the early morning hours, this fishing boat was displaying what is the brightest anchor light I've ever seen! Not a power issue if your engine is running continuously.

[KatieKat at the dock in Sitka] In Sitka, the cloud-enshrouded hills form an interesting backdrop for the town.

[Adagio at the dock in Sitka] A day after we arrived, who should pull into Sitka but Adagio! It's a small world.

[Kaagwaantaan] Alaskan names rival those in Australia, although Mooloolaba is still my favorite tongue-twister.

[Rusty Toyota] I should have taken photos such as this in every Alaskan town we stopped at - I unfortunately failed to photograph some very extreme examples.

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18 July - 29 July, 2005 -- Sitka - Port Hardy

[Map of SE Alaska showing KatieKat's track] From Sitka, we came down the outside of Baranof Island and down through Craig and into Prince Rupert, repeating the track I had covered seven years ago on my Telstar trimaran.

Fishing Boat with Engine Troubles

After a few rainy days in Sitka we continued our trek outside down the coast. We pulled into a small inlet at the entrance to Whale Bay - the Coast Pilot wasn't very encouraging but the guidebook we had raved about it - the entrance was awfully intimidating, as the large swells generated some huge waves against the rocks on both sides of the narrow entrance; however, once inside, it proved to be a placid and very secure anchorage and, as most are up here, quite isolated. As we were exiting the following morning we passed a small fishing boat we had seen anchored at the entrance the previous night - soon after passing it, we heard three horns and a man on deck waving a yellow object ... so we returned, to find a couple of stranded fishermen who had a problem with contaminated fuel in their diesel and had run their battery down trying to restart their engine. Out came our trusty Honda generator which, together with our 30-amp battery charger, soon had their batteries sufficiently charged to turn over their engine. Unfortunately, all their fuel filters had become fully clogged so she still didn't start. I offered to tow them home, but I think that the idea of a toy boat pulling them into their homeport was too much to swallow. They scrounged around their boat and found an old filter assembly and spare filter elements for it (packratting is essential for self-sufficiency on boats!) so they simply replaced the entire filter assembly. The fuel contamination had been caused by what they termed were unusually rough conditions for summer (hmmm, we thought it was a little bumpy) which stirred up the sediment in the bottom of their fuel tank. For good measure they cut off a couple of inches off the intake pipe inside their fuel tank. After a few attempts they finally got their engine running and putted off, with us following them for a while to ensure they were ok. We are saving for a special occasion the container of frozen prawns they gave us as a thank-you.

[Fishing boat Splice alongside KatieKat] [Fishing boat Splice alongside KatieKat] [Fishing boat Splice motoring out through]

Fishing boat Splice. Happily, the seas were calm when we both exited the bay. Hope they got home to Sitka all right.

[Map of British Columbia showing KatieKat's track] It's midsummer and none of the marinas have any room for KatieKat, thus we only stopped for fuel and provisions and continued southwards, anchoring out each night. We will save the Queen Charlotte Islands for a future visit. The arrow with green dot in it is our position at the instant I took a snapshot of the chart before manually drawing in our track.

We've taken very many photos during this trip - at some future time I'll try to go through everything and pick out some especially nice shots and try not to bore you; for now, if you're interested, just a peek at the whales, below.

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July 2005 -- Whales

Yes, they're all over the place! We tried to keep away from any whales we saw.

[Whale Splash] All the photos I took with my digital camera of breaching whales look like this! Even presetting the focus didn't do it. The next camera I buy will have a fast response time!

[Whales alongside] It is really spooky to have a whale unexpectedly surface right next to the boat!

[Whale fin] [Whale fins] [Whale fins] [Whale tail] [Whale tail]

Fins and tails.

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