Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's Still Winter in Warm Spring Bay

Tied to a dock next to a very small residential community connected by board walks runs a 100 foot waterfall that once provided hydro power for the residents of "Baranof." He real draw however is the natural hot springs. There are 3 pools the first is 120º, the second is 105º and the third mixed with cold water from the roaring river. It is still winter here the .5 mile hike to the springs is still covered with 3-4 feet of snow which makes the springs that much more enjoyable. The springs are on the edge of the waterfall separated only by the rocks that form the pools. If you aren't up to the hike, No Worries, the local fisherman have created 3 bath houses over looking the bay that pipe in the mineral water.

We finally meet up with Greg and Nicole on Baraka from Shilshole. We all had an enjoyable evening sharing our Alaskan adventures to date.

The weather forecast for the coming 4 days is hot and sunny, however hot is relative with 3 feet of snow on the ground. This mornings temperature was 38º

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Bear Facts!

On 5-23 we raised the anchor and motored out of Portage Bay on Kupreanof Island, before we even made it into Fredrick Sound Jim spotted a blow. The day ahead of us was not a disappointment. Once again a brilliant beautiful day, which means more motoring but perfect wildlife viewing conditions. It wasn't long before we were treated to over an hour of Humpback whale activity. There were dozens of whales, blows, backs, fins, flukes-fantastic! There were of course more Eagles, gulls, icebergs, seals, Steller sea lions, Yellow Billed Loons, Common Loons, Ravens and dozens of Pigeon Guillemots.

Our day wound down as we entered Chapin Bay on Admiralty Island another stunning anchorage. The anchor was not even down before Jim spot the Big Guy! Yep a Brown bear on shore watching us. Brown bears once inhabited much of North America from the Great Plains to California. They disappeared from most states due to habitat loss and efforts to eradicate them. Today they occupy less than 1% of their former range. In Alaska the populations are healthy. Roughly 35,000-45,000 of these magnificent creatures roam freely. About a thousand are taken each year by hunters which are strictly monitored to preserve the species. Brown bears are distinguished by their prominent shoulder humps, dish-shaped face and long front claws. Their coats range in color from honey blonde to deep chocolate. Brown bears spend their waking hours in search of food, by end of summer most adult males weigh between 500-900 pounds with some weighing as much as 1,400 pounds. Such a bear, when standing on it's hind feet, is about 9 feet tall.

I have my bear bell at the ready and Jim has other means at the ready!

The rain has started.

First Black bear sighting -Portage Bay


At long last Jim spotted the first Black bear. Black bears are the smallest of the North American bears. Males are larger than females, an average male in spring time weights about 180-300 pounds. They are considerably heavier in the fall prior to hibernation. We spent the afternoon watching this guy munch away.

$$$$ 's for wildlife. Each year, hunters pay a 10-11% federal excise tax on the purchase of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. These funds are distributed to the states for wildlife conservation programs. Since the system was created in 1937, Alaska has received more than $108 million. In addition all proceeds from hunting and trapping licenses support research and management programs.

Black bears are the most abundant and wide ranging of the 3 species of North American bears. They have been observed in all states except Hawaii.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fredrick Sound


We untied the lines and headed out of Petersburg on another stunningly beautiful day. Once we were in Fredrick Sound we were able to see vibrate blue icebergs ( bergy bits, growlers) that were from LeConte Glacier 23 nautical miles southeast of Petersburg. It just happens to be the southernmost active tide water glacier in North America. LeConte is also one of the most actively studied glaciers. The last 22 years student teams have surveyed the face and tracked the glacier's movement, their finding have been used in several scientific publications. While we were not able to view LeConte Glacier only herr bergs we did get to see Baird's Glacier.

We set anchor in Portage Bay. I'm reluctant to describe our surroundings because once again no place on Earth can really be this beautiful and by now I'm sure most of you think I'm making it all up. However neither of us has seen so many Common Loons in one place before, we were treated to a fly by. These birds have a magical call that I just love.

Iceberg: a chunck of ice that breaks off a glacier into the sea.

Bergy Bit: a relatively large piece of floating ice generally extending 1-5 meters or about 3 feet to 16 feet above the surface and is normally about 100-300- square meters in area ( about 1000-3200 sq. feet)

Growler: 1 meter above the surface of the sea and about 20 square meters (200 sq feet)
Definitions according to Nathamiel Bowditch

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Off Again

We are setting sail once again tomorrow - headed north. Looks like we will be out of cell phone, Internet range until Sitka. Our plans are to visit lots of little anchorage, fish, crab, read, relax, knit, view the wildlife etc...
Cheers to everyone,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Petersburg is located among the forested islands and mountains of Alaska's beautiful Inside Passage on the northern tip of Mitkof Island. It’s a small, vibrant town with about 3,100 permanent residents. Petersburg is located in the heart of the Tongass National Forest.
Petersburg’s day-to-day atmosphere is that of a busy fishing village. Fishing boats and pleasure cruisers dominate the waters around Petersburg. The town is off-the-beaten-path of the large cruise ships, which cannot navigate the Wrangell Narrows, a winding, scenic waterway between Mitkof and Kupreanof Islands. Once again we can't believe the beauty that surrounds us.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Petroglyph Beach plus traveling to Wrangell

When we left Ketchikan we headed north to Santa Anna Inlet, we were once again treated to Humpback whales, Dall porpoises and Eagles. The days are still sunny which means poor sailing but beautiful scenery. After a day of rest in Santa Anna, we headed for Wrangell through Zomovia Strait. Wrangell’s population is 1900 and the primary industries are crab, shrimp and fish processing.

I walked to Petroglyph Beach to view the Petroglyphs believed to have been made by Tlingit Indians over 1,000 years ago. There were over 40 on the beach, I found only 2, startled a bald eagle we both jumped, well I jumped he flew away. This is a friendly small town with everything you need to be comfortable.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ernest Sound

A sighting can begin with a startle, out of nowhere you hear a blow or splash so loud you jump. You may see something in the waves up close or far away that is not quit right, you’ve looked at the wave patterns for so long you can recognize a disturbance. If you are lucky the Humpback, Killer whale, Dall porpoises or any other number of creatures will come close enough for a good look. At any sighting your heart beats faster and your senses are on alert in hopes of getting another glimpse. It might last a few seconds or be prolonged in either case the grin on your face can be spotted miles away.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ship tp Shore

May 11, 2009

We are off again after renewing the ships stores, visiting with Mark and Ann from Shilshole who came up on a cruise liner and walking a 1/2 marathon called the Totem to Totem. April and I just heard we finsihed 6th out of 18.

Both Jim and I really enjoy the laid back atmosphere and friendly people of this town. We stayed at Bar Harbor where they still had us in their system from 05 and the office staff remembered us. This is a great location- between the two major grocery stores and away from down town- where on any given day the population of Ketchikan can change from 13,000 to 20,000+ due to cruise ships. The bus system works well but hitch hiking is faster.

We now have a permit for Glacier Bay so will slowly work our way north stopping where and when we want. We had another beautiful day covered about 58 miles with many pods of Dall porpoises, Humpback whale, sea lions, plus numerous birds surrounding us. We are tucked away in Santa Anna Inlet looking for bears-none so far.
Cheers everyone,

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


May 4,2009
We crossed the border into Alaska May 1st, dropped anchor in Foggy Bay and were treated to a record breaking temperature of 78. On May 3rd we raised the sails and had a southerly (the knot meter hitting the high 8's), we covered the last 35 miles in no time, secured moorage, cleared Customs,went to McDonald's and settled in. We weren't here 2 hours and Jim got the scoop on halibut fishing.

Today we got serious, first item get fishing licenses- which we did, picked up mail-that was fun, actually the guy holding our mail delivered it and I've looked into a 1/2 marathon walk, the Totem to Totem. The marina remembered us and many folks here were folks we met in 05, it's like coming home.

Cheers everyone,
Ketchikan Fran