Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Elrington Passage

Fox Farm anchorage, our last stop in Prince William Sound, is a great anchorage for waiting out weather on route to Seward. It just happens to also be another little gem of nature. Waterfalls,rolling hills and Tufted puffins nest near by, hiking is an easy walk along the beach to a 100-foot saddle leading to a dramatic overlook of Latouche Passage and the Gulf of Alaska.

Like gambling you never know when you'll hit the nature/wildlife jackpot - like we did today, a full body breach just to starboard of C.S.J. from a humpback. Exciting!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Super Sized

Our first anchorage in Prince William Sound was Garden Cove, which derived it's name from garden Island, where Capt. Portlock in 1789 planted an experimental garden. This anchorage was surrounded by tall jagged snow covered peaks. With the sun shinning we were able to enjoy the outdoors and actually heard a mamma sea otter "sing" (for lack of better description) to her pup on her belly.

Olsen Bay was our next stop and one of my favorites. Olsen bay has four hanging valleys left by the Pleistocene Age glaciers, amazingly beautiful. A day did not go by that we didn't see brown bears. A sow with 3 cubs one of which was cream colored made were there every morning and evening, while other bears made periodic visits, it wasn't unusual to see 8 bears at once.

Sheep Bay was on the way to Cordova and another steeply surrounded bay with the mountains reaching down into the water. Sheep Bay was misnamed in 1897 because a USN commander believed he saw sheep instead of Mountain goats in the bay's highlands. With persistence and binos, Jim spotted several Mountain goats, once you knew what to look for they were easy to find and follow on their journey across the cracks in the mountain side.

On to Cordova the major fishing port in P.W.S. which can only be reached by water or air. This friendly town of about 2,500 has what every realtor is selling, location, location, location. Sitting at the base of majestically rising mountains it is breathtaking. Showers could be had for $5.00 for 10 minutes and laundry $5.00 a load- this seemed like a lot until I remembered we paid $45.00 US dollars for one load of laundry that was returned to me wet in French Polynesia.

Leaving Cordova turned out to be one of the most spectacular evenings ever. The skies were crystal clear not a cloud in sight! You could see mountain peaks all around the Sound and from at least 75 miles away you could see glaciers. The landscape just seemed to be punched out from the background. We continued on to Olsen Bay for a couple of nights and then we headed to Columbia Glacier.

From Columbia glacier we anchored in Passage Cove on Naked Island for a couple of days. Situated in the middle of P.W.S. Naked Island's wilderness offers 3 cell towers, go figure!

Having begun our trek in P.W.S. on the east, going north and now heading south and west our next anchorage is at present Barnes Cove on Knight Island. Early on this voyage the same adjectives kept coming up, spectacular, amazing, impressive, majestic, most beautiful, it just can't get any better? but somehow it does!!!

Barnes Cove is a pretty little cove surrounded by peaks, waterfalls and extensive tidal flats. Scanning the snow on the peaks with my binos was a long shot but just maybe?.and sure enough I saw a black bear trekking across the snow filed, what a thrill!!!!!

I wish I had the elegance of speech to really describe the beauty this land has to offer. What best describes Prince William Sound is everything here is "Super Sized".

Monday, June 20, 2011


We are anchored off Naked Island in Prince William Sound, the area I worked my way through Architecture school in as a diver. The island has a cell tower on it, so I called Gary Wood, the Pactor Expert in California, and he said to clean my contacts at the antenna. I did and now it worked, but I am very suspicious because it all looked pretty clean. My ground to the keel bolt is more suspect in my mind, so if this isn't the solution I'll try cleaning that up. I am also grounded to the engine though, and that looks pristine.

We are leaving Naked Island for Knight Island tomorrow working our way down to the Southeast corner of the sound preparatory to departing for Seward around the first to the third of July. Frannie wants to be in Seward for the fourth of July. Two days ago we visited the Columbia Glacier but were unable to get very close because there is so much ice right now. Had to navigate for several hours through brash ice and growlers to get to our present anchorage. Saw the absolute bluest of blue ice ever. I think the light must have just been perfect.

So far this summer we've seen 8 mountain goats, 2 killer whales, 13 brown bears, 2 minke whales, 38 Sitka deer, 48 humpback whales, 1 black bear,1 river otter, too many eagles, sea otters, harbor porpoises, stellar sealions to count and our first three mosquitoes.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Anchorages along the way to

Anchorages along the way to Seward-the next town: Sheep Bay, Landlocked Bay, Disk Cove, Foxfarm Bay then Seward by July 4.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Prince William Sound

Thirty six hundred miles above the equator Prince William Sound straddles the 60th parallel and is farther north than Cape Horn is south.

Sheltered from the open Pacific by breakwaters of forty-five mile Montague and forty-mile Hinchinbrook/Hawkins islands Prince William Sound is a remarkably quiet body of water for its size. The absence of strong tidal currents in most areas, a 30% occurrence of calms and a 5 knot average wind velocity during the summer account for the Sound's general placidity, but remember Alaska is the land of extremes.

The Sound has a remarkable landscape. Thick stands of green conifers interspersed with alder patches and peat land bogs creep up mountainsides to give way to lush alpine meadows. Rising above the symphony of greens, rugged snow-capped peaks often draped with hanging glaciers. The scale here is almost unimaginable.

Prince William Sound comprises an area of 25,000 square miles; the intricate, glacially scored shoreline is 2,500 miles long- longer than the combined coast of Oregon and California. Settlements in the Sound include Whitter with a population of 300, Valdez, population 400, Cordova, 2,500 residents', Chenega Bay, population 35 and Tatitlek with 100 folks.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Gulf of Alaska

With a good forecast of gray,wet and cold but favorable winds after days of northwesterly's we were up at 0430 and left Elfin Cove at 0500. We passed Lituya Bay and Yakutat as the wind powered us along at speeds faster than our engine could carry us. We saw 2 Minke whales, 23 Humpback whales, 3 were in full body breaches, numerous Black Footed Albatrosses, Petrels, Fulmars and Shearwaters. We were treated to great views of massive glaciers, La Perousse and Brady both in the majestic Fairweather Range and arrived in beautiful Prince William Sound two and half days later with a Brown bear on the beach.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Headed out tomorrow.

Headed out tomorrow.

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