August 17, 2010

Clarence Strait: Petersburg to Canada

There is no gender bias on the Alize'.

Every man, woman or child takes their turn hauling anchor.

Brianna brought a level of sailing experience and enthusiasm that was unprecedented by previous crew members on the voyage (no offense fellas). She hails from the rich sailing culture of Missoula, Montana - where she skippers her own boat in Flathead Lake.

Her expertise was timely because we had high winds and high seas as we crossed the Dixon Entrance into Canada. As usual - none of these high seas are captured in photos.

The second day was notable for its lack of visibility. This only became a concern when we realized we were spinning backwards in tide rips and the engine's water intake had cut out.

But all issues were quickly remedied and we continued south through Snow Passage.

We flew the new spinnaker on a leisurely day before crossing Dixon Entrance.

Salmon continue to spill their blood on the decks of the Alize'.

All in all - it was a pretty chill section - Dixon Entrance notwithstanding

And we ran into the Time Bandit from 'Deadliest Catch' outside of Mektalatka - they were living large.

Baird Glacier and another crew rotation.

This ice represents the final glacier cocktail of the Alaska voyage. We visited Baird glacier in Thomas Bay - but due to huge outwash rivers, could not get onto the glacier. So we busied ourselves by collecting floating icebergs - which kept the ice chest cold for many days. And it gave Ryan a bittersweet 'good-bye' gin and tonic. Not Sapphire, but certainly Bombay.

After a 24 hour re-provision in Petersburg - Ryan is off the boat and Brianna is on the boat till Prince Rupert.

Chatham Strait: Angoon to Baranof Island

Angoon is a beautiful town - a Tlinget community - on the eastern shores of Chatham Strait. But it is a dry town and so it is best not to show up there with a hankering for a cold draft beer - because - that's not their thing. They have other things - but not that one. So, we headed back out to the Straits at sunset - looking for that elusive cold beer.

Incidentally, we would not find a cold beer until Petersburg - about 7 days later. But, the sail that night was one of my favorites from the entire trip. Just perfect winds and nice lighting. Ryan brought out his fish eye lens to class up these shots.

sea mammals and salmon in Chatham Strait

Dalls Porpoise bow riding the Alize'.

Ryan got a beautiful shot of this porpoise right in the middle of a very fast rooster kick.

A single salmon provides about 3-4 meals on the Alize', so we have been bringing one in ever couple of days to keep the Omega 3's up.

and another one.

Harbor seals line up like a team of neoprene clad divers.

An Orca patrols the top of Chatham Strait.

Another very difficult shot by Ryan - a Humpback in mid-breach caught with a telephoto lens.

gorgeous tail-lob.

Ryan takes the helm.

Heading down Chatham Strait: Chichagof Island

Pavlof Harbor is famed for its grizzy residents. We saw this hungry fellow as the tide dropped. Many salmon were flopping around the bay right next to him - but he wasn't about to jump in the water and throw out a disc trying to land one.

He patiently paced the intertidal rocks, sniffing about and waiting for a salmon to get trapped in a tidepool.

I am sure this is an energetically efficient strategy - but we didn't see him snag any leftover salmon that evening - and he looked really thin.

So, it might be time for him to step it up a bit.

Blue mussel shells collecting in dune-like clusters along the coastline at Hawk Inlet.

The Alize' alone and at rest in Basket Bay.

as the tide recedes.

Chichagof Island houses all sorts of gems. Basket Bay has a limestone cave at the head of the anchorage. Fortunately, Ryan just finished his doctorate in geology so he could help make sense of the rock situation over here - turns out its a jumbled mess of a little bit of everything.

At high tide, we portaged our kayaks over the Pavlof waterfall and found a freshwater lake.

Two eagles kept a discerning watch on our portage.

Photo credits: Ryan Peterson

Tenakee Springs on Chichagof Island

After not hanging for 20 years - it is best to cut the formalities and head straight to a men's only hot spring - for a good soak.

We thought the interior of the hot spring looked like a Thai prison cell.

departing Juneau and heading south with Ryan Peterson

If the Alize' wants to avoid wintering in Alaska - she must turn tiller and head south before the days get any shorter. goodbye Juneau and your gargantuan cruise ship culture.

The boat is re-provisioned.

and the diesel engine is maintained -

and the next crew rotation brings in a friend from wayback - Ryan Peterson - the guy I used to blow up GI Joes with in third grade. Haven't seen him much since then - but here he is - ready to go.

All the high quality images from the Juneau south to Petersburg jaunt are his handiwork.

He is excused for bringing so many bags because one of them held a bunch of fancy camera lens's and another one held food.