Kodiak, Our childhood dreams

We’re so humbled and grateful that our childhood dreams were fulfilled. Kodiak is more than we anticipated. Wonderful fishing community, generous people offered us rides to the store, laundry, hiking, driving all around the island and lots of fresh fish. We’ve enjoyed the long daylight hours, warm summer days, fantastic juicy wild berries, mushrooms and bear watching.
Time is closing in, we are wanting to get across the Gulf now, a 3 day passage to Yakutat if the weather holds. We’re watching the gribs, talking to the locals about currents and waves. Soon we’ll set sail. Send us good thoughts for a safe passage as we leave “The Last Frontier”

Vacation Days!

Our overnight crossing was very good, one of the better ones since leaving Japan. 18 kts of wind just aft of the beam. We made up to 7 kts in 1 meter waves but as the waves began to build and adverse current created chop we slowed down to a comfortable average of 5.5kts. Dione was 3 miles ahead of us the entire distance so we were proud of our performance as they’re a good 10 feet longer on the waterline. We had perfect timing for the morning tide and daylight. We dropped anchor in pouring down rain, an unprotected anchorage in loose gravel. With the strong wind forecast approaching we gave up on the petroglyphs and headed back out for another 8 hour motor ride through dense fog to Japanese Bay.
We were richly rewarded with very protected mud holding and calm bay. The bay meets the Japanese standard of solitude, rugged but with romantic details of flowers, fine sand beaches, waist high tundra grass with quiet birds floating in shallow water.
We watched a mother bear and twin cubs play along the shoreline. They were fiercely growling and bawling as they moved off to their den for the evening.
The sunshine was our first in weeks. We walked along the shoreline with Glenn and Sue, sat and enjoyed the peacefulness of the mountains.
The weather forecast calls for summertime weather so we are on the move to 3 Saints Bay to enjoy more of Kodiak in calm anchorages and t-shirt weather.
These rare days make the rough passages, cold rain and dense fog worth the effort to be here. Wish you could sit in the warm cockpit and hear the bears with us!

Kodiak Bound

We’ve been day hopping up the peninsula, from Volcano bay to Sand Point back across to Chignik Harbor., nearly 350 miles eastbound. Stunning volcanic scenery, gorgeous floral and fauna, rugged terrain in the anchorages, more whales, 4-5 bears walking and catching salmon, jumping salmon and Stellar sea lions with SV Tara alongside. We had a great reunion with our Australian boat friends on SV Dione, last seen in March where we said our farewells in Osaka knowing we’d meet up somewhere in Alaska. We spent 4 days catching up, hiking the willow alder covered hillside picking salmon berries and late night dinners with fresh salmon and halibut from the local fishing boats in Chignik harbor. What an amazing place with the friendliest people, all curious about our sailing adventures.
We had a terrific sail from Chignik, doing nearly 7 kts in steady wind and relatively calm seas. Spent our last night in Aniakchak bay with Dione on the peninsula side preparing for our overnight passage to Kodiak.
We’re currently bound for the southern point of Kodiak, Lazy Bay in Alitak strait. There are petroglyphs out on the point. Bears too, but we will stay in a group and have our whistles and air horn. The locals assure us the bears aren’t interested in eating us while wearing heavy clothing. Hmmm.
Time is going by so quickly, leaving us very little time to enjoy each anchorage. There is another big blow coming but we’ll be in safe anchorages with Dione. We’re looking forward to exploring Kodiak’s waterways as we head for Saint Paul harbor on NE Kodiak. Most of the 13 boats that departed Japan will be there, all waiting for good weather to cross over to the Prince William Sound vicinity.

Rained out

We bypassed Dora harbor and motored another 60 miles to a remote anchorage named Captains Harbor, near the base of Mt Dutton on the Alaska peninsula. A very protected anchorage in a basin of jagged granite, steep mountain sides with brush. We’re finally starting to see more brush, still no tall trees though. There was a bear in the shoreline but only Jacomine got to see it. Salmon were jumping but we aren’t fishing yet. It’s heavily raining and so we’re off to another anchorage called Volcano bay, 30 miles around the corner. We will be harbor hopping for about 10 days on our way to Kodiak. At least we’re done with overnight passages for a bit.
It’s tiring to motor all day but there are so many beautiful places to see here. And lots of whales too!

Birthday and Farewell party

7 days in Dutch Harbor, Unalaska. A large fishing port that boasts of home port to “The Deadliest Catch” fishing boats. We saw film crews and captains walking around town, they looked a little fishy and scruffy to me. We spent every day with cruising friends and boat projects for everybody. This was the first port with an extraordinary expensive Safeway grocery store, Ace Hardware, a real gas station. Bald eagles sit on the dumpsters like begging seagulls on the beach. They’re dirty and scruffy looking, their feathers litter the road and harbor area, they are a menace to the wind index at the top of the masts and poop all over the boats. But we still stopped to watch them soar overhead. The juveniles fight in midair screeching as they lock their talons and do the classic tumble.

We said tearful goodbyes as we split up to cruise our separate ways, wished Jacomine a happy 60th, barbecued fresh halibut – a gift from a local fisherman, and ate nearly a gallon of huge sweet salmon berries.
The weather finally lightened up so we are now headed for Dora Harbor, a small knob on the east side of Unimak island, 138 miles from DH.
The wind is calm but the island chain creates fast currents causing large swells with tide changes.
Whales swim by very close- diving and slapping their massive tails. Bright yellow and orange headed puffins swim in clusters, and large gray boobies skim the surface of the beautiful sapphire colored water. This is an amazing leg of our journey!

Birthday and Farewell party

7 days in Dutch Harbor, Unalaska. A large fishing port that boasts of home port to “The Deadliest Catch” fishing boats. We saw film crews and captains walking around town, they looked a little fishy and scruffy to me. We spent every day with cruising friends and boat projects for everybody. This was the first port with an extraordinary expensive Safeway grocery store, Ace Hardware, a real gas station. Bald eagles sit on the dumpsters like begging seagulls on the beach. They’re dirty and scruffy looking, their feathers litter the road and harbor area, they are a menace to the wind index at the top of the masts and poop all over the boats. But we still stopped to watch them soar overhead. The juveniles fight in midair screeching as they lock their talons and do the classic tumble.

We said tearful goodbyes as we split up to cruise our separate ways, wished Jacomine a happy 60th, barbecued fresh halibut – a gift from a local fisherman, and ate nearly a gallon of huge sweet salmon berries.
The weather finally lightened up so we are now headed for Dora Harbor, a small knob on the east side of Unimak island, 138 miles from DH.
The wind is calm but the island chain creates fast currents causing large swells with tide changes.
Whales swim by very close- diving and slapping their massive tails. Bright yellow and orange headed puffins swim in clusters, and large gray boobies skim the surface of the beautiful sapphire colored water. This is an amazing leg of our journey!

The Bering Sea

Captains’ Log: Stardate 14072018 Day 29,
Alaska journey

Current Position. 53 40N. 168 47W
We are doing well, getting lots of sleep and finally able to cook and eat. John was the mainstay of this leg as I battled motion sickness.

The cold sea is fairly calm at the moment, a nice relief from the rolling and pitching while cooking or standing to chart our position. With very little wind the sea suddenly becomes turbulent, chasing us with white cappped 2-3?meter waves on long swells about 7 seconds apart lasting several hours. Peering out through the cabin hatch I can see only walls of dark gray water looming closely at the stern. A few caught us by surprise sending clear water through the lifelines.
The cockpit is a salty mess each time we step out to look around. John does most of the work outside as it’s very slippery and he has a hard time maintaining his foothold. I am easily thrown about so I stay just inside the companionway waiting for instructions.

The Bering sea, another adventurous dream fulfilled. Far off, 709 miles to the North we are just abeam “The Big Diomede island”. It’s Russian territory sitting almost equally between Alaska an Russia. 20 miles to the Alaskan border and 23 miles to the Russian border. Pretty cool.
We thought we’d see some Russian fishing fleet on radar or the AIS but we encountered only one Alaskan fishing boat thus far. Miles of gray ocean and light gray sky beyond our visual scope in all directions seem so surreal at times. Like we are the only two people left on the planet. No radio chatter, not even static noises.

We are motor sailing and approaching the northwest corner of Umnak Island. We have only to round Umnak and Dautch Harbor, Unalaska will be within 15 hours.
We hope to arrive by early morning to catch a slack current. The opposing current runs at about 2.5 knots against us later in the day. At least the forecast is for North wind and very light so our headway into the dock area shouldn’t be hampered. A new place, new surroundings, reuniting with our cruising buddies.

We will post again as we turn the corner!

Adak Winds

Day 28 of Sailing Alaska

Pos 52 48N. 172 30We departed Adak harbor at 06:15 in good conditions with full sails. We anticipated stronger wind once out from the protection of the island so we’re prepared for a brisk 400 mile sail to Unalaska.
Our noon to noon run was 133 nm in 20 knots with steep waves in short periods. As the wind increased we dipped our cap rails into the water, forcing us to slow down and reef our the sails. We surged down some of waves with a skidding effect that sent my stomach lunging upwards. Bring on the seasick tablets.

The wind has abated some leaving us with northwest sloppy seas from the Bering sea and light wind from the Southwest. Bad combination for sailing downwind or even quartering off the beam. So we’re motorsailing til the wind picks up and the sea conditions stabilize. We have 230 miles to go.

We bought Adak sweatshirts with the words “Adak, Alaska Birth place of the Winds” they aren’t kidding.
The picture was taken when we arrived in Adak. The south wind was gusting over 50 knots around Mt. Moffet, elevation only 2800 feet but the affect of the williwaws were very apparent. Notice the boomerang shaped cloud. We sailed under that with reefed sails and heeled so far over we that we had to keep our hands on the sheets/ropes to release the wind from the sails to right Konami. The clearing in the center of the boomerang was windless leaving us bobbing on the choppy sea. It was a kickass ride!

Wind has picked up, I can hear the waves rushing under us now. Time to pay attention to the them, surfing and skidding isn’t good for our appetites.

Into the Mystic

Good bye, Adak, it was a real vacation. We spent 13 days on Adak living almost carefree at anchor and tied to the tall fishing dock. The local residents were very generous with rides, some fresh food, shower and laundry facilities in their homes and gave us a few large chunks of fresh halibut. We had a grand tour of the old Navy facilities, toured the dark, mold ridden underground bunkers, and were driven around the island getting a current status on the massive clean up job of the Navy responsibility. Our tax payers dollars to the tune of $12-15 Million dollars a year since 1995 are being spent on ordnance removal, and diesel tanks – millions of gallons buried in leaking underground storage tanks. Most of it from the 1980’s fear of war with Russia.
Beyond the ghost town/city that could be used for a setting of “The Walking Dead” complete with city blocks of abandoned duplexes, vehicles, fire trucks and bulldozers the 60 or so annual residents and 300 transient fish plant employees the rugged and wild terrain is magnificent!
Sea otters, seals and bald eagles were plentiful indicating a healthy coastline. We hiked in The waist deep tundra, lupine covered hillsides and black sand beaches.
We enjoyed spending fun time with our cruising buddies, Arpatas-French couple and Tara-Netherlands couple.

So now we’ve all departed, bound for Unalaska- Dutch Harbor where we hope to reunite with our Australian friends on Dione.
We will post our passage notes as we sail the 400 miles, hopefully 3 days in a brisk wind.

Send us good thoughts on the South wind!