Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sunshine, Salmon and Still in Canada

77.5nm          Brundige Inlet
Wind and wave conditions and a steady barometer determine the timing for a transit of Dixon Entrance East, the stretch of water where we cross the international border into Alaska. While it is tempting to linger in northern British Columbia, exploring interesting coves and inlets, we don’t want to miss a good weather window to make this big, open-water crossing. Today’s easy, protected run along Dundas Island was so smooth that we were almost tempted to run farther and make the crossing. Almost tempted, but wind and waves kicked up a bit and after nine hours of running we were ready to head for a quiet anchorage.

The next morning VHF weather reported ocean swells in Dixon Entrance West at 2-3 meters… yes, that’s meters, not feet!  We chose to spend a second night in Brundige Inlet at the north end of Dundas, waiting for winds and water to calm down. Relaxing on anchor in a beautiful setting isn't hard, but we were anxious to enter Alaska, arrive in Ketchikan to clear U.S. Customs, and get on with the SE Alaska adventures.

The M/V Jericho crew brought in a near-20 pound salmon (trolling a black hoochie, if you're interested) and Ron grilled one big fillet with our not-so-secret sauce for a terrific dinner entree. 

The day was warm and sunny and we were content to hang out for an extra day or two  to wait for conditions to improve. I don’t care what the sun does tomorrow, but I am asking the weather gods to calm the wind and flatten the water. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Crazy Ivans and Bottleneck Inlet Crab

Day 8     Bottleneck Inlet

Dee had another “Crazy Ivan” moment while switching the autopilot from one route to a waypoint on another route, resulting in a wild course swing. That’s two in two days, we definitely don’t need a third. We reviewed the procedure and stepped through the process again… cautiously… Dee at the controls with the Capt. supervising… and worked out the issue. Aha! I get it now. In the future we’ll I’ll change routes with less potential for excitement. No more “Crazy Ivans” for Dee.   (If you have read or seen The Hunt for Red October you’ll understand the reference.)

The Dungeness crab in Bottleneck Inlet must have been hungry this month. It didn’t take long to catch the daily 6-crab limit of these big boys, even with minimal bait. Mmmmm, the first crab of the season seems especially tasty, so loaded with rich, sweet flavor that it doesn’t need any sauce or fancy accompaniments. Later on we’ll enjoy indulging in crab enchiladas, crab quesadillas, crabby eggs Benedict, crab bisque, crab salad, crab pizza, crab cakes, pasta with crab, crab dip etc. Whatever the preparation, fresh crab is worth the effort it takes to clean one… or two… or six. My favorite? all of the above, just so it's fresh-caught, just-cooked Dungeness crab. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Sneaky Eagle in Seaforth Channel

Salmon fishing at Idol Point was slow and a little uncomfortable as we rocked and rolled in choppy water. The first hour produced one hit that didn’t set the hook and one scrappy rock fish. Ron reeled in the smallish fish, planning to release it when whoosh! An eagle performed an extreme power dive, swooping down to the water right in front of Ron. Still moving, it grabbed the fish and flew away, speeding skyward with fish, fishing line, lure and 15-inch metal flasher still attached. The reel screamed as line flew out, stripping off rapidly despite having the drag set. Ron grabbed the knuckle-buster reel, ouch!, tightened the drag and jerked the pole, stopping the bird’s escape and jerking him out of the sky. Splashdown! The eagle released the fish and flew away but continued to circle overhead while Ron reeled the fish up to the dinghy again. Once released the fish sank and that opportunistic eagle lost interest and flew away. No more fish, no more eagle, no more drama. No problem. We do have quite a memorable fish story.