Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ketchikan to Petersburg

photo: at the Forest Service dock in Roosevelt Harbor (note the milky-green glacier water)

July 1                  Roosevelt Harbor
Day 11                 34 nm                                                                            
A pod of 20+ porpoise joined us in Clarence Strait, surfing in the bow wake and seeming to dare each other to get closer, closer still, pushing one another out of the lead position. Just the thought of them leaping and playing around us as we traveled brings a smile. Any photos just show splashes, places where porpoise used to be as they were quicker than the photographer’s reflexes. Maybe next time.

Roosevelt Harbor, Zarembo Island was a new stop for us. We usually head for St. John Harbor on the other side of the island. Close to Wrangell, each of these harbors has a Forest Service dock and access to miles and miles of roads/trails. Nope, we didn’t take the 21-mile hike to look at St. John; we just enjoyed a shorter photo walkabout closer to the dock.

photo: scarlet paintbrush

June 30                    Burnett Inlet                                                               
Day 10                     24 nm
Our usual Burnett anchorage has changed, sort of. The actual location is still the same beautiful, sheltered and quiet place but the newly updated Nobeltec charts now show our favorite spot colored in green not blue! No way! we had more than 50 feet under the hull at a near-zero low tide. 

This photo is a bit blurry, shot at an 80x digital zoom on a pocket camera without a tripod, but it does highlight the distinctive white head of a bald eagle. We can spot them easily as they perch high in the evergreens, We just look for big white golf balls. This big guy, and his buddies, kept us company in Burnett Inlet, swooping from rock to tree to rock... and squawking their peculiar cry.

June 27-29              Meyers Chuck                                                      
Day 8-9                    38 nm
Meyers Chuck seemed unusually quiet with few residents and fewer transients in evidence and the commercial fishing boats out chasing salmon. Two or three chimneys puffed woodsmoke each morning and evening, an occasional chainsaw or hammer broke the silence in the harbor, and the skiffs that appeared from the back chuck zipped past the dock infrequently on some important mission. Postmistress Cassie P. flew in on mail day and there was a brief flurry of activity at the post office. Dock neighbors included small WA tugs, CA sailboats, WA trawlers and a 24’ aluminum fishing boat from MT… but not all on the same day.

It was way too blustery to run the dinghy outside the harbor and fish, so I settled for a walkabout to visit the spiderweb, peek in the gallery windows, and see what had changed. Nothing major. In previous years I’ve rambled on at length about this wonderful place, it’s charm and it’s people, so I won’t repeat. The Chuck remains one of our favorite stops.

June 25-26                    Ketchikan                                                               
Day 6-7                         35 nm
Ketchikan was wet, off and on, and always when we were out and about on errands. We hiked north to the post office, south to purchase fishing licenses and check out the new location of Tongass Trading Co. marine hardware store - it didn’t matter, it poured and blew. Each evening it felt good to stay aboard rather than climb into rain gear and hike to nearby Bar Harbor or Oceanview Restaurant, my two favorite Ketchikan eateries. How lazy is that? 

Floatplanes are a routine part of Ketchikan life, background music to the other harbor sounds.  Conversation paused while this Beaver flew low overhead, and there's never just one plane it seems. 

Check out the unusual, experimental ferry boat at the shipyard drydock. The Capt knew all about it's design process and purpose, while I just thought it looked strange.

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