Friday, May 23, 2014

Khutze Inlet

Day 4 and more                                    59.1 nm

Khutze Inlet is a great place to spend some time when VHF weather posts strong wind warnings, then gale warnings for the area. As predicted, winds began to puff as we neared Khutze, but the water inside the inlet was glassy smooth. The head of the inlet was empty when we arrived so we returned to our favorite spot at the foot of cascading waterfalls, thundering down from a snowfield above. We found much less snow this year on the surrounding peaks, and none around the shore.

While we arrived in dry, settled weather, the rain soon followed. It’s Khutze, it rains, that’s just how it is. Raindrops beat down on roof, pounded on portholes and hatches, and threatened to drown out the background roar of the cascading waterfalls. Noisy calls from Bonaparte gulls and shrill shrieks of eagles occasionally punctuated this steady rhythm of water music. Otherwise the world around us was quiet. Each glance outside revealed our neighboring waterfall grow in size.This was a good day to bake cookies, work on photography, and stay tucked inside while it poured buckets outside… well, several inches at least.

New neighbors arrived in mid afternoon, anchored farther across the river delta, closer to the primary channel, and reported the weather forecast had not improved. Upcoming 35-45 knot winds and 2-3 meter seas were still predicted, good to know since surrounding mountains block VHF radio reception inside this fiordlike inlet.

Torrential rains increased the number of waterfalls around the anchorage and greatly increased the volume of water coming over each fall and down the river. The flooding river carried muddy water into the inlet, bringing scores of downfall trees into the anchorage. While most of the debris posed no immediate problem, two long specimens did snag on Mola Mola, a 58’ Fleming. A skiff assist from Great Bear II took care of the threat, but the vessels anchored close to the river must have kept an uneasy log watch that night. We were lucky, no trees, logs or other debris floated close to us in our waterfall site.
After several days the “quasi-stationery” storm front passed and we were more than ready to move on. Bear sightings would have made this rainy stay more exciting, but we enjoyed relaxing and socializing, meeting up with old friends and making some new ones.

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