We’re back afloat, cruising, and it feels good. I remember a wine called “Goats Do Roam” that we used to see in the local wine store when we lived in Annapolis, and Roxy and I would buy it and change the G to a B. Boats do roam. They’re supposed to be moving, not tied to a dock so much. Jim and I are wanderers, and we’re not good at sitting still for too long.
We took a short shakedown cruise to nearby Ideal Cove, meeting up with liveaboard friends Barb and Rick.Rick was kind enough to take Jim out and show him some tricks and tips for crabbing and processing the catch. I don’t eat seafood, but Jim likes it – so it’s silly not to take advantage of the bounty that lives underneath us. Tammy and Russell were giving away their old small crab pots (because they got bigger ones), so now Jim has two pots, accessories, and bait. Knut was catching herring off the dock right up until we were about to cast off the lines to make sure Jim had more bait. “You don’t have enough!!”, he insisted. (We have such sweet friends!)
The day was brilliant and beautiful as we headed out to start summer cruising. It’s momentous since the cruising season is so much shorter than we’re used to. In our east coast life we cruised almost all year, taking about three months off to winter in the Florida Keys and catch up on boat maintenance. Up here, we wait for good weather to either do maintenance, or to cruise. We savor every minute on the water that much more.We spotted a number of humpbacks as we cruised along, and were happy to see a few pods of Dall’s porpoise – compact black and white rockets in the water.They liked to ride the pressure wave in front of the bulbous bow, but they’re so hard to photograph because they move so fast and don’t come out of the water very much. It’s exciting to see them – even more fun than dolphins riding our bow on the east coast.We also spotted some of the other black and white marine mammals in the area – orcas. As we headed north in Stephens Passage from one anchorage to the next, we heard a significant change in the weather forecast so we headed for Taku Harbor to sit tight for an extra day to wait for the storm to pass. We were tucked into a protected spot, but even there we had wind gusts of 50 knots all day Sunday. Late in the day a French sailboat came into the harbor with three young guys aboard. They had their mainsail reefed down to the tiniest bit of sail, and they said they had a great sail up the passage (ah, youth). They also said they were going below for a strong drink!
The next day the weather cleared, the winds abated, and this was the view that greeted us as we emerged from Taku…We were heading to Juneau – the big city – to do some shopping at Costco and Fred Meyer to fill our freezers for the summer. Food is quite expensive here since everything comes up by barge, but it’s cheaper in Juneau than on our island. Some things are almost half the price, so it’s worth a trip to civilization once in a while. We stocked up, vacuum packed, stowed and inventoried and finished a few boat chores that are far easier to do while tied to a dock.
Jim spotted a large humpback (about 50′ long) swimming under and around the docks, feasting on the little fish that are everywhere in the harbor. The harbormaster told us that the whale spent the winter here, rubbing on the bottoms of boats to scratch itches, and sleeping next to the 65′ tug on the outside dock. There are also a few harbor seals who stay well fed here.
Once the weather cleared and the clouds lifted, we could see the mountains surrounding the Mendenhall Glacier from the pilothouse. We’ll get to see the big glacier as we head out this morning, and we hope to see some whales feeding since the tide will be flooding – their favorite time to feed.Now we’re all finished with docks for a while, and that suits me fine. Next stop: Funter Bay where Jim heard there’s good crabbing. I know there’s good kayaking, so we’ll both be happy!