Thursday, June 19, 2014

Peace Rider in Prince William Sound

For those of you who may be checking in from time-to-time and not given up on my peregrinations and quest for the next scent in this multi-act drama called life, here is my general route of travel to this point which is the Cordova local library in eastern PWS.

I launched from Seward on a Sunday 1 June with the help of long time friend Fran Mauer who drove my truck back from the launch ramp.  My thought was to make it to Juneau but small boats have a way of taking a toll on older carcasses.  In short you get bounced around a lot.  It was raining that day but sailed nearly two thirds of the way to Resurrection Point.  Next day the weather broke and I had four more days of fair weather motoring and sailing.  I was also a bit "dizzy" for several days until I got my sea legs back.

The second day with only easy swells out on the Gulf I motored all the way across and threw the hook down in Auk Bay.  Dall porpoises joined me briefly cavorting under and in front of the boat.  From there the next day crossed into Earlington Passage, past Chenega didn't stop and made it to an Anchorage on Green Island - another long day of sailing and motoring.  Two nights on Green Island.  Anchored out and was able to hike and have a look around.  There is a Forest Service Cabin there but I preferred the fabric roof overhead in my 20 foot sailing dory.  Besides it was occupied the first night and I had not made advance reservations.

The weather was going down again when I crossed over to Montague the to have a look at Stockdale Harbor.  My hat blew off in the wind and landed in the water during the crossing..  I immediately tried to get the motor going rather than sail to it.  Lesson, learn how to sail and not rely on a motor.  Old habits die hard. Lost it in the waves.  Found a nice hidey hole place in Stockdale but still got blasted by williwas when the worst of the weather hit overnight.  Sea otters and I floated in to a secure anchorage on the incoming tide.  Nearby was Constantine Harbor and spent two night there amist the commercial salmon seining fleet just beginning their season.  Invited to a dinner of fresh copper river red salmon on Tom Lopez's boat out of Valdez.  Boy was that a treat.   This is a hatchery supported run of dog salmon with fry released into net pens.  George Vancouver first arrived here many moons ago.  A good place to careen ships with extensive tidal flats at low tide..

I motored out of there but was able to sail most of the way to Montague Point on the east end of the island.  In fair skies with wind blowing about 20 I decided to cross over to Bear Cape on the west end of Hitchenbrook..  Saw two minke whales up close and humpback whales blowing in the distance.  My little boat is very seaworthy  but you have to pay attention so I was bounched around and had to remain standing for most of the way across.  An oil tanker drove by escorted by two sea going tugs, this arrangement mandated by the '89 Exxon Valdez oil spill.  Arrived Constantine harbor beat and lowered the hook very close to Nuchek Spirit Camp.  Lots of sea otters at first but they cleared out after I showed up.

English Bay across from Camp was where Captain Cook first landed which ultimately launched the harvest of sea otters leading ultimately to their near extinction from over hunting.

Later Leonard Lange the Aleut caretaker came over and invited me to the camp which I did the following day.  Ended up staying there from 9 to 14 June.  He fired up the sauna or bano as he called it and we both got a bit clearner.  I also met Chewbacka a big loveable mixed breed, golden lab, shepard mix according to Leonard.  He'd follow me down to the dock and belonged to the place.   I needed that soothing much appreciated heat for tired bones and muscles.  After another storm passed I rounded Bear Cape north bound over long swells but light winds

Made it to Velper Cove and camped there on an outgoing tide.  Had to move early in the morning to avoid being stranded on mud flats.  Four Sitka blacktail deer showed up and crossed the cove and a bit later two more.  I was sitting unseen watching through a window in the tent shelter over my boat.

Next day poked into Canoe Passage Marine Park and then decided to try and make it to near Cordova ahead of a stronger storm front. 

Lots of memorable characters here in this fishing community of roughly 2500.  Some live on boats because its affordable.  There is only ferry and air connections out of here if  you don't have a boat. 

From here will retrace some of my route back through Orca Inlet then look for an anchorage in Port Gravina depending on when I get out of here tomorrow.

Thought this would be short instead of an epistle.  Wonderful place PWS,,a gem of a water world supporting a host of marine life. 

Take a few days to reach Valdez.  Like to see a bit more of the Sound before hauling out there and heading back to Fairbanks.


Peace Rider

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