Seattle to Ketchikan

6/4/2009:  Hi everyone!  Sorry it’s been so long since writing but life has been hectic.  We are finally ready to continue our travels on STX.  This summer we’re planning on heading back up the Inside Passage to Alaska, spending a bit more time than we did last summer exploring along the way.   We are currently working out the last kinks between Sail Mail (E-mail for boaters using Single Side Band Radio) and our new computers and storing the last few things away on the boat.  I make it sound like we are all ready to go, not true, but it’s time to leave!   The weather is beautiful and the dock master informed us two days ago that he has sub-let our slip starting this evening!   Guess that’s our cue to leave! 

This afternoon we will be leaving Bainbridge Island, WA, where the boat has been this past winter, for Port Ludlow, WA to anchor out.  It's only a couple hours away but thought it would be nice to be away from a dock for a bit.  Friday we will head for Victoria B.C. to check in and if it's not too crazy we will hang around there for a day or so as KC has never been there before.  After that we have charted a course up through the Inland Passage to Ketchikan, taking our time and hopefully doing some kayaking along the way.  On June 22 we have to be in Ketchikan where we will pick up friends from Seattle and then head to Juneau.   We plan to go through the Zimovia Straits again as it was so beautiful last time, bypass Wrangell altogether and plan a stop in Tracy Arm.  We will arrive in Juneau no later than June 29 as our friends catch a flight out that night. Hopefully my brother, Rob, won't have to run out in his boat to ferry them in, although it may be that we will be docking and immediately running them to the airport as it will be tight I think! 

For our Juneau friends, we should be in Tracy Arm around June 26th, 27 or 28th, love for you to join us if you can!  If you think you might be able to, E-mail us and we will call from Ketchikan and/or Petersburg.

We will be in the Juneau area for about a month with side trips up to Skagway and Haines and then intend to head back to the Seattle area via Sitka and the outside waters, as would like to do some more blue water sailing again.  Once we come back in off the ocean we will hang around in the San Juan Islands for a week or so and then bring the boat back into our slip in Bainbridge Island.  That is the tentative plan anyway, but plans can always change as ours have a tendency to do!

Our web site will be updated soon and pictures will be added as we go along.  

If you would like to be taken off this email list please let me know and I will take your name off of it, otherwise you will receive emails whenever we arrive in areas that have email service.   KC and JoLe

6/6/2009:  We arrived in Victoria in semi-cloudy weather and left this a.m. with wind to sail and some sun and it's looking nicer every minute.  Decided one day in Victoria was enough after Customs reduced our wine inventory and searched our boat from top to bottom leaving it a mess.  Remember the boats from heck, mother ship and 7 small boats, that were with us last year coming down from Prince Rupert?  We spotted them again behind us after we left Victoria.  Can you believe our luck?  Hope to take a different path than they do but we did not do well last year shaking them so we will see.  We are headed for Dodd Narrows this evening (staying inside, not going out into Haro Straits as we want to see something different than last year) and depending upon timing, will either anchor before the Narrows and wait for tomorrow to pass through or pass through and anchor around Nanaimo (spelling?).  Love Mom and Dad  (JoLe and KC)

Arrived in Nanaimo B.C. around 6:15 p.m. last night, 6/7/2009, and anchored in Newcastle Island Marine Park with about 100 other boats, it was a bit crowded for our taste.  Dobb Narrows was a bit of a let down after Seymour Narrows last year, but then again we went through Dobb near slack tide and last year we went through Seymour with a current of probably 8 knots, also Seymour is much longer than Dobb.  One exciting thing, we put up the spinnaker yesterday without problems, took about 20 minutes to get it set up and flying!   It ran like perfect and added 3kts to motor sail at 8.5 for 4 hrs.  

Pulled anchor this morning, 6/8/2009, and headed for Musket Island Marine Park which is on the east side of the Georgia Strait, across from Texada Island, just south of Powell River.  If we can find anchorage there we will off load the kayaks and kayak around, possibly staying through tomorrow depending upon what time we get there today and how much kayaking we decide we want to do.  Weather is still great, some clouds but blue sky also, 70 degrees currently (11 a.m.).  Love, Mom and Dad (JoLe and KC)-----

6/8/2009: Arrived at Musket Island Marine Park at 3pm and anchored in 80' of clear water.  Spent the next two hrs in kayaks exploring.  Good workout and nice to be in the kayaks again.  Went again this am and met a couple moving to Ketchikan with their boat.  Planned on anchoring out at Campbell River to hit Seymour Narrows at 7am next day.  Plans have changed, we will get a slip for two nights at Campbell River so we can have the anchor windlass motor repaired. It decided after bringing up 150' of chain that it needed serviced and let me bring up the last 100' manually. Good workout but if I have a choice I will haul the anchor by pushing a button.  Great weather and enjoying the trip.  Looking forward to getting into Johnston Strait and the rest of the tighter passages.-----

6/10/2009:  We are still here in Campbell River BC having the windlass worked on.  Strange how you get stranded somewhere and it turns out to be the right thing.  Last year we loved the extra week in Dutch Harbor and then in Kodiak.  Now we have two additional days in Campbell River BC and it is turning out the same.  Lots of nice people and we are enjoying the area and would never have been able to get to know the area otherwise.  Plan to leave either Friday or Saturday a.m. to head north to Ketchikan.  Had a great Halibut dinner last night (ate out) and lamb this evening (ate on the boat) so we are getting well fed for the next leg.  The weather is great and looking forward to seeing the straits in sunny weather although the bugs are eating JoLe.  Love KC and JoLe (Dad and Mom)-----

At 6/11/2009 9:20 PM (utc) our position was 49°49.23'N 124°38.20'W

We have our windlass repaired and plan to leave at 7am on Friday. It's always funny how having to spend a few days in a location exposes you to the best sides of people as we have so enjoyed the people we have met here.  Found a great fishing/camping /clothes store that we spent very little in but could have if we had actually needed anything.  The weather continues to be great and we are ready to leave and be moving again.  After spending a bit of time here we may come back in the winter again to ski. Love Mom and Dad (KC and JoLe)-----

At 6/12/2009 9:20 PM (utc) our position was 49°49.23'N 124°38.20'W

We left Campbell River at 7am and went through Seymour Narrows at slack tide, very boring after last years passage at 15+kts.  Had headwind of 20 kts to start the day and they increased to 30 kts as the day progressed.  Gale warning in Johnstone Strait, where we are.  It would have been ok if we were going with the wind and seas but we took them head on, made for a rough time for a little while until they died down in late afternoon. Clear skies and nice day but no killer whales.  Going through George Passage, Labouchere Passage to Queen Charlotte Strait, through Queen Charlotte Strait and across Queen Charlotte Sound tomorrow (now today); will start up Fitz Hugh Sound, may be a long day.  Anchored in Boat Bay, 40 miles south of Port Hardy, great little place and the windlass worked fine, at least for dropping the anchor, we'll see how it works when we pull it up tomorrow.  Must leave at 6am tomorrow (now today) to take advantage of the currents.  Nice to be moving after hanging out at the dock.  Liked Campbell River but traveling is better.  Love, Mom and Dad (JoLe and KC)-----

6/13/2009: We are in Fury Cove just north of Queen Charlotte Sound, at the beginning (or end, depending on where you're coming from) of Fitz Hugh Sound. The day started with low overcast and glassy seas, the middle to end of the day became sunny with 20 - 25 knots of wind and a bit of sea (Queen Charlotte Sound), in fact JoLe doused herself with water at the helm, not as warm as Hawaii, but she had warned KC ahead of time to move as she knew it was going to happen at some point so he stayed warm and dry, and the day ended beautiful and sunny, very little wind and seas. It seems as if the cruise ships are out in full force as we were dodging them all morning. 

Saw something this morning we've never seen before, it was majestic but sad at the same time.  We had hundreds of porpoises charge at and by the boat and then we saw why, there were killer whales chasing them.  The set of killer whales that we happened to be watching (think there was more than one set) had separated a group of about three porpoises from the main group.  We must have watched them for ten minutes, although it seemed a lot longer, while the porpoises fought and jumped for their lives, they were leaping out of the water, the whales were leaping out of the water, at one point both a porpoise and a whale came out of the water at the same time and the porpoise jumped over the top of the whale, it was absolutely amazing (a dance of life).   The porpoises would even attack the killer whales.   From what we could tell only one of the three porpoises that we saw they had cordoned off escaped after a very valiant fight. Not what you see at Sea World, Shamu eating Flipper, fantasy vs reality.

Are heading for Codville Lagoon Marine Park tomorrow (Sunday), planning on going through Kwakshua Channel to Pruth Bay to anchor and go ashore to walk across the little bit of Calvert Island to see the ocean!  Will then head out via Hakai Passage back into and across Fitz Hugh Sound to Lagoon Bay where you go through another little passage into Codville Lagoon Marine Park, it looks really neat as there is an island (Codville Island, of course) right in the middle of the lagoon.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we will do some kayaking there.   Love, Mom and Dad (JoLe and KC)-----

6/14/2009: We are anchored in Codville Lagoon Marine Park.  Arrived at 5pm after stopping in Pruth Bay, going ashore and walking across to the Pacific side to a gorgeous beach(yes, Rob, the one you told JoLe about).  Would have liked to have spent a day laying on the beach except that it was cloudy and the bugs a bit hungry for us as lunch.  Where we landed there is now a resort that is used only in the summer for 10 weeks; this summer, due to economics, it's only open 6 weeks.  The rest of the year the caretakers live there somewhat secluded and very beautiful place.  Can't imagine having that special type of property and not having it utilized more.  They were very nice though and let us dock the dinghy at their dock instead of pulling it up on the beach.

Since leaving Campbell River we've only seen a few other boats traveling, expected to see more.  Where we are anchored there are lots of seals, ducks and a wolf howling somewhere next to the shore.  Something new, the ducks (momma and babies) actually run across the water making a pitter patter sound as they run. 

Monday we are off to see the towns of Bella Bella and New Bella Bella which we didn't see last year as we went through Gunboat Pass instead.   We will head across Fitz Hugh Sound directly across into Lama Passage, then up into Seaforth Channel and from there into Mathieson Channel.  Planning to spend the night if the winds are okay in Mary's Cove, if not, there is a place across from it called Klemtu.

The forecast for Monday, we believe, is rain and some fog so will see how or if that changes our travel plans. Love, Mom and Dad (JoLe and KC)-----

6/15/2009: We are anchored in Mary Cove off Finlayson Channel (not Mathieson as we said in yesterday's sail mail - they parallel each other).  This is the first place we've anchored that is easy to come into.  We had wanted to go up Klemtu Passage which is on the opposite side and then come over and anchor here (tried to go down it last year also), but both times have been thwarted by fog.  It started raining and then the fog came in around 11:30 this morning.   Sounds like it will be that way tomorrow also. 

Our day started out by packing the dinghy with the boat hook, fishing knife, leatherman, crabbing gloves, camera and binoculars and setting off to save a seal in Codville Lagoon that JoLe had spotted the evening before and become convinced was caught in a sunken fisherman's net or fishing line off the shore as the seal was acting so strange, jumping and splashing in the water, but always in the same place and never with any fish.  We spent about an hour patrolling the shore looking for the seal and/or any old nets that may have been tied to the shore and now sunk, none to be found, although we did get some great photos of the mother duck and babies "running" on the water that we mentioned in yesterdays sail mail. Good thing KC has patience as we ended pulling anchor a bit later than planned.  Of course, as we left the lagoon, what did we see?  The seal, splashing about in the same manner, no fish, etc., but in a different place! It looks as if he is a scammer trying to impress the female seals that he is a great catch and they should be his mate.  No other explanation since there was always another seal off to the side watching the show.  What guys will do for female attention.  More whales but at least they were not eating porpoises, just fish.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, we will head back out into Finlayson Channel and either go through the Hieckis Narrows or the Tolmie Channel (probably the Channel as we did the Narrows last time), then up Graham Reach to Butedale, where if weather permits, we had planned on stopping and tramping around a bit as there is a beautiful waterfall there and some old buildings to explore, then on through Fraser Reach to spend the night at Coghlan Anchorage off Promise Island at the South entrance to Grenville Channel. Decided that we do not mind traveling in the rain but when we stop it's nice to have dry weather to sit out after anchoring. Love, Mom and Dad (JoLe and KC)-----

6/16/2009: We anchored tonight where we planned to in Coghlan Anchorage for about 1/2 hour, pulled our anchor up and are currently traveling another 2 hours to Lowe Inlet off Grenville Channel to anchor (we anchored here last year and know it is a good anchorage).  Coghlan Anchorage just wasn't comfortable, we were out in a channel with wind coming down it, wind was fluting in the mast because the boat turned to the current, and we had the time to move, so decided to do it.  9:15 p.m., just arrived and anchored, much better!  Prettier, has seals, and we're protected from everything but the rain, which continued all day today, no respite at all.  Lots of fog also all day. 

Didn't stop at Butedale, it was too rainy but did pull in and take some pictures.  Too funny, we recognize allot of the boats that we are seeing, including some of the tugs.  One of the boats is the Nautilus Adventure, it was parked next to us in Juneau last year.   They are the group the goes scuba diving etc.  They passed us going into Tolmie Channel on their way to Butedale and we saw them there packing up their clientèle in wet suits to go scuba diving.  Brrrrr.....  (Mom and Dad we watched their CD).  Three pods of porpoises came along during the day and played with the boat for quite a while which was entertaining, they play with the boat with JoLe but not KC.   KC and I are taking turns at the helm, in the rain and as you can't read in the rain it gets a bit boring.   The other person usually hangs out in the companion way at least for a bit and visits with the other, keeping them on track with Nobeltec and checking AIS for large ships such as the BC Ferry and barges.  Not hearing much hope for sunshine except when Mindy and Dan get here. Not even a break in the rain until maybe Thursday, had hoped for tomorrow .... oh, well ... KC and I were talking HI next year in the boat, that's what happens when there is too much rain!

Tomorrow we will head for Gunboat Harbor on Gibson Island which is South of Prince Rupert and at the North end of Grenville Channel.  It will be a short day as that is where we planned to overnight when we were coming from Coghlan Anchorage so we may look around and see if we can find something further out.  Love, Mom and Dad (JoLe and KC)-----

6/17/2009:  Woke up this morning to no rain!  Even better it stayed that way most of the day, although there were a couple showers off and on.  Even though it wasn't raining when we got up and it looked nice and bright I must admit KC and I were very pessimistic and way over dressed for the day.  Then we spent the day being afraid to change out of too much clothes even though we were too warm because we were afraid to jinx the good weather we were having.   When we finally did break down and start to take some of our layers off, what happened?   You guessed it.  Rain squalls hit, but nothing like the day before, we only wore light rain gear and were able to see through this rain.  The good news is, the day ended in sunshine, with us laying out reading and stripping down as it got so warm! 

We bypassed Gunboat Harbor and found a place to anchor off of Arthur Passage (took Bloxam Pass between Lewis Island and Elliot Island into Chismore Passage).   We are anchored at the South end of the passage before it turns into Kelp Passage which isn't deep enough to navigate.  It will be a great anchorage, and has been so far, we've been here since 2:30 pm today, as long as the North winds don't blow up a lot. Pulled in this afternoon to check it out to find 4 -5 seals lazing around on some rocks next to us (not too close) and an otter running around on the beach for entertainment.  Not much other wildlife today.  

Tomorrow we will head up through Chismore Passage back into Arthur Passage where it meets with Malacca Passage, go across Chatham Sound and Dixon Entrance and enter Revillagigedo Channel where we will anchor in Kah Shakes Cove.   We anchored in this cove last year, it is a little hairy getting in as it is very narrow with rocks on both sides and somewhat shallow at the entrance, but well worth it as it is beautiful.  It will be a long day, it's about 75 miles.   The next day, Friday, though, we will be able to sleep in and head for Ketchikan which is about 25 miles from Kah Shakes.  Love, Mom and Dad (JoLe and KC)  PS  Rory, Congrats on the successful year!-----

6/18/2009: Arrived in Kah Shakes after SAILING across Dixon Entrance in 15 - 20 knot winds going 8 - 8.5+ knots over some great waves and rollers!  It was fantastic!  Had totally forgotten how quiet it is to turn off the motor and sail and listen to the wind and the waves and the rush of sailing, the whole reason we love the sailboat!  Also motor sailed across quite a bit of Chatham Sound before that!   Weather was sunny/cloudy and warm all day until we came into Alaska!  Still no rain but listened to the forecast for the next couple of days and it sounds like rain until Monday or Tuesday.  Oh, well, it makes you appreciate what you have when you have it.

Entering Kah Shakes was as fun as ever, especially as we had made better time than we had expected due to sailing and having currents with us.   We had planned on arriving about 2 hours after low tide, instead we got here right at low tide.   Going in we saw 15' which wasn't as bad as we thought it might get.   As we were anchoring, going round in circles to test the depths, KC looked over at the beach and spotted a brown bear!   So here we are trying to scope out the depth of the cove, while looking through binocs and taking pictures of a bear on the beach, and then to add to it all a teeny little cub comes romping out of the woods!!!   AWESOME.  It was lucky that we didn't beach the boat by accident.   Unfortunately the way the cove is built we can't anchor in close enough to get great photos but we are trying.  The bears took off when we dropped anchor but less than an hour later were back, momma eating and baby truly just having a great time gamboling about the beach.  Great fun to watch.  To add to it, while sitting on the back of the boat, again we hear the sound of a wolf howling.   Not sure we really want to go back to "town", we like it out here.

As we mentioned in yesterdays sail mail, we will head to Ketchikan tomorrow, leaving at high tide, around 9 a.m.  Should get there around 1 p.m. or so, must get a slip and then go through U.S. customs.   Will try to catch up with everyone by phone over the weekend.  We will be in Ketchikan through Monday evening, leaving Tuesday a.m.   Love, Mom and Dad (JoLe and KC)

Hey!   We arrived in Ketchikan yesterday, Friday,  June 19.  The trip into Ketchikan was fairly eventful as just as we were coming into the Tongass Narrows, two cruise ships decided to leave, one right after the other.   Regularly this wouldn't’t be a problem because you just stay out of their way, but unfortunately, at the same time that they announced their leave taking and we entered the Narrows it started to pour buckets of rain and visibility became virtually nil.   Obviously STX and the cruise ships made it past each other just fine (we love the AIS, Automatic Identification System which we have on the boat which tracks all large vessels for us) but it was still a bit nerve racking especially as every small boat that had been out fishing also decided to come in because the weather had deteriorated and so did all the seaplanes, all at the same time.  One extra thrill, in between cruise ships, small boats, and planes flying over at mast level a whale blew and then sounded in the middle of the channel which really surprised us, I think he may have been lost; with as busy as that channel is I would have thought whales would have stayed out of it.    By the way, as soon as the cruise ships passed us the rain stopped and the sun started shining!
Our daily logs, with daily information about our trip from Washington through British Columbia to Ketchikan will be on our website sometime this coming week.   We are also sending pictures to be added to the Gallery section, and there are some awesome ones;  mother bear and cub, orca whale chasing porpoises and some absolutely breathtaking scenery, fog included!  

 We will be in Ketchikan until Tuesday, June 23, when we will be leaving for Juneau, arriving in Juneau, either Sunday, June 28 or Monday, June 29.     Love,  Mom and Dad (JoLe and KC)

Photos to follow soon.
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