Category Archives: 2016 Boat Trips

Even More Sitka

Tuesday morning it wasn’t raining!  Actually, it was pretty nice.  After breakfast we went for a walk to Murray Pacific, the marine supply store in Sitka.  It’s one of Billy’s favorite stores.  On the way we passed a few of the local processing plants and we saw these.  Hmm…

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After a little shopping we headed to town to meet Ann for lunch.  On the way I got a picture of the St. Michael’s Cathedral (Russian Orthodox Church).  At noon there was an actual person up in the bell tower ringing the bells.

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A little further along the street, I saw this cool bike rack. Sitka is definitely an artsy place.


The Sitka Public Library was recently renovated and the new building is really nice, definitely worth a visit.

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I’m sure it has one of the  best views of any library anywhere!

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There was even a heron fishing out front.

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After lunch we walked around in the downtown harbor (I think there are at least 5 harbors in Sitka, it’s a really boaty place).  I took this panorama from the end of the breakwater.

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On the way back towards the boat there was a very colorful flower bed.


Later in the evening, after dinner, we hiked up to Ann and Roger’s so I could get my Olympics fix. They were leaving Wednesday morning to go to Utah to see their daughter Jennifer and grandson Brady so we tried to stay out of the way and let them get packed.

Wednesday morning was very rainy.  In fact, it rained all day and we didn’t do much.  We had a little event with our marine toilet which is always a scary prospect but we pumped out and everything seems to be fine now.  This day didn’t even rate any pictures, just a lazy, rainy day.

Thursday dawned nice and dry, which wasn’t supposed to happen but we’ll take it.  Our tentative plans were to take off and explore south of Sitka on Friday, so we needed to do laundry.  We went up to Ann and Roger’s to use their laundry facilities and as the wash was washing we took off for a lap swim at the local swimming pool.  We were starving after swimming so we had a quick lunch at McDonalds.  Like the library, I think this McDonalds must have one of the best views of any McDonalds.  This is the view from the window seat where we had lunch.  You can almost see Madeline from here.


After lunch we went back up to finish the laundry and watch some more Olympics.

By the time we finished with laundry, it was time for dinner.  We went to dinner with our friend Rose MacIntyre at the Channel Club.  The food was good and the company even better.  It’s always fun to catch up with friends.

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After dinner, it was raining once again so we opted for a DVD and bed.  Our original plans to leave tomorrow (Friday) morning probably aren’t going to happen since the weather isn’t cooperating. There’s lots of wind and rain in the forecast for the weekend.  So, it looks like we’ll be spending a few more days in Sitka, a very nice place to get stuck!



More Sitka

We had a very leisurely Sunday morning in Sitka’s Thomsen Harbor.  Since we’re tied up near the fuel dock we always have some kind of activity going on around us.  Here is the Handler coming into the fuel dock.  We were a little worried for the fuel dock.

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It’s a fish processor with a lot of colorful bumpers!

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Shortly after the Handler tied up, this big red boat came by and decided it needed to get in to one of the many docks around here.  It looked like a tight fit!

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Not long after that, an even bigger blue boat decided it needed to be in the same place as the red boat…

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Amazingly, it made it and tied onto the side of the red boat. I guess there was a lot more room than it looked like!

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After lunch, Ann and Roger picked us up and we went up Harbor Mountain to pick blueberries.

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Not very far up the trail we found some great berries and everyone got in to picking.

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Even Rio got into the mix.  He really liked picking blueberries but they never got into a bucket.

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We got lots of  beautiful blueberries.


Even after we filled all of our containers it was really hard to stop since there were still so many more blueberries left to pick.

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After we finished picking, we headed up the hill to a scenic overlook.  As soon as we sat for a rest, look what happened…

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It’s not just kids, we are a connected bunch!  We had a nice little break before heading up the trail a little further.

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And a little further up we found my favorite, steps.

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They were nice, people sized steps and at the top there was a great view but it was a little too cloudy to see it.  I did see these beautiful blue flowers.

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When we got back to town, Roger grilled some scrumptious ribs for dinner.  It was a tasty way to end the day.

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Monday morning we woke to rain! 😦  It has been nice and dry for so long we were beginning to take it for granted.  Monday fixed that.  Roger came by the boat in the late morning and gave us ride to town which was perfect.  After lunch with Andrew, we walked to the Sitka Sound Science Center where Roger works.  It’s in this cool, old building from 1929.

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He took us on a tour of the center.  We got to see an octopus trying to get a crab out of a plastic ball where the two halves were twisted together. By the time we left, he had the two halves of the ball apart and was moving in to catch (and eat) the crab.  It was fascinating.  I think I could have stayed there all day long, but we had more to see.

Outside the Center they had a fish ladder and some pinks and chums (salmon) were heading up the ladder where they end up in a holding pool.  From there, the center takes the eggs and milt from the fish and incubates the fertilized eggs and raises the baby fish (fry/smolt) until they can be let loose into the ocean.  If you’re ever in Sitka, you should definitely go to the Sitka Sound Science Center.

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After the Science Center, we were pretty soggy and Roger let us use his truck to go back to the boat for a rest.  We were also invited up to their house after dinner for blueberry pie!  Ann made a pie from the blueberries that we picked on Sunday afternoon and it was fantastic!

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We ate pie, watched some Olympics and then it was time for bed.  Since it was still raining, Roger let us take his truck back to the harbor (thank you Roger!) where we collapsed into bed.

Sitka is really fun!



After a surprisingly good nights sleep in the Sitka harbor Billy got up and went to breakfast with his nephew Andrew.  I was up and moving by the time they got back and we all walked to a farmers market up the street and bought a bunch of fruit.  We took Rio, Ann and Roger’s dog, with us and on our way back to the boat he had to go back to the truck.  He doesn’t like boats much so was happier in the truck.


Later in the afternoon we hiked the Mosquito Cove trail with Ann and Andrew.

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We wanted to check out the benches that Andrew had made and installed on the trail for his Eagle Scout project a few years back.  Here are Billy and Andrew sitting on one of the benches.

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On the way back around to the car we got into a discussion on the medicinal qualities of devil’s club.  The native people have used it as a healing salve for generations.  It has pretty berries for such a nasty plant.

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As is generally true in Southeast Alaska, the woods were a beautiful green and the hike was really pleasant.

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After a little rest and cleaning up we all met for dinner at Ludwig’s, the best restaurant in town, and had a really fantastic meal.   Billy and I walked the short distance back to the harbor and since I was so full of good food I decided to stay up and finally get caught up on this blog while I digested a bit.  Now it’s time for bed, so goodnight to all.


Kalinin Bay to Sitka

We got up really early Friday morning and were headed to Sitka by 5:45am!  The water was really calm and the ride was beautiful.  When we got to Neva Strait they had some range markers set up for larger boats to get through the narrow part.  I’m almost lined up and we made it through just fine.

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Most of the route after you get through Salisbury Sound is really protected and the water was amazingly calm.

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Here is a picturesque fishing boat that passed us on the way.

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The trip went really quickly and before we knew it we were seeing signs of habitation. This is the breakwater we entered to get to our Sitka home in Old Thomsen Harbor.  You can see the bridge in the background.

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After getting tied up and tidying up the boat a bit both inside and out we met Billy’s sister Ann for lunch downtown and then took a tour of the newly remodeled library where she works.  This is a quilt that was hanging in one of the meeting rooms.

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After taking a rest in the afternoon we went up to Ann and Roger’s house for dinner. Roger grilled the best hamburgers ever and Ann made a killer potato salad.  It was a great meal and I got some laundry done too.  Here we are with Ann at her house.

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On our way back to the boat we made a quick stop at McDonalds for ice cream and then it was time for bed.  It was a great way to end the day.  I think we’ll probably stay in Sitka for a week or so to rest up and figure out where we’re going next.  Even though we’re not cruising for the moment, I’ll keep you posted on our Sitka land adventures.

Kalinin Bay to Sea Lion Cove

We woke up on Thursday morning in Kalinin Bay to another beautiful day.  We decided that rather than head to Sitka we would stay another night so that we could try to hike the trail to Sea Lion Cove again.  Since we saw bears the day before we gathered up every bear deterrent device imaginable.  We had a shotgun, bear spray, an air horn, a whistle and empty Diet Dr Pepper cans with little stones in them to make noise.  Billy was carrying everything except the bear spray and he was quite a sight.

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We got to the trail head and started the hike and everything was looking good.  The trail was still really muddy and mucky but we were expecting that.

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We didn’t see any bears in the area where we had seen them the day before but we saw lots of these which made us extra vigilant.  They continued the whole length of the trail!

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When we got up into the woods we were greeted with lots of steps.

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These led up and up and up to a very pleasant meadow where we took a little rest.

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After going through some more woods we came upon a lake with a beach.  The little beach along the lake was covered with bear tracks.

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At this point we had hiked almost an hour and a half.  We kept going for a while longer down the hill toward the beach at Sea Lion Cove but we ran out of time and I ran out of gas so we turned around and headed back to the boat.  It was pretty disappointing not to make it all the way but that’s the way it goes sometimes.  The hike back seemed a lot quicker and when we got back out of the woods we could see Madeline in the distance.

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We got back to the boat without incident and took long, hot showers and collapsed on the couch for the evening.  Before we went to bed these two matching tugs came into the bay and anchored for the night.  I thought they looked cute together. The one on the right is a 37 like ours and the one on the left is a little smaller, probably a 32.

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We’re off to Sitka early tomorrow morning so now we’re just looking forward to a good night’s sleep.

Baby Bear Bay to Kalinin Bay thru Sergius Narrows

We timed our departure from Baby Bear Bay so that we would reach Sergius Narrows at slack tide, which was around noon.  There are all sorts of horror stories about what happens to boats that don’t wait for slack tide to go through so we were heeding all the warnings and waiting.  When it was time to get started, a big boat, Ocean Mist, was going the same way so we followed her through and it was a breeze.  That’s what happens when you follow the advice of those who have gone before.

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After going through the narrows, we came out into Salisbury Sound and got into some ocean swells, something that I haven’t done in a very long time.  They weren’t very big and the weather was really calm but it made eating my soup a little tricky.  It was kind of dark and rainy as we headed to Kalinin Bay but by the time we arrived, it had stopped raining and was very calm.

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There is a trail from the head of the bay that goes across the island to Sea Lion Cove on the Pacific Ocean where there is a beautiful beach.  The sun had come out shortly after we anchored so we decided to see if we could go find the trail.  We took the dinghy over to the beach and found the trail head without too much trouble.  It was a really muddy, mucky walk but we had been told it was going to be worth it when we got to the beach on the other side.  Unfortunately, not too far up the trail, we ran into a brown bear sow with two cubs.  The mama bear was fishing in the shallow basin and taking the fish to the babies.  It was really fun to watch her chase the fish around in the shallow water and catch them.  Here are a few pictures.

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At this point, since we weren’t familiar with the area or the trail we decided we’d better turn around and save the trail for another day.  Darn!

As we were walking back to the trail head there was an eagle in the water eating a fish pretty far away from where the bear was fishing.  The mama bear saw it and chased the eagle away and took its fish.  There were fish everywhere so I’m not sure why she needed to take this one away from the eagle.  Who knows?

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Billy was disappointed that we had to turn around but was happy that we got to go for a walk.

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Once again, when we got back to the dinghy it was high and dry!  This time we were thinking ahead and had brought a couple of bumpers from the boat that we put under the dinghy and used to roll it back into the water.  It worked pretty slick.

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After we got back to the boat we took it easy and enjoyed the rest of the sunny evening. Billy got this picture of the sun on the trees at the head of the bay.

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We’re looking forward to another calm, restful night.

Appleton Cove to Baby Bear Bay

We couldn’t get out of Appleton Cove soon enough after our noisy night with the water slapping the hull.  It sounds kind of silly but it can keep you up all night!  Billy moved up to the couch in the salon to get away from the worst of the noise.  Oh well, we won’t be going back there any time soon.

On the way to Baby Bear Bay we almost ran into a pod of whales bubble feeding.  They came up right in front of the boat and scared us both.  We got a few pictures as they swam off.

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When we got into Baby Bear Bay it couldn’t have been more beautiful and most importantly, calm.

We decided to go for a walk on the beach and as we left for shore I got a picture of Madeline waiting in the sun.

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Billy really enjoys walking on the beach and he found himself a nice rock perch for a little rest.

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I found a few sea urchins on the walk and posed them for a picture.

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On the way back I got the camera out looking for artistic scenes.  National Geographic here I come! Here is a shell I found fully intact.

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Another urchin ‘au natural’.

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And a part of a crab leg missing the rest of the crab.

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Of course, when we got back to the dinghy, we were high and dry once again.  You’d think we’d learn after doing this almost every day.

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We got the boat to the water without too much stress using some driftwood as rollers and were on our way back to Madeline.

When we got back to the boat we found our kingfisher friend once again.  They certainly seem to like these parts.

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In the morning Billy saw this deer taking a nap on the beach in front of the boat.

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Here is another look at Baby Bear Bay before we left.  It was a lovely, calm place to anchor.  We will be back.

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