Cruising Kyrie

Our family has chosen to live an abnormal life of living on a sailboat and exploring the world. Come along with us on our journey and let it inspire you to follow your own chosen road--not “only wish what [you] could be!”

Friday, August 31, 2018

Celebrating a birthday girl!


Today we celebrate our big girl's birthday. Rachael is 8 years old today! How did that happen? Rachael, you have been such a sweet, curious girl since the day you were born and discovered your fingers! 
You love nature and the world around you. The wind in your hair always makes you smile.                                                                                      

Even though I know they drive you crazy sometimes, you are a wonderful big sister to little miss Megan and little sister to Levi.

My princess Rachael, you get more beautiful, inside and out, as time goes by. I cannot wait to see what life has in store for you. Mama and Daddy love you to bits!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Dodging icebergs. spying on mountain goats and the end of the trip

     The Russell Island anchorage was a lovely night. When the tide dropped, we were able to see just how protected we were. Land blocked nearly the whole passage between Russell Island and the little island we were next to, so it was nice and calm, if a bit creepy being within 50 feet of land on three sides at low tide! It was calm and quiet, allowing for another night of good sleep.
     Next morning, Joe and I studied the chart. Our permit was more than halfway done and we needed to start planning on an exit strategy. We still hadn't taken Kyrie to a tidewater glacier and that was high on the list. A decision had to be made. We could follow the cruise ships and go into Tarr Inlet to see the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers. We could head up toward Johns Hopkins Inlet to see Lamplugh Glacier and then hope the inlet wasn't so ice-choked that we couldn't at least get part way in to see some of the other glaciers. Looking at the distances and knowing there weren't any good anchorages up either inlet, the closer inlet won out. Tarr Inlet it would be.
     I made apricot-date muffins while Joe motored us up through the Russell Island Passage and into Tarr Inlet. The Ruby Princess was already in, approaching the Margerie, and the Nieuw Amsterdam was approaching the inlet. Binoculars came out and it was time to play "Dodge the bergs." It wasn't too bad, although it looked like it could be! There were mostly a lot of little bergs, but by staying on the east side of the inlet, near the beach, we were able to avoid the majority of the obstacles, including cruise ships! There was a lot of idling the engine and coasting through some of the thicker fields. There was a bit of a contest with the kids to see what shapes we could make out in the ice, such as a moose, a sombrero, a helicopter, and a penguin! At last, we settled on turning off the engine about a mile away from the Margerie Glacier. It would have been lovely to get even closer, but peering through the binoculars showed a pretty thick field of big-looking bergs--not a good idea to take a fiberglass boat through that. So, we contented ourselves with where we were.
     Margerie Glacier is touted as a postcard glacier and, even at that distance and on a cloudy day, I could see why. It has the jagged face that comes right down to the water, about half a mile wide. As we sat bundled up on the bow, we heard a crack and a rumble. Unfortunately, if the glacier did calve then, we weren't able to see the splash. It was still a beautiful sight to see. The Grand Pacific Glacier is a different story. Two miles wide at its face, it is difficult to tell you're looking at a glacier because of how much rock it has gathered up over the years. Some ice still shows through the "grime," though, reminding viewers that this was the main glacier to have carved out Glacier Bay nearly three hundred years ago. At 35 miles long, it has its start in Canada, and looking at it, it's hard to believe you're viewing the remains of a river of ice that used to extend all the way out into Icy Strait.
     With the tides in mind, we only stopped in Tarr Inlet for about an hour before turning around and negotiating our way out. We briefly considered going to check out Lamplugh, but through the binoculars, it looked pretty berg-y. Deciding we would have had our fill of dodging bergs after getting out of Tarr, Joe and I agreed to thread our way back into the Russell Island Passage through considerably more bitty bergs than we dealt with on our way in, and make our way back to Geikie Inlet. The description in Exploring Southeast Alaska sounded lovely.
     We at last motored into Shag Cove around 4:30. Right away, we could tell it would be a nice place to anchor. Marble Mountain rises straight up between the cove and the outside waters of the bay. An island blocks most of the entrance, making Shag Cove a nearly-landlocked anchorage. It took us about half an hour to get to the head of the cove and finally anchor in about 75 feet of water. We were there at high tide and it looked to be a steep beach. It also looked like a good place for bears to come out of the woods, so we decided not to go to the beach. Joe did, however, spot mountain goats on the cliff of Marble Mountain. The kids all got the chance to marvel through the binoculars at the sure-footed creatures.
     This morning, a wolf appeared on the beach, much to our delight. While Levi, Rachael and I watched, the wolf ran through the creek and came up with a fish in its mouth--not something I've thought about wolves doing. It soon disappeared back into the woods and it was time to get going again.
     Our destination wasn't far--the South Arm of Fingers Bay is only about an hour and a half away as Kyrie cruises. Now, at 2:00, we've been anchored in the Southeast Bight for close to an hour. The wind, which was supposed to be only about 10 knots, is kicking up again to 15-20. We're tucked up pretty close to the beach this time, but hopefully we won't see winds like a few days ago! We need to leave the park tomorrow and I don't want to get stuck again!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A bad night.... and a better day

     Oh my goodness. Talk about a study in contrasts. Yesterday was nasty, so we decided to call it a harbor day and just stay put in Blue Mouse Cove. When I say nasty, I mean nasty. Winds were blowing 20 knots, I could see whitecaps out in the bay and waves crashing at the entrance to the cove, and there was a 2-foot chop inside the cove itself. It was a day to stay cozy inside, watching movies, playing games and baking bread.
     Another boat showed up in the anchorage about noon. We talked with them on the radio and they said they had seen 5 to 6-foot seas out in the bay proper, further proving we had made the right decision to stay put. Joe put some more rode out, just to be on the safe side, since the weather report his parents e-mailed to us called for 35-knot gusts that night.
     I was hoping for a better night's sleep since the previous night wasn't a good one--Ha! Thanks to the wind--steady 20-25 knots with gusts upwards of 35-40 knots, I had a hard time sleeping again. I kept hearing the boat pulling back on the anchor line and the rope str-e-e-etching out. Suddenly, the sound I had been waiting for and dreading came. Kyrie pulled back in a gust, the rode stretched out with a long, drawn-out CR-REEAA-CK, and then BANG! I sat straight up with a gasp that barely escaped being some sort of swear and grabbed my glasses. Joe sat up too, saying, "Well, something let go," and scrambled out of bed ahead of me.
     As we both crammed our feet in boots in the cockpit, I found myself trembling with my teeth chattering. I wasn't cold--I was scared. All I could think was, "Oh God, did our anchor rode break and now we're floating free in this?" I followed Joe out into the pitch black howling night to check the anchor. It was still firmly attached and we were pulled back just as much as before. After watching for a few minutes to make sure that was still the case, Joe said we could go back to the cockpit.
     Once back, he could tell something was wrong. "Are you okay?" he asked me. "No," I replied. "I'm not." I told him that was one of the first times I could remember being truly terrified. After walking me through what had happened--the prussick knot he used to fasten to the anchor rode had slipped on the wet rope because he had used two wraps when he ought to have used three--and then reminding me how much force the anchor chain and rode could handle before they broke, I found myself calming down. We went back to bed and, happily, the wind died down after another hour. Sleep at last!
     Upon awakening, the seas had died down and the wind was almost nonexistent. It was time to haul the anchor up and move on! The anchor had dug itself deep into the sticky blue clay bottom, but came up fairly easily since Joe gave it some time to work itself loose. Onward at last! Reid Inlet was about two hours away and Don Douglass' book Exploring Southeast Alaska said it was a great glacier to explore.
     After threading our way through the bitsy bergs, we dropped the hook in about 50 feet of super silty water and piled into the dinghy. That was a fun hike! Reid Glacier is not a tidewater glacier, ending about 1000 yards from the water. Therefore, we were able to scramble over rocks, splash through creeks and squish our way across good old glacial flour to the the face, although not completely unscathed. Megan decided to run through a patch of silt and fell flat on her face, covering herself in blue silty mud right at the beginning. I rediscovered the hole in my boot while crossing one of the creeks and ended up with a boot full of water. Regardless, we had a fantastic time and the hike was just what we needed to get the cabin crazies out.
     We are now anchored almost directly across the bay from Reid Inlet in what is known as Russell Island Passage, right up against Russell Island. It looks like we should be pretty well protected for the night, so I'm hoping for a good night's sleep tonight. Tomorrow, we hope to go see one of the tidewater glaciers. Kyrie among the icebergs!

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Harbor Day

Are we glad we chose to stay put.

Last night, the weather chose to get with it a bit--interrupting our plans to head up to Reid Inlet to hike to the glacier. About 2am the wind decided to start blowing, a pretty steady 15 with the wind increasing throughout the night up to a steady 20 gusting 30 as I type this. Talking to other boaters who just ran into this bay for cover, it sounds like it is 5-6 footers out in the bay right now, further cementing the reasonableness of our decision to just call it a harbor day and hope for better weather tomorrow. The forecast we do have is calling for the wind to increase overnight so we need to be in a well sheltered harbor right now for comfort as well as safety. The upper bay doesn't have that many good anchorages that are ice free that are well protected from a strong southerly in our opinion. Oh well.

So, today we took our time, made some sourdough pancakes for breakfast, then made a fresh loaf of bread (its baking right now - yum!) and watched a couple of movies with the kids..

The movies of the day so far have been "The Princess Diaries" and "Captain Ron". Both were a lot of fun. Now to break out some games and see how we can while away the bad weather.

Still anchored in Blue Mouse Cove! Here's hoping we can move on tomorrow!

-The Kyrie Crew