Yesterday (Tuesday) was another one for the books. It is incredible how the days keep getting better and better. I wonder how we are going to top this one though!
We awoke to bright sun in Port Armstrong, tied to the dock at the hatchery. The Marsons - the boat I (Joe) crewed on last year - had arrived late last night and was getting ready to seine for the hatchery's cost recovery. I should mention we woke up a number of times last night to fish bonking into the hull - there were so many of them schooling in the bay. Well, Ben, the hatchery manager, was running his skiff around to scare the fish into the seine net. Levi got up and Ben offered to take him along when they made their next set. I should mention this was all happening not 100' off of our starboard side. Levi got a little more than he bargained for, and Ben ended up taking him over to the tender, Viking, as they were offloading the 21,000 pounds of fish from the first set. He even got to help sort the fish as they came aboard.
After the first set, the Marsons quickly got ready for another one, and Ben and Levi were again out doing donuts in the bay to help scare the fish out of the shallows. It looked like quite a wild ride and Levi returned to us a little green, but smiling!
About 10am we left Port Armstrong for parts further south and were actually able to set the sails for about an hour before the wind died, which was the first sailing we have been able to do this entire trip. We put out a couple fishing lines, but no luck yet. We hope to get the salmon skunk off of the boat pretty soon! After a couple hours, we pulled into Port Alexander for a day stop.
Port Alexander is a remote, cute, fishing village that hasn't succumbed to the tourism bug so prevalent in the area. It still has the quaint feel of the old time fishing villages, with a boardwalk connecting the homes in the community and a skiff being the primary mode of transportation. We walked the boardwalk with the kids - stopping every couple hundred feet to pick and eat red huckleberries, blueberries, and salmonberries. I have never seen so many currants in one place! On the boardwalk we met up with Sage and Torin, a couple kids Levi's and Rachael's age and were invited back to their place. As it turned out, their parents run a small lodge and homestead in PA. We timed the visit right because they had 4 ducklings and 20 chicks. The kids had a ton of fun playing with kids their own age, even for a short time, and holding the baby birds. There was even a trampoline for them to play on.
After a couple hours, we went back to the boat and put the skiff in the water to head into the inner bay of PA. I remembered from my childhood there was a ship graveyard that I wanted to see again, and it didn't disappoint. The large wooden minesweeper I remembered from 20 years ago was still there, although much more severely deteriorated. It was joined by a group of smaller wood fishing boats that had been beached directly adjacent. Everyone had fun crawling around the wrecks for half an hour.
We then untied, and made our way to the southernmost point in our journey as the weather was good to round the cape. We rounded Cape Ommaney at the southern tip with a gentle 5' swell from the south at about 3pm. Unfortunately the wind didn't cooperate and we were not able to sail, so we ended up motoring about 3 hours further up the coast to Redfish Bay. There is a run of sockeye coming into the river at the head of the bay at the moment and the whole bay is full of jumping sockeye. This also attracts brown bears. We were able to sit in the mirror-calm anchorage all evening watching the fish and the bears, and admiring the smells and sounds of the wilderness.
All in all, one to really try to top, but it will be hard!!
-Posted via Winlink over Pactor Modem, so no photos until we get near civilization again!
Lat 56 degrees, 21.097'N
Lon 134 degrees, 51.502'W