When we left Tenakee,
we had our sights set on Hoonah – but only if the wind and seas
allowed. They didn’t. So we pulled off
into Whitestone Harbor. It was a good place to
be in the NW winds. We slipped way in to the
cove right where it said “0” depth
and anchored in 35 feet of water. Chart accuracy
is always an in issue for cruisers in SE AK.
Careful reconnoitering is always called for.
While we were in Whitestone Harbor we witnessed
an amazing ELEVEN purse seiners milling around,
anchoring, and off-loading to two fish packers
who were waiting to take on their fish. Here’s
a photo of three of them in the light of the
the way out I got a photo of my favorite seiner,
the “Lovey JoAnn.” I had looked
for this boat in Ketchikan where it is usually
berthed and was disappointed to not find her.
Now I know why. She was out fishing!
As we approached Hoonah, we heard a Securite'
call on the VHF radio. It was the cruise ship “The
World” announcing its approach to Hoonah.
we learned that the ship paid $54,000 to Hoonah
for that one day in port. Their guests had
access to any activity in Hoonah for the day:
the cannery tour, the zip line, charter fishing
boats, kayaking trips. The cruise ship is all
condominiums and carries four times the number
of passengers and crew as the population of
Hoonah (836). "The World" is always
moving so you can be a peripatetic world traveler – or
you can rent out your condo.
The ship gets 1/3 of what the passengers spend
in Hoonah, 1/3 goes to the Cannery owners, and
1/3 goes to the merchants who sell their goods.
The Cannery museum/shopping center was financed
by a $20 million federal grant. Hmmm. Who is
getting the best deal here?
Hoonah Harbor is
a wonderful spot for recreational cruising
boats like ours. Here is the harbor. It's also
a great place to store boats over the winter.
Watch for the shoal at low water between the
breakwater and the transient dock.
The harbormaster, Paul, is legendary for the
great work he does. In this photo Dave is pointing
to a picture in the harbormaster's window of
Paul next to a 300 lb halibut. OK – Paul
says – he didn’t catch it himself;
but it’s sure a great photo.
Here is a typical
Alaska sign – this one
is in the harbormaster’s office.
some fun with weather forecasting instructions.
In case you can't interpret your barometer,
here is the scoop.
David was talking
with a Hoonah charter-boat Captain filleting
halibut and said: “You
are the second-best halibut filleter I have
ever watched.” That comment drew a stern
sideways glance. David then noted that the
best he’d ever seen was a woman who worked
for a large charter fleet and filleted 50 or
60 halibut every afternoon. She did it mostly
by feel while looking upward and chatting with
the guests. The Hoonah filleter replied: “I
have more respect for my hands than that.” Whereupon,
David admitted that the lady wore chainmail
We always appreciate this good grocery store
Hoonah does not
get too carried away with their totem pole.
The Cannery tour
was open the next day to the rest of us who
were not a part of “The
World.” We loved this ancient boat they
have on display.
It is a traditional
Dave insisted on
this picture. He says it is his dream catch.
Now THIS is a big
king crab pot.
And so are these.
This is the gear
real Alaskans use to go berry hunting in bear
country. I especially like the blue towels
on the muzzle of the rifle.
entrance to Auke Bay was very hazy the day
we arrived. But it wasn’t from fog.
It was from the smoke of forest fires. The
fires were reported to be in British Columbia.
The smoke was being reported on the VHF weather
station and was present all the way from Ketchikan
to Sitka to Juneau. Very spooky.
Here is the hazy entrance to Auke Bay. That's
smoke haze you're looking at.
We watched a setting
sun that night that was surrealistic. It was
truly a glowing orange ball in the sky. I didn’t
do any photo-shop editing on the next picture.
This is what the sun looked like through the
We heard a Securite’ from the Coast Guard
today that we have never heard in our travels
up here. Boaters were being warned of big icebergs
in the vicinity of Tracy Arm – Holkham
Bay. Mariners were being urged to use extreme
caution because the icebergs could not easily
be seen - due to the smoke!
The conditions in Auke Bay were better today.
I was finally able to get a nice picture shooting
towards the Mendenhall Glacier (which can’t
really be seen from our dock). I especially like
the rainbow-colored hull of the boat near us.
Auke Bay tomorrow morning. We hope to make
our way down to Holkham Bay and turn down Endicott
Arm and go all the way to its end. The prize
is Dawes Glacier, which we have never seen.
There are some challenges in doing this. Not
the least is the smoke. We hear that there
is lots more ice in the water due to the unusually
hot summer here in SE AK. Smoke, icebergs,
murky glacier water. We'll see. I'm in to 'prudent
adventuring' not risk taking. We'll look out
the window and make our decisions based on
the real conditions we encounter.
Who knows what we’ll find? This is what’s
called: an adventure.