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  • Capt. Eric

Heading South

With Glacier Bay National Park behind us we had a choice to make: Continue North and head to Skagway or start our trip South.

The weather forecast for the next 10 days showed continued fog, low clouds and rain. Since the route up to Skagway is renowned for the beautiful mountains in a fjord like setting we figured there would be no point going if low clouds obscure it all.

So we started pointing Enfin's nose South. First was a quick stop at Hoonah, a short hop not far from Glacier Bay National Park to let Princess walk as much as she needed. Hoonah didn't much interest us with its thousands and thousands of cruise ship passenger and tourist shops. Being immune compromised I can't mingle in tourist shops, restaurants or similar, and neither does Di, to protect me.

On our way to Passage Bay

The marina at Hoonah is very well protected, but contrary to other fishing spots in Alaska, the town is more directed towards the cruise ships.

Hoonah cruise ship docks

Our next stop was Tenakee Springs, a tiny marina in a huge bay in which we saw whales by the dozen. It seemed everywhere we looked we'd see yet more whales blowing, and we saw them fish along the coast as we were heading in.

Hoonah marina

Tenakee Springs is tiny, but has a grocery shop and a ferry terminal. We're told it's a recreation place for many people in Ketchikan. By luck we met the manager of the grocery shop in the only street and he offered to open his shop for us.

We gladly accepted and filled up on fresh provisions and essentials like a frozen pizza. Then we promptly spent so much time chatting with local fishermen that the pizza deforsted so we had to eat it on our return to the boat. A good problem to have!

The marina had the only public WiFi spot in town it seems, so plenty of passing firshermen hung at the docks with their phones, making VoiP calls to their families and catching up on the news.

Tenakee Springs marina

Next was Ell Bay, named so because it is "L" shaped and provides excellent all around protection and is not far from the main channel.

Ell bay provide great protection all around

Next was Red Bluff Bay, which Di had long highlighted from our cruising guides as being a "must see". The guide wasn't wrong and the bay is truly spectacular, a long hourglass shaped fjord where you squeeze in before it opens up to a vast anchorage nestled at the foot of tall mountains with a huge waterfall dropping in from the very top.

On our way South

As we often do at the base of large waterfalls, I nudged Enfin closer and closer to take in the power of the falls and get a few photo memories of it all. In these deep fjords the water stays very deep all the way to the rock face, so you can bring the boat incredibly close if you want.

Squeezing in to the other part of Rad Bluff Bay

Rad Bluff Bay anchorage

Red Bluff Bay waterfall

In the waterfall's current

Got Enfin real close

Even better, since Rad Bluff Bay is below 57N latitude, we regained Starlink signal as we were entering the bay, and the sun came out. What else could we want?

Enjoying the meadows at the head of the bay. Clearly bear territory, but we didn't see any

How about catching up with some old friends? As we were arriving at the anchorage we saw what looked like a Nordhavn in the distance. Soon, peering through my binoculars, I was examining the oncoming boat: Nordhavn 46 for sure. Fly bridge, passive stabilizers, wind vane. Sure looked like our friends on "Boussole", which a quick VHF chat confirmed!

Boussole at anchor

They were on their way to the entrance of the bay to anchor, so we agreed to meet up later via tender. It was so great to catch up with them. We met Scott and Lin over 3 years ago and had similar dreams and aspirations. They are now retired and we'll get to see a lot more of them.

We decided we'd catch up again in Petersburg, their new home port, and did so a few days later.

Humpback whales fishing along the coast

We headed towards Petersburg, with a short overnight stay in Passage Bay, a great anchorage where we could anchor close to a public dock serving old logging roads, meaning Princess got to walk more than most anchorages.

The day cruise to Passage Bay will remain as one of our best lifetime memories for both Di and I. We had a pod of humpback whales fishing on a parallel course to us along the coast. They exhibited all the main behaviors to watch for: Bubble feeding, breaching, fin slapping, sounding and we got to enjoy their company for almost an hour.

It was magical and better than any whale tour could ever provide. Di and I stayed on a high with huge smiles for a long time after that incredible experience.

Enfin next to Togo, a Kadey Krogen 39 we met a few times in our time in Alaska

Pushing further down after Petersburg, we stopped again in Meyer's Chuck: We like the place. Then continued on to Ketchikan for a few nights to slow down and fill our fuel and water tanks before crossing the Dixon Passage into Canada.

There we had "Togo", a Kadey-Krigen 39 as neighbor. We'd met them a few times during our trip North, and it was fun to see them again. The Kadey-Krogen 39 was very high on our list of possible boats, but minor differences and preferences steered us towards a Nordhavn 40 instead. Both are very capable passage makers.

Weather forecasts showed prefect weather at the end of the week, so I split the trip into manageable chunks: A leg to an anchorage in the Lincoln Channel followed by another to Prince Rupert.

Abchored in the Lincoln Channel, a few miles from the Canadian border

The forecast was excellent, and we had almost no seas. Instead we had thick fog for the second leg, only lifting on arrival Prince Rupert.

There using ArriveCan we got our entry into Canada, where we expect to continue our route South and spend the next couple of months.

Heavy fog for the second leg. Radar and keep eyes open

Arrival Prince Rupert

All that being dependent of course on good medical news: I am scheduled for my 3 months blood screening tomorrow. Fingers crossed all will show normal and continued remission so we can continue the cruising life.

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