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June 2008 - Alaska Inside Passage Exploration

Northern Portion ABC Islands

Admiralty, Baranof, Chichagof Islands 

June 21, 2008 ~ Saturday

The wind kicked up last night in Baby Bear Cove and the waves slapping against the hull made for more difficult sleeping, amazing in such a small cove. We started the day off by clamming on the shores of Baby Bear Cove. John and Shanna would dig clams and Jeff would do bear watch. Clams weren’t as plentiful as other clamming spots like China Poot and Sadie Cove in Southcentral Alaska, but after some effort it was determined we had enough.

Clamming the beach near Baby Bear Cove

We headed back to the boat and motored toward Hoonah Sound. Along the way we stopped and dropped the crab pots in Poison Cove. This area appears to be popular with the commercial crabbers so we decided to give it a try. While letting the pots soak, Taking full advantage of the now working stove , John grilled halibut sandwiches for lunch. We checked the crab pots and again got skunked!
The plan was to go to Warm Springs, but mother nature had other things in store for us. As we made our way into Hoonah Sound the wind and waves really kicked up. Before proceeding further, we had to stop and add straps to hold the dinghy from flying off the roof. We didn’t realize it wasn’t going to get any better. For hours the Tom Cat’s hull pounded into the waves with spray flying into the air. The windshield wipers pretty much ran full time. On several occasions the bow dipped so deep into the waves that the windshield was completely awash in green water, making you think we might be on a submarine. The day was fast fading and we were no where near where we had planned to be so we picked up speed in an area of calmer water. That speed was short lived as the port motor struck a submerged log. The outboard raced and water was flying into the air. After quickly shutting down the motors we went to inspect for damage. Part of the cavitation plate was broken off, but the prop appeared O.K. The chunk of wood was still lodged between the motor and boat as we tilted the motor up. It was just a small piece of wood about 2 ft long. We picked it up and threw it onboard. A speed check of the motor revealed no unusual vibrations, so on we went. Although this was bad news, it was repairable and didn‘t require immediate attention. We turned south into Chatham Strait and found tight 4 ft waves coming head on with lots of winds. With the bad seas we were having to make many decisions on the fly in regards to our next anchorage. All the bays in this area are deep and not good for anchoring. We decided that we didn’t want to buck the waves all the way to Warm Springs Bay. Not much of what we’d planned today had worked thus far and we were struggling to determine the best place to anchor for the night.

We decided to head up toward Tenakee Inlet in hopes of finding safe harbor. John wanted to investigate Sitkoh bay, with cannery ruins and an old town site and hopefully a possible anchor site. On the way into the bay we spotted a couple of humpback whales that really gave us a show by breaching multiple times.

Humpback Whale clears the water.

We spent quite a bit of time watching them, but it was well worth it. One of the whales was completely clearing the water, straight up and twisting in flight. None of us had seen whales put on such a great show. A short time later we spotted a brown bear foraging on grass along shore. A little further in the cove we came across the old cannery which was not operational, but looked as if it was being transformed into a fishing lodge. Still no perfect place for the night so on we went!
We found our perfect anchorage at 10:30 PM, a small cove inside Tenakee Inlet located just across from the small town of Tenakee Springs.We set out crabs pots near the boat and John prepared dinner, which was reindeer sausage, potatoes & onions with garlic and ginger.
The evening’s entertainment was two more episodes of South Park. Jeff was really taking to South Park and was requesting it. Because we anchored in a less than perfectly protected area we all decided to wear ear plugs to cancel out the slapping sounds of the waves against the hull.

Anchored in Corner Bay -- Tenakee Strait
N 57 44.472 W 135 07.263
Trip odometer 624.7
Miles traveled today 106.8


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