Aug 24 2008
This is an unexpected report from Ketchikan.
Our hope was to now be steaming southward towards Seattle along the offshore waters of Southeast Alaska & British Colombia; alas, we have been forced inland, to the more sheltered waters of the Inside Passage, by a series of challenging & un-summer-like southerly storms offshore. The cruising is lovely down the Inside Passage, but progress is slower & navigation more circuitous & demanding than running the open, offshore waters of the coast.
We are calling Ketchikan today for an extra shot of fuel for a slower passage home, hopeful that a couple of more days running southbound down the Inside Passage will provide a weather opening allowing us to head back offshore for a last-leg-home down the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The weather in Alaska this summer (?) has been ever-changing, hopefully it will do so for the better over the next week. It does appear that we have a grind ahead of us covering the 665 mile distance from Ketchikan to our schedule August 30th arrival at Lake Union. Whatever the weather does, our schedule is “do-able”, One way or another, we’re going to do it!
On departing Sitka, we enjoyed a lovely, sunny journey, via Sergius Narrows and Peril Straits, to Warm Springs Bay—–where we anchored well past dark. We arose early on Tuesday (August 21st) to the sight of the dramatic roaring waterfall adjacent to wonderful (and now well-maintained) Baranoff Hot Springs—–Onsens revisited:
We departed Baranof for a lumpy run across Frederick Sound (signs of things to come?) to our 21st rendezvous with Catalyst in the beautiful Brothers Islands. It was a night to remember aboard two able & lovely vessels, full with with fine fellowship & company sharing a delicious potluck & moveable feast (including Westward’s fresh ling cod & halibut from Prince William Sound!).
Daybreak on the 22nd (seen only by a few stalwarts!) saw Westward & Catalyst underway together to the Five Fingers Lighthouse—— base-camp of Fred Sharps’s remarkable Alaska Whale Foundation (www.alaskawhalefoundation.org). Low tide & deteriorating weather precluded visits ashore to the lighthouse so we parted company with Catalyst and travel southwest (another ominous passage) to magnificent Red Bluff Bay off Chatham Straits on Baranof Island.
We had hope for couple of nights at Red Bluff, but the demands of weather & duty compelled us to get underway, southbound towards home, early on the 23rd. Thus we’ve crawled our way to Ketchikan today.
We’re wet & tired, but on our way; and all continues well onboard.
[P.S.: Click Here for a press release from John Sabella & Assoc. regarding Westward's return to Seattle.]