Our stay is Hoonah was pleasant. The store grocery and hardware store are well stocked and a new craft brewery with a tasting room has opened up. We had an interesting conversation with the master carver for the panels in and on the Huna Tribal Long House being built in Glacier Bay National Park at Bartlett Cove. The exterior panel (left photo) is complete and installed on the long house but the interior panel (right photo) was in the final stages of completion at the carving shop in Hoonah before being shipped off for the dedication on August 25.
After two nights on the dock, we untied and headed east in Icy Strait then headed south down Chatham Strait. The weather was lovely and along the way we stopped in Iyoukeen Cove and fished for halibut. After about 2 hours effort, Marcia had 2 halibut aboard. She cleaned them after we arrived in our anchorage for the night, Pavlof Harbor.
After the previous lovely day we were expecting more of the same but Chatham Strait fooled us by 15-20 knot head winds and a steep 3’ choppy head seas. Both cats lost their breakfast in the subsequent pounding. We pulled into Takatz Bay and found our “cousin” ship (same builder and hull design but different upper layout), Luck Dragon, already anchored. We had last seen Ed and Carlene in Sitka nearly a month earlier.
Next day, we continued down Chatham Strait in calm conditions to Gut Bay which we had visited previously this season. There was a bit of wind across the bay so we anchored in a protected cove on the bay’s south side that is outside a small cove with a shallow entrance requiring it to be timed. We dropped the kayaks and paddled into the inner cove and found a vessel, Navigator, anchored their owned by friends of the our neighbors in the marina at which our boat stays for the winter. Lynn & Neal cruise with 3 Maine Coon cats so we, of course, have an affinity with them.
Our original hope was to continue around Cape Decision at the south end of Kuiu Island but between the weather forecast and our desire to minimize stress on the cats, we decided to go around the north end of Kuiu Island and down Rocky Pass (Keku Strait). Along the route, we stopped and fished Kingsmill Point where Marcia found two coho salmon attracted to her fishing lure. Marcia cleaned her catch in Honey Dew Cove on the north end of Kuiu Island.
Transiting Rocky Pass is not difficult but does require attention to timing (high slack water at the Devil’s Elbow station) and to navigation. There are about 40 navigation aids but the number of hazards far exceeds that. You tend to rely on your electronic navigation to show where you are and do your best to relate what you see outside with what the screen says. We ended up following a commercial troller and being followed by another pleasure craft through the tricky part.
Continuing the inside water route to Craig, we went through El Capitan Passage, spending the night in Kaguk Cove before heading into Craig.
While in Craig, we bumped into some cruisers from the Bremerton Yacht Club that we had also met in 2014 while in Icy Strait. They had been doing some serious fishing in Craig so Marcia pumped them for local knowledge.
After two nights in Craig we headed out to do some fishing. There is lots of commercial fishing, both trollers and seiners so Marcia was hoping for something. She did catch two pink salmon but both ultimately got away. After one night out, we decided to sit out some upcoming windy & rainy weather at the dock and so headed back into Craig.
From here, our plan is to visit Hyderburg for a few days during their annual native cultural event. Than we’ll continue around the south end of Prince of Wales Island and make our way across the border to Prince Rupert, BC.