Friday, June 16, 2017

Cruising the Sitka Area

Of the communities in SE Alaska, Sitka is probably our favorite.  The town is large enough to have all the services you need, with lots of restaurants and local activities.  It only gets a half dozen or so significant cruise ships a week and those either anchor out or berth 4 miles north of town.

This year we decided to attend a number of events from the Sitka Summer Music Festival.  The schedule we adapted was 3 days (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) in town and the other 4 days out cruising locally.  2017-06-066xThat schedule gave us the opportunity to continue our fishing efforts, try new anchorages and hear some wonderful classical music.

The Friday and Saturday concerts are held in the newly renovated Centennial Hall which looks out toward the mountains south of town. Your eyes are easily distracted from the performers on stage to the views out the windows behind the stage.

2017-06-069xAnother opportunity that came up while in Sitka was a tour of the newly commissioned USCG Cutter, the John McCormick.  The John McCormick is the first of the new Sentinel class cutter on the west coast of the US. and will be stationed in Ketchikan.

We tried our hand at fishing but were hampered by the weather (wind and seas) and equipment issues (the downrigger motor started misbehaving).  Marcia did land a chinook but it turned out to be too small (the minimum size for retention is 28 inches) and was released. Several other fish bites were lost before they were brought close enough to net.

We did manage to visit four new (to us) anchorages (Outer cove to deGroff Bay, Kidney Cove, Seven Fathom Bay and Big Bay).  We also got some good wildlife viewing of a brown bear in Kidney Cove and humpback whales bubble feeding just south of Sitka.

2017-06-077x         2017-06-090x

While the weather this season has been a bit cooler than normal (while out cruising near Sitka we’ve gone several days in a row with the high temperature barely breaking 50° F), mostly we are experiencing small disturbances circulating in from lows out in the Gulf Alaska. When we do get a reprieve from the seemingly interminable clouds the views, even from the harbor are stunning.

I close this post with a panoramic stitch from a recent morning as the sun slowly spread its rays across the marina.