We departed Sitka on Sunday, June 20 with the intention of being in Juneau a week later. In addition, we wanted to get in a short trip to Glacier Bay along the way. To do that we submitted a short-notice (48 hours) permit application for entry into Glacier Bay National Park waters (they limit the number of private vessels in park waters to 25 at a time). By the time we lost cell coverage from we still hadn’t heard but the next morning, our confirmation notice was in my e-mail box, so we didn’t have to come up with a plan “B”.
Our first night out from Sitka was Appleton Cove and we were glad to be there. As soon as we rounded the top of Baranof Island (Nismeni Point), the easterly winds started picking up. Soon we were pounding through 4-foot steep chop powered by 20-knot head winds. Not unsafe, but certainly unpleasant.
The next morning was calm and early start allowed us pick up favorable currents and make it to Flynn Cove on the north shore of Chichagof Island. It was a busy place that night with four other boats (three trollers and a charter cruise yacht, Alaskan Song).
The park was still operating with Covid-19 rules, so the mandated annual boater orientation was completed via a video presentation prior to submitting the application. This allowed us to bypass Bartlett Cove and go directly to our anchorage for the night at North Sandy Cove.
Along the route, we did a slow pass by South Marble Island. This is one of the highlights of a park visit because of the Stellar Sea Lion colonies and the nesting birds. We thought the sea lion colony populations looked very healthy and the number of tufted puffins greater than in recent years.
Since we were only spending four nights in the park, one of which was going to be in Bartlett Cove on the way out, we decided to forgo a trip to Tarr Inlet and the calving Margerie Glacier. Instead we spent two nights in North Sandy Cove, one in South Finger Bay and the final night in Bartlett Cove. We tied to the NPS dock at Bartlett Cove for our permitted 3-hours and took Drake ashore, the only portion of the park he is allowed to. Sadly, it was raining so our walking was brief.
From the Glacier Bay we headed to Funter Harbor on Admiralty Island for the night. An early start on Sunday, 6/27, had us in Auke Bay shortly before 9 AM. We were enjoying our first (of many) Hot Bite milk shakes later that day.
From here we will start a slow meandering cruise southward, fishing along the way.