Alaska Cabin Fever
Come Hell or High Water (I’m getting off the boat)Wednesday, November 18, 2015S.V. CAMBRIA
It took a couple of days for the conditions in
to improve, but our patience paid off and we got
the break in the forecast we were looking for on Sunday. We upped anchor early,
before , and made our way back
out into the strait. The days are growing shorter now and we no longer have 24
hours of light but it’s still bright enough from 3 or onward to see any debris in the water, even on
overcast days like this one was. Chatham Strait
With help from the current (which was supposed to be against us), we ticked 40 off miles fairly quickly and were approaching Ell Cove just as the wind started to build and the rain began to fall. It was disappointing. I’d been looking forward to getting off the boat and into the kayaks for days now. But under the current conditions, it would have to wait . . . something that’s been happening a lot lately.
As far as anchorages go, Ell Cove is pretty nice. Our favourite kind, in fact. Literally shaped like an ‘L’ it feels like it’s landlocked and whenever I look around, I struggle to find the entrance. Inside, the protection from
is excellent, though it would be a different story when the williwaws
roar down the mountains. But for now, it’s cozy and still. It’s also popular. Chatham Strait
With the rain keeping us inside, David and I talked about our plans for moving south. The weather is real a concern. We’ve now had 11 straight days of rain and have been hit with low after low all season long. It’s hard not to feel like we have a dark cloud following us around, especially when we heard on the radio that it was 72°F in
. Meanwhile the barometer, which has been steady
for days, is falling again so whatever fine weather we see, won’t last long. Ketchikan
Monday started off just like Sunday had ended – foggy, wet and cold – not what you would call prime summer conditions. My patience was wearing thin and I had to get off the boat before I killed someone (that would be David but for no reason other than he’s the only one with me). On the surface, it doesn’t sound like a difficult task, right? You want off the boat, then get off the boat – rain or shine. But there’s more to it than that. Going to shore isn’t always the best option in
, not with brown bears in the area. We didn’t see
any in Ell Cove, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one eating berries somewhere close by . . . or taking a nap (there wasn’t). More importantly
though, there isn’t much shore to go to. Not here anyway. Alaska
Kayaks are our preferred method of exploration these days, but they’re inflatable and not made to handle much more than 15 knots of breeze and a ripple on the water. Regardless of what was happening in
, it was calm inside Ell Cove; so even if I only got to circumnavigate
the half-dozen boats inside the anchorage, I was going. Chatham Strait
Mother Nature was kind enough to offer a break in the weather in the afternoon and at I declared my intentions to David and the world – I was getting off the boat! Hallelujah! Amen! There is a god! And all that jazz. And then it started to rain. Seriously?
It didn’t matter. Cabin fever had won out and I needed to get off. Besides, I had my foulies on and by the time I finished launching my kayak, the rain had stopped and we only had a shower or two the rest of the day.
I left David on
Cambria to sort himself and his kayak out and made my way into . It was flat calm so I paddled over to Chatham Strait , lingering off the 300-foot cascade in hopes he would show. I finally
gave up and started towards Kasnyku Falls when saw him. He’d been chatting with a local boat (out of Hidden Falls , I think) who told him the weather had been
rotten, or more rotten than usual, this summer – as if there were any doubt. Petersburg
I carried on without him but never made it to
* – I’m too easily distracted for that. But I did see humpback whales
breaching in the distance . . . or at least I heard the “lightening cracks” and
saw the giant splashes that followed. I almost caught a salmon the old-fashion
way (by having it jump straight into my kayak). And I found a lovely white,
sand beach where I came under attack by seagulls protecting their young. Simply
put, it was a GREAT day and went a long way to erase the previous eleven. Hidden Falls
* We’d later learn from friends that if we had gone over to Hidden Falls (just to the north of Ell Cove), we could have watched the brown bears fish and play in the creek.
Note: This blog was written on Monday, 20 July 2015.