Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 21-Fanshaw Bay to Tracy Arm Cove

After losing lots of speed (and fuel…and fuel is very important on this leg of the trip) yesterday to the current, I was determined to time our trip from Fanshaw Bay to Tracy Arm Cove today better.  Yesterday I didn’t have a choice (flights don’t run on the schedule of the tide), but today I could leave just about any time from 3:30 am to noon.

According to Navionics on my chartplotter and iPad, as well as several other sources of tide information including the guidebook I’ve been using, Stephens Passage floods north from the south end.  The current meets somewhere in the middle, quite a bit further north than where we were going.

Low water was predicted for about 9:30 am, with high water at 3:30 pm or so.  I’d need a bit more time than that for the trip, so I figured I’d pull anchor at 8:00 am on the dying ebb and then catch the flood north for the rest of the way to Tracy Arm Cove.

The plan worked for a bit, but it seemed like I was making slow progress.  At 1800 rpm in flat water without current I should make about 5 knots.  Today I was doing 4.5 or less way too much of the time.  There were some periods of 6+ knots, but not too many.  We were traveling close to shore, so perhaps we got stuck in some back eddies that slowed our progress.  Whatever it was, the currents up here seem more complex than I initially thought.

The morning started off unbelievably rainy.  The radar was nearly useless at times because the rain was so heavy.  Visibility was down to a mile or so.  At least it wasn’t windy!  But by around noon the rain had eased, and then the sun emerged.
Raindrops in the water
Radar image obscured by rain
By the time we pulled into Tracy Arm Cove, the sun was out in full force!  We got a terrific view of Mt. Sumdum and Sumdum Glacier, along with the dozens of other snowcapped peaks in the area.  This place is truly spectacular.  When you think of quintessential Alaska, this is it.
Great scenery when the weather cleared
We dropped the anchor in Tracy Arm Cove at 3:15 pm, and a few minutes later a whale swam by the entrance to the cove.  With the engine off we heard the blowhole before we saw anything, and then we watched it for 15 minutes as it leisurely made its way past icebergs and out of view.
Perfect anchorage
A cruise ship passed our anchorage on its way out of Tracy Arm.  My cell phone buzzed to life as it went by.  The message that I got indicated I was connected to a cell network from the cruise ship and would be charged $20 a megabyte.  No thanks.
Cruise ship passing the anchorage
Jay and JoLee on another C-Dory 22 named Hunky Dory pulled in and anchored near us in the evening.  Jay came over and filled in some details about Ford’s Terror, a place where he’s spent quite a bit of time.  He reported that there’s been lots of rock fall since he was there last and the lack of trees about 15-20 feet above the high tide line indicated semi-recent mini tsunamis throughout the bay.  He had heard lots or rocks crashing about above the anchorage and opted to leave earlier than expected to avoid potential disaster.  Looks like we’ll skip Ford’s Terror.

While we were talking Jay spotted a couple of young grizzlies running on the beach.  The first bears I’ve seen on the trip.  Their mother was conspicuously absent…not sure where she was.  Jay has a waterjet-powered kayak called a Mokai that I tried out.  It’s awesome…fast, easy to drive, comfortable, durable…If I had seen one before leaving Seattle I would be a lot poorer but I’d have a fun toy!

One of the bears
Testing out the Mokai
We had a nice time learning about places to see and things to do in the area from Jay, cooked dinner, and got to bed reasonably early.  Tomorrow we’re heading up Tracy Arm to check out Sawyer Glacier.

36.2nm today and 999.1 total

No comments :

Post a Comment