Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 24-Ford's Terror to Taku Harbor

Despite the beauty of Ford’s Terror, we had to move on today.  So we pulled anchor around 6:30 to ride the ebb out of Endicott Arm and then catch the flood up Stephen’s Passage.  On a boat related note, the windlass (the electric thing that pulls the anchor up) has performed well, but the rode seems to get more and more twisted every time the anchor is used.  This results in the windlass binding up and stopping, and requires me to go up to the windlass and unwind the chain or rope.  I’ll need to look into an anchor swivel…

The trip out Endicott Arm was similar to the trip in yesterday.  Glassy water, sunny skies.  The entrances to Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm are usually called bars, since they are narrow and shallow.  They resemble the bars that people run to get in and out of rivers.  But in reality they are terminal morraines, which means they are the furthest place that the glaciers once reached.  A strong current runs through these areas at times, and we timed it to make it through near slack.
I like this!
Soon after emerging from Endicott Arm, we spotted a humpback whale.  And then another.  And then several more.  We turned off the engine and drifted for an hour or so, watching the humpbacks swim leisurely.  We also saw a bunch of seals and sea lions frolicking around.
I've seen lots of Orcas and these Humpbacks are huge in comparison

Around 10:30 the breeze was starting to pick up and I decided we better head towards Taku Harbor before the weather turned worse.  We ended up having an uneventful trip to Taku Harbor, although the winds did pick up to 20 knots with three foot following seas by the time we pulled in.  Later on, the wind further increased, and there were plenty of gusts above 30 knots at the dock we tied up to.

Taku Harbor is the site of a former cannery, and there’s evidence of it all over.  Tons of rusted metal (they made their own cans, and left the raw material), pilings where the pier used to be, boilers, concrete slabs.  It was fun to walk through the abandoned area and imagine what it was once like.
I think this is an old washing machine...I didn't try to use it
Pilings left over from the pier
A crumbling building, and a bathtub 
Who knows what all this stuff is
The city of Juneau built a very nice, large dock at Taku Harbor that is free to use.  No water or power, but the docks are modern, safe, and clean.  There was only one other boat there when we arrived, and the gentleman aboard happened to be the lighthouse keeper at the Five Fingers Light, near Fanshaw Bay where we spent the night a few days ago.  He was on his way to Juneau for supplies but ducked into Taku Harbor to wait for better weather.

In the evening a large tour boat, the St. Peter, pulled onto the dock.  I talked with the crew for a bit, and they were spending the night at Taku to save some distance tomorrow.  That way they could sleep in until 7 instead of 5, and still meet the cruise ship they needed to pick up passengers from in time for their trip up Tracy Arm.

By the evening thick clouds had replaced the sun of the previous few days.  Oh well, this is Alaska, and I can’t expect sun and temperatures in the 70’s or 80’s every day!

43.2 nm today and 1117 total

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