Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Alaska Trip 2011: Clockwise around Wrangell Island

Day 21:  More fishing and another fantastic moorage all to ourselves.  39-miles

The barometer has bumped up to 1029Mb, the highest of the trip.   Sunny and warm.  The weather for the past 3-weeks has been fantastic.  A couple of small rain showers to rinse the salt off the boat, a little breeze way back on day 11, mostly overcast mornings burning off in the afternoon with smooth water.  Just like the brochure advertised!

Cindy with the big halibut rod & reel.

We are going fishing again, confident in our ability.  We spoke with the commercial fisherman aboard the tender Cape Ommaney, moored across the dock at Heritage Marina last night.  They gave me the ol' "ten minutes and we get a halibut" story, when I mentioned that we had not seen any Orca's one of the guys jumped in with "I saw two pods today, they always are near that point at 10am..." .  Fish tales, got to love them.  One of the fellows came over and pointed at our chart giving us his best advice, which I appreciate.

We went back to Two-Tree Island and fished the flat area on the south side.  The fisherman said give it twenty minutes and if no bites move on, which we did.  We trolled for salmon between Sokolof and Vank... and moved on. 

Chief Shakes House in Wrangell harbor

We stopped back by Wrangell to see Chief Shakes House, on Shakes Island in the middle of the old marina.  This is a recreation of a Tlingit longhouse, built in the late 1940's with the help of the last Chief Shakes.  Very cool and well worth touring. 

Inside Shakes House - Tlingit longhouse.

Tom Nelson suggested "The Babbler" between the point and where the rocks stop, 1/3 mile to the west.  Troll at the 120-foot line about ten-feet off the bottom.  We timed this for just before high-slack.  Surely we would get our king here.  Babbler Point is on the mainland side of Wrangell, clockwise around the top of the Island.  We trolled this line for several hours...and then moved on.  Nothing, no hits, zippo.  You cannot catch what is not there, no fish.

Eastern Passage on the west side of Wrangell Island is gorgeous.  Cindy was taking pictures of bald eagles and Stacey drove Cinnamon Girl south through The Narrows.  His small boat sailing career may be waning, he just helped deliver a Swan 100 form Virgin Gorda to New England.  Now aboard the American Tug.   He seems to be enjoying the good life aboard comfortable boats.

Berg Bay - a nice little anchorage.  The red sure looks nice.  Click for full larger image.

The Forest Service Cabin - Click for a link to their description of this cabin.

Berg Bay at the north end of Blake Channel is the perfect Alaskan anchorage.  It was protected, full of crab, gorgeous and empty.  The Forest Service cabin at the head of the bay was not occupied.  We launched the dinghy and headed to shore for some exploration as there is a 1/2-mile walking trail over to the mudflats in the next bay.  The trail is 100% on wood boards above the soil.  This is bear country and we were careful to make some noise as we walked through the woods.  The Forest Service has a network of 150 cabins all over Southeast Alaska, available to use for a very small fee.  The cabin was clean and looked like fun.

The 1/2-mile boardwalk to Aaron Creek. 

Aaron Creek, large grassy delta & mud flats.  Watch for bears!

Did I mention the crabs!

Cinnamon Girl is back on the move and it feels right.  We did not see another boat on Eastern Passage or while anchored.  Solitude. 

Berg Bay at dusk.