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Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

(58º39.1′ N, 137º33.7 W — Lituya Bay, Glacier Bay National Park) We awoke at 3:00 AM at the Yakutat Roads Marina and departed at 3:30 in the dark. We navigated by radar & chart plotter through the maze to open water and headed south (actually more east.) We did this to time an entrance into Lituya Bay at near slack water. As the sun rose we could see Hubbard Glacier at the head of Yakutat Bay. Hubbard is the largest tidal glacier in Alaska with an ice wall that is 6 miles long. We saw a 992 foot long Celebrity Cruise ship (BIG) on its way in to take a peak. All day we have had calm water, light wind & brilliant sunshine. The Fairweather (mountain) Range including the “queen” herself at 15,320 feet were in dazzling view all day long. They are solidly snow covered from about 5000 feet up. Of course glacier after glacier comes down to near sea level. Stunning is an understatement. Kip saw a whale breach and then we saw two tail shots. The weather has been nice enough to break out the flybridge cushions and sit up top. I drove using the remote for the autopilot.

We entered Lituya Bay with the aid of range markers. The usable entrance is about 50 yards wide and can be entered at near slack water only. Our timing was off by 1/2 hour and breakers were occurring on either side of the entrance. This bay was made famous by the tsunami in July, 1958 which induced an avalanche stripping the bay of all trees up to 1720 feet. You still can see evidence of the destruction but there are thankfully many new trees. Kip spotted a bull moose among them. Three glaciers feed the bay; all three are moving a lot of dirt. My chart is outdated as the side bays no longer exist.

Tomorrow we enter familiar territory for the first time since June.

Editor’s Note: We have included pictures all the way back to Seward, where Shane and Rebecca departed.  There are also a few videos of the Kodiak Bears we saw.  Enjoy!

Safe crossing, safe haven

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

(59 deg 18.438′ N, 150 deg 56.543′ W — Tonsina Bay, Kenai Penninsula) We left at 7:15 AM for the mainland expecting a somewhat rough passage. The morning and early afternoon were really very pleasant. We saw a whale spout and it delighted us with a “tail shot.” A group of Dall Porpoises played tag in front of the bow. Then about 3 PM the storm forecast for overnight started and it was “honkin’.” Seas were sloppy and fortunately the waves were not too big. We are now securely anchored behind a small island but the wind is still very strong. I will welcome the opportunity to rest. Our new additions to the team did really well today and have adjusted to boat living. Tomorrow we will attempt as protected a passage as we can toward Seward where Shane & Rebecca will depart for land based Alaska site-seeing. Oh, have we said it before; this place is incredibly beautiful: high mountains, plenty of waterfalls, patches of snow and glaciers nearby. Raime likes being anchored where no one else lives; she thinks that is “cool.”

9/18 5:30 PM We are still here safely at anchor. Winds at the anchorage have been as high as 35 kt and are reported at 45 on the coast – no place for us today. We hope to go on in the morning. There are 13 waterfalls off to port and 1 very large one off the starboard side. A Cormorant landed on the windlass to dry out; we have all been enjoying him.

Safe off Kodiak Island

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

After running all night under a nearly full moon and moderate seas we are off Cape Grant, SW corner of Kodiak Island. We are tired but all is well.

Elusive Aleutians

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

(55 deg 09.9 N, 161 deg 52.2 W) For as much scenery we saw yesterday, today was the opposite. Most of the afternoon we had visibility of about 1/8 th of a mile. There were some exceptions, but that was the rule. There may have been beautiful things to see, but we missed them. We got a false start this AM; it was so rough we turned back and re-anchored until about 1:15 PM – safety first. The anchorage was uncomfortable so we were anxious to leave at the sign of first let-up. As a consequence, we only went 55 miles today. We did have another first though. Ed chose what looked to be a beautiful protected cove – it is, but there are three other boats also anchored here! Ed has good taste. We haven’t seen this many boats in one place outside a marina this whole trip! The cove is on the north side of Dolgoi Island. Ed & Shane are working on an Arctic Char with sweet mustard sauce for dinner.

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go — Genesis 28:15