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September 24th, 2008 by Walt "The Skipper" Jones

(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 My chart is outdated as the side bays no longer exist.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!

Departing from Yakutat

September 23rd, 2008 by Kip "Galley Master" Jones

We awoke to a glorious full view of Mt. St. Elias; 18,006 feet right out of the water!  We had arrived at 10:15 the night before and had no idea how beautiful the spot was where we’d landed.  The seas were calm and the wind was gone so it was a perfect last day for Scott and Raime.  We saw many geese in V formations heading south and that was a message for us too.  We saw more glaciers and the beauty of the mountains continued all day long.  We arrived at the fuel dock in Yakutat at 4:00 pm so Scott and Raime had plenty of time to make their 6:45 departure.  It was sad to see them go back home.  We are now tied to the dock at Yakutat Roads, one of the prettiest spots we have seen on this trip.  We hope to be in Sitka Friday and now it is just the two of us.  🙂

1,302 meals and counting

September 23rd, 2008 by Kip "Galley Master" Jones

(59º55.76’N, 141º22.54’W — Icy Bay) We have had a long day today which began with a 7:00am departure and a 10:15pm arrival to Icy Bay, about 50 miles from Yukatat Bay, where Scott and Raime will depart for home tomorrow evening. The seas were rough and choppy all day long and we were entertained by Scott reading from Raime’s book, “11,000 Years Lost” and are all hoping to finish it tomorrow! We saw ice again as we came into our anchorage as we are near another calving glacier. Scott has been helping Raime keep up with her math by making up thought problems. She figured out all the days and number of people and came up with the fact that I’d prepared 1,302 meals on this journey since leaving Southwest Harbor, Maine. Wow!

We did cut a corner early this morning which saved us three hours and are so grateful we did not repeat running aground like we did in Tuk. The depth got as low as 5’7″ but we slid through this time. Raime has been a delight and she has done really well in such a small space. We will really miss them as they head for home.

Nap, talk, oooh & ahhh

September 21st, 2008 by Scott Jones

(59º58.5′ N, 144º22.8′ W — Kayak Entrance, Kayak Island) Today was a big travel day — we went 108 nautical miles starting early this morning (before sunrise) and finishing after sundown. Most of the day, we were a ways away from shore (about 25 miles), but we got distant views of a number of additional glaciers. For those of you that are salmon connoisseurs, we are slightly south of Copper River, which is a gigantic mud flat that is bracketed by a few glaciers including Miles and Childs Glaciers.

We had some company along the way today when two pods of Dahl porpoises played around the boat. They stayed with us for a very long time, at least half an hour. On their second visit, there were so many of them that it seemed that we could see several of them surfacing everywhere we looked! It was as if the original few we saw had gone and gathered all of their friends and family to have fun around the Geraldine!

We saw two rainstorms on the radar today, and ended up having hail as we went through them. We also saw a complete rainbow that ended directly in front of the boat. We kept heading that way, but the gold was elusive. We had fun reading, napping, talking, and ooohing and ahhhing with the porpoises. It was a great day here on the Geraldine.

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