May 28 – Girls Day out

“Community by definition is: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.”

Memorial Day weekend is the official start of summer, but here in the Finger Lakes it definitely doesn’t feel like summer at the moment. The wonderful thing about being here is the weather never stops people from getting out and having a good time and that’s exactly what we did today. We, not as in Stan and me, but some of the ladies from the marina and their friends.

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Glad to be back aboard

A beautifully day with cloudless blue skies made for a spectacular view of the PNW mountains as we flew up the coast from Seattle to Juneau. It was fun to look down and see many of the anchorages that we have cruised to from thousands of feet above. We were very relieved to find Idyll […]

Nomads

“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints.” – Wilfred Peterson

We consider ourselves cruisers, well maybe more as explorers and adventurers now that we have been in Ithaca so long. Nomads at heart. A nomad is defined as a member of a community that has no permanent home, one that moves about from place to place, usually seasonally and often following a traditional route according to the state of the pasturage or food supply. That definition seems to fit the cruising community and our way of life. We move from place to place…not for the food supply though, but for the quest to stay in the 70-80º temperature range.

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Into the Storm

In determining our route from Ireland to Charleston this May, we had a number of choices. The naive option was to proceed directly from Ireland to Charleston, taking roughly the opposite route to our 2017 passage from Newport, RI to Kinsale, Ireland almost four years earlier to the day. But a near-steady procession of intense…

Azores High

The most direct route from the Azores to the US is an 1,800-mile great circle route to Bermuda (the red dashed line above), then a 600-800-mile run to the US, depending on our landing choice. The problem with that routing is that the winds predominately blow from the west, on the bow, and we would…

Horta

Horta has long been a stopover for ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Explorers and settlers arrived in the 15th century, followed by trading ships in the 16th through 19th centuries, and most recently, ocean-crossing pleasure craft. To accommodate the increasing numbers of these smaller boats, a large 300-slip marina was constructed in 1986. It is…

Alaska 2021 Behm Canal

 Behm Canal

Spirit and crew spent a four-night interlude in Ketchikan, mooring for the first time at Ketchikan Moorage, a private marina with room for 4-8 boats located north of Cruise Berth Four.  There was plenty of maintenance to do, changing main engine and generator oil, replacing an anchor light, installing a new VHF radio on the flybridge, servicing the watermaker and so on.  We also needed to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables that we were not able to take through Canada on our transit.

We had a victory dinner at the Oceanview Restaurant, a combination Mexican and Italian menu, with a very good Shrimp Piccata, among other things.  Miriam took her first independent field trip without Patrick along, to Walmart, driving a scooter with one hand.

The weather was a mixture of rain, wind and sunshine, always cool.

 

May 18-22, 2021

We departed Ketchikan Moorage at 0758, two minutes ahead of plan in brisk 15-20 knot winds from the north, proceeding up Tongass Narrows, through Clover Pass and into the Behm Canal, stopping for the night at Marguerite Bay in Traitors Cove.  We anchored in 60 feet of water just off the USFS float at 1210.  We could have conceivably tied to the float, there was plenty of water depth, but we would have hung out significantly. There is also a USFS buoy, but the rusty shackle did not look adequate for Spirit, except perhaps as a stern tie.

 

Setting four prawn pots in Traitors Cove, we let them soak for 4 hours, returning to the pots just as several Humpback whales were breaching and feeding in the cove, giving us some additional entertainment.  The four hour soak only yielded 9 large spot prawns, so we left two pots down overnight.

 

May 19, 2021

 

Returning in the morning, one pot had only 26 and the other pot only 2.  Nonetheless, we now had enough for a nice dinner.

 

Spot Prawns from Saks Cove

Departing at 0915 we continued clockwise around the Behm Canal, diverting to Shrimp Bay and Klu Bay for an exploratory view of the twin waterfalls and the USFS buoy in Klu Bay.  Continuing our journey, passing by the abandoned and derelict Bell Island Hot Springs we turned the corner and anchored in Fitzgibbon Cove.  Harry and Teri headed in the Mink to Saks Cove to set the prawn pots while Miriam and Patrick relaxed on board and did maintenance to ready Spirit for the next day’s voyage.

 

Spirit has now covered 712 NM.

 

May 20, 2021

 

After a peaceful night at anchor in Fitzgibbon Cove, we checked the crab pots and were able to harvest nearly our combined limit of Dungeness Crab, 11 in total.  Harry and Teri then took the Mink down to Saks Cove while Patrick and Miriam raised the anchor and brought Spirit down and stood by while the prawn pots were pulled.  There was not a huge amount of prawns, but the ones we did get were very large, enough for several more meals.

Continuing down Behm Canal, we took a chance and went into Rudyerd Inlet and Punchbowl Cove, with the spectacular 3640 foot high granite wall along one side.  The buoy was occupied, so we anchored in 120 feet of water off the creek flowing out of Punchbowl Lake.

 

Cliffs in Punchbowl Cove

Setting two prawn pots, Harry and Teri then explored Rudyerd Inlet to the end, some 10 miles further in.  Meanwhile, the boat occupying the buoy left, so Patrick moved Spirit to the buoy for the night.  The weather was still pleasant, so we cooked steaks on the grill, along with salad, asparagus and baked potatoes.

 

May 21, 2021

 

The weather remained settled overnight, but the sunny skies were replaced with high clouds, still with little wind.  The UnCruise Ship “Wilderness Explorer” arrived late in the morning, anchoring where we had been anchored.  Presumably after lunch, the passengers disembarked into kayaks, paddleboards and zodiacs.  We spent the morning processing crab and prawns for the freezer.  Miriam was able to pick the crab meat from the bodies of the crabs, while Patrick focused on the legs.

 

About 1600 we were treated to a brown bear walking along the beach, which provided good entertainment for both us and the cruise ship passengers.

 

Brown Bear in Punchbowl Cove

 

The “Wilderness Explorer” left at 1800, leaving us alone in Punchbowl Cove except for a small group of kayakers camping on the beach near the creek draining Punchbowl Lake.  We wondered how they would deal with the brown bears, since they asked to tie up their food kayak to our stern, but never showed up.  By sunset, a light rain washed down the boat as we enjoyed crab and prawn cocktails and finished some of our leftover meals.

Our Prawn and Crab Cocktails

 

May 22, 2021

 

Rain overnight, sometimes heavy, provided a nice background noise to our peaceful night at the buoy.  Morning brought more rain and the ceiling was low, so the top of Punchbowl cove was obscured.  Departing at 0805 we motored down Rudyerd Inlet and continued our clockwise transit of the Behm Canal.  The low ceiling turned into fog as we passed by New Eddystone Rock, but then cleared near Smeaton Island.

 

New Eddystone Rock in the fog

Exiting Behm Canal near Twin Islands we joined the parade of vessels headed to Ketchikan.  The wind abated and after retrieving the Mink we moored at Ketchikan Moorage next to the Westport 112 “Snowbored”.  With intermittent heavy rain showers we took both the Mink and our tender to the fuel dock, filled the watertanks and relaxed for the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Azores Arrival

We got our first glimpse to the Azores archipelago on the morning after our eighth night after departing Dublin. We reached the port of Horta shortly after day break and proceeded to our berth in the commercial harbour, with views to the historic town on the opposite shore. The protocol for pleasure craft arriving into…

May 19 – Watkins Glen State Park

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” – T.S Eliot

We spent the morning hiking at Watkins Glen State Park. Known for its natural beauty, the park’s gorge trail is a two mile hike, which takes the  hiker past 19 waterfalls and up 800 stone steps. Carved into the escarpment at the southern end of Seneca Lake, this hanging valley is the oldest and most renowned State Park in the Finger Lakes region. The park is a beautiful work of natural art and it was first opened as a tourist resort in 1863. It’s amazing what a little water and thousands of years can create.

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May 12 – Celebrating the Sun

“We are still masters of our fate. We are still captains of our souls.” ― Winston Churchill
The sun was out today, so we just had to go out and celebrate. We did this by having a wonderful lunch at The Ginny Lee Cafe at Wagner’s Vineyard. This has been a favorite of yours for years. We had the best table on the deck overlooking Seneca Lake. The weather was still a bit cool, but it felt amazing sitting in the sun soaking in the warmth of the day and the views of the lake.

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