- Congress made Independence Day an official unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870. In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.
- Only John Hancock actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. All the others signed later.
In early June, we loaded Spitfire and our luggage into a rental car and set off on a 4,200-mile (6,760 km) road trip from Charleston, SC to Seattle, WA. We spent the first two nights in Florida, first in Jacksonville and then in Pensacola, after passing from South Carolina through Georgia and traveling 598 miles…
We departed Sitka on Sunday, June 20 with the intention of being in Juneau a week later. In addition, we wanted to get in a short trip to Glacier Bay along the way. To do that we submitted a short-notice (48 hours) permit application for entry into Glacier Bay National Park waters (they limit the number of private vessels in park waters to 25 at a time). By the time we lost cell coverage from we still hadn’t heard but the next morning, our confirmation notice was in my e-mail box, so we didn’t have to come up with a plan “B”.
Our first night out from Sitka was Appleton Cove and we were glad to be there. As soon as we rounded the top of Baranof Island (Nismeni Point), the easterly winds started picking up. Soon we were pounding through 4-foot steep chop powered by 20-knot head winds. Not unsafe, but certainly unpleasant.
The next morning was calm and early start allowed us pick up favorable currents and make it to Flynn Cove on the north shore of Chichagof Island. It was a busy place that night with four other boats (three trollers and a charter cruise yacht, Alaskan Song).
The park was still operating with Covid-19 rules, so the mandated annual boater orientation was completed via a video presentation prior to submitting the application. This allowed us to bypass Bartlett Cove and go directly to our anchorage for the night at North Sandy Cove.
Along the route, we did a slow pass by South Marble Island. This is one of the highlights of a park visit because of the Stellar Sea Lion colonies and the nesting birds. We thought the sea lion colony populations looked very healthy and the number of tufted puffins greater than in recent years.
Since we were only spending four nights in the park, one of which was going to be in Bartlett Cove on the way out, we decided to forgo a trip to Tarr Inlet and the calving Margerie Glacier. Instead we spent two nights in North Sandy Cove, one in South Finger Bay and the final night in Bartlett Cove. We tied to the NPS dock at Bartlett Cove for our permitted 3-hours and took Drake ashore, the only portion of the park he is allowed to. Sadly, it was raining so our walking was brief.
From the Glacier Bay we headed to Funter Harbor on Admiralty Island for the night. An early start on Sunday, 6/27, had us in Auke Bay shortly before 9 AM. We were enjoying our first (of many) Hot Bite milk shakes later that day.
From here we will start a slow meandering cruise southward, fishing along the way.
All is quiet in Petersburg Harbor as we ease out of our stall at 5:30 am. We are eager to get an early start today as the forecast calls for gale force winds this evening and tomorrow. Hopefully we will be safely tucked into our anchorage before the front arrives. At 4 am we have sufficient light but the strong […]
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ―Mae West
Sitka Interlude 1
June 6, 2021
Our first official day of fishing in Sitka started at 0458 as we slipped the lines and headed to Biorka Island. We were totally unsuccessful, landing only one shaker king which we released from the barbless hooks we are using. Finally giving up on Biorka Island we headed back to the harbor after trying a few passes at Long Island. We docked at 1400 having covered 38.6 NM.
June 7,8 were spent dockside doing maintenance on Spirit
June 9, 2021
Getting underway at 0455, we headed to Vitskari Island in dense fog, which cleared by the time we were at the island. We had the first King Salmon of the season in the boat at 0700. Fishing continued good and the 4th and final fish of the day was in the boat at 0830. Spirit was back at the dock by 1130.
June 10, 2021
Patrick and Miriam celebrated their 49th Anniversary today and all of us went to Ludvig’s Bistro for a celebration dinner. Everything was delicious, including Alaska weathervane scallops, a seafood paella, linguini with chorizo, Caesar Salad and chocolate tort for dessert.
June 11, 2021
Spirit was underway with a tired crew at 0515, heading once again to Vitskari Island. The first King Salmon was in the icebox at 0830 and by 1030 we had caught our 4th and final salmon for the day as well as one halibut. We were back to the dock at 1245. We then just made it to the Sitka Summer Music Festival concert at 1730.
June 12, 2021
Dockside in Sitka, under sunny skies. We attended the second SSMF concert that evening followed by grilled filet mignon’s and grilled zucchini for dinner under warm skies.
June 13, 2021
Spirit slipped the lines at 0736 and we headed back out to the productive locations from the previous several days. Today, however there was no luck, just one shaker King Salmon and three small rockfish of the allowable species. We were back at the dock at 1540.
Sitka Interlude 2
June 14-16, 2021
We spent three days dockside in Sitka, mostly due to adverse weather in Sitka Sound and offshore in the usual fishing spots. We tried fishing from the 18 foot boat, but it was too rough.
We also purchased a additional freezer for our flybridge, finding a seven cubic foot one in Sitka which was delivered to the top of the dock in 30 minutes. We hoisted it to the flybridge with the hydraulic davit and were quickly in operation.
June 17, 2021
Time to go find the King Salmon.
Spirit was underway at 0420 as we headed out of Sitka Sound around Cape Edgecumbe at 0630. The wind was light out of the NE at 8 knots with a SW swell at 3-4 feet. Continuing on to Shelikof Bay on Kruzof Island we spotted a large grouping of guided anglers anchored or drift mooching so we got our downriggers ready and began fishing at 0830. Our first King Salmon was netted and on-board at 0900 and our fourth and final King allowed per day was in the net at 1030 AM.
We pulled in all our gear and continued up the coast of Kruzof Island into Salisbury Sound, where we entered Kalinin Bay and anchored for the night at 1325, having covered 56 NM. By evening there were three other vessels anchored in the bay. We spent the afternoon processing the salmon and getting them into the freezer.
June 18, 2021
We were underway at 0455, with calm winds and low clouds as we headed back out Salisbury Sound and down to Point Amelia, where there were several large groupings of guided angler boats. We fished from 0630-0730 and landed two nice King Salmon, leaving only two to catch for the season. We decided to save the last two for another day and headed to Sitka.
The weather deteriorated as we headed back down the coast of Kruzof Island and by the time we arrived at Cape Edgecumbe the seas were 6-10 feet with 25 knots of wind on the beam. Even with stabilizers on high gain it was an uncomfortable ride for several hours until we were well inside Sitka Sound.
On the way back, when in cell phone range, we were notified by email that the non-resident limit for King Salmon was going to lower to three annually, effective June 21 at 12:01 AM and then one annually on July 1. Our plan for saving another fishing trip now was out the window. If we did not go back out and catch the last two fish, we would be finished with King Salmon for 2021.
That evening we attended a great concert as part of the Sitka Summer Music Festival, including a world premier of one piece and an Alaska premier of the other piece, followed by pizza and drinks at the Mean Queen.
June 19, 2021
With two early days of fishing behind us, and a concert in the evening, we decided to delay taking our chances on fishing for the last two King Salmon until Sunday. The weather was finally sunny and warm and we could wear shorts and t-shirts for the first time in Sitka this season.
June 20, 2021
Father’s Day arrived early, since we decided to go back to Point Amelia on the outside of Kruzof Island to fish, a one-way distance of 32 NM. The weather was not ideal, with low clouds and some wind. Arriving at our fishing location we joined dozens of guided boats, which had passed us at 25+ knots as we headed out at 8 knots.
Point Amelia was rough, with wind, wind chop and swells from two directions. Nonetheless, we put out our gear at 0830 and at 0900 had what was to be our last King Salmon of the season in the net. We then ran into school after school of sizable Black Rockfish, good in fish tacos, so we kept a few. With the weather continuing to deteriorate, we reluctantly headed back and tried the calmer waters of Salisbury Sound. The wind increased to 30 knot gusts and the rain began in earnest, so we pulled in the lines and headed back to Sitka, having caught nearly our annual limit before the deadline at midnight. The final total among our four non-resident licenses was 15 King Salmon versus the 16 maximum.
On the way back we discovered a minor leak into the pilothouse overhead, probably caused by the heavy seas we were in loosening fittings somewhere on the flybridge hardtop.
We docked Spirit at 1645, having covered more that 75 NM in our search for that last elusive fish. Spirit has now logged nearly 1500 NM since we departed in May.
June 21, 2021
Mid-morning we found our new reserved slip was available, so we moved, only to find out that Sitka Harbor had found us a hot-berth slip good until our planned departure on July 5 at a lower cost than a reserved slip. We moved again and settled into slip 9-14 in Eliason Harbor, close to a number of other transient boats we have met in prior years cruising, so a good solution. The harbor is full, with a number of vessels now anchored out and on the waiting list for a berth, so we feel very fortunate.
Searching for the pilothouse leaks required pulling down all the overhead panels in the pilothouse, and spraying the hose on likely culprits. We finally found that the windscreen supports were not well sealed and re-bedding the fasteners should solve the issue.
June 22, 2021
Rain, rain and more rain today, along with cool temperatures. Despite the rain, we were able to re-bed the fasteners and hard-top supports before the rain became torrential. The rain is heavy enough that we lost our satellite TV dish reception. And the noise of the rain beating on the hard-top is LOUD, but sitting on the flybridge gives great views and the temperature is comfortable.
At 7 am we cast off our lines from our stall in Petersburg. We are waiting on a part to arrive for our water maker, so we are heading out to some of our lucky fishing spots while waiting on the part. It is another beautiful day in Alaska to be out on the water. So […]