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Petersburg

The annual Little Norway Festival in Petersburg honors the town’s and communities’ Norwegian heritage. It is Petersburg largest community event and held in the middle of May over a weekend close to the Norwegian Constitution Day, May 17.  Like many small town celebrations, there are parades, contests, demonstrations and many opportunities to eat and drink.

We arrived on Friday, May 17 which was the day of the parade followed by the very popular herring toss and street fair (crafts, food vendors and beer gardens).

2024-Cruise-011x2024-Cruise-014x2024-Cruise-015x

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I’ve red circled the herrings in flight in the photograph.

We made the extra effort to get to Petersburg in time for the festival in part to meet up with friends also attending. John & Kathleen 2024-Cruise-007yarrived a two days ahead of us to start bringing their boat out of its winter hibernation. Not exactly intended, we ended up moored next to them on the dock.  Their boat was being built at the same time as ours at the Seahorse Marine boatyard.

Also arriving ahead of us were Natala and Don Goodman accompanied by Dave Adams. Dave owns two aircraft that he built but neither are on floats. Don, Dave and I were on the successful 1981 Denali South Buttress climb. They had flown up on Don & Natala’s Cessna 182 equipped with floats.  The US Forest Service has 2024-Cruise-024xmany cabins in SE Alaska only accessible by float planes or boat available to rent.  Don & Natala have done several previous trips visiting some cabins and where possible we’ve met up with them along the way.

On Saturday, the highlight of the day was the Kaffe Hus. This is a fund raiser for the Sons of Norway in which homemade traditional Norwegian treats are laid out 2024-Cruise-025xbuffet style and you can fill your plate to your heart’s content. Bringing a container or ziploc bag to bring something back to the boat is always a smart idea.

2024-Cruise-028xLater that day Marcia watched intently while a 90 pound halibut was swiftly carved up into four portions by a professional from the local processing plant.

2024-Cruise-029Both Friday and Saturday evenings we gathered as a group on the boats to have beverages, snacks and conversation. Weather permitting it would be outside on the flybridge.

IMG_1833Don, Natala and Dave flew out on Sunday in a weather window ahead of an approaching weather front. Before leaving the area, Don flew east towards the coast range separating the SE Alaskan Panhandle from British Columbia.  They had beautiful weather for a flyby of Devils Thumb, a prominent peak visible from Petersburg.

2024-Cruise-030xThe last Little Norway Festival event we attended was the Rotary Club Seafood Bake & Barbecue. The seafood served were ample portions of king salmon and black cod. The setting is at the Sandy Beach park which looks east out over Fredrick Sound.

We haven’t quite figured out when and where we’ll 2024-Cruise-034xgo from here.  Since we bypassed Ketchikan, we are “spending” those days we “saved” here in Petersburg.  There are places for Drake to play and for me to walk, so no hurry.

Petersburg

The annual Little Norway Festival in Petersburg honors the town’s and communities’ Norwegian heritage. It is Petersburg largest community event and held in the middle of May over a weekend close to the Norwegian Constitution Day, May 17.  Like many small town celebrations, there are parades, contests, demonstrations and many opportunities to eat and drink.

We arrived on Friday, May 17 which was the day of the parade followed by the very popular herring toss and street fair (crafts, food vendors and beer gardens).

2024-Cruise-011x2024-Cruise-014x2024-Cruise-015x

2024-Cruise-019y

I’ve red circled the herrings in flight in the photograph.

We made the extra effort to get to Petersburg in time for the festival in part to meet up with friends also attending. John & Kathleen 2024-Cruise-007yarrived a two days ahead of us to start bringing their boat out of its winter hibernation. Not exactly intended, we ended up moored next to them on the dock.  Their boat was built at the same time as ours at the Seahorse Marine boatyard.

Also arriving ahead of us were Natala and Don Goodman accompanied by Dave Adams. Dave owns two aircraft that he built but neither are on floats. Don, Dave and I were on the successful 1981 Denali South Buttress climb. They had flown up on Don & Natala’s Cessna 182 equipped with floats.  The US Forest Service has 2024-Cruise-024xmany cabins in SE Alaska only accessible by float planes or boat available to rent.  Don & Natala have done several previous trips visiting some cabins and where possible we’ve met up with them along the way.

On Saturday, the highlight of the day was the Kaffe Hus. This is a fund raiser for the Sons of Norway in which homemade traditional Norwegian treats are laid out 2024-Cruise-025xbuffet style and you can fill your plate to your heart’s content. Bringing a container or ziploc bag to carry something back to the boat is always a smart idea.

2024-Cruise-028xLater that day Marcia watched intently while a 90 pound halibut was swiftly carved up into four portions by a professional from the local processing plant.

2024-Cruise-029Both Friday and Saturday evenings we gathered as a group on the boats to have beverages, snacks and conversation. Weather permitting it was outside on the flybridge.

IMG_1833Don, Natala and Dave flew out on Sunday in a weather window ahead of an approaching weather front. Before leaving the area, Don flew east towards the coast range separating the SE Alaskan Panhandle from British Columbia.  They had beautiful weather for a flyby of Devils Thumb, a prominent peak visible from Petersburg.

2024-Cruise-030xThe last Little Norway Festival event we attended was the Rotary Club Seafood Bake & Barbecue. The seafood served were ample portions of king salmon and black cod. The setting is at the Sandy Beach park which looks east out over Fredrick Sound.

We haven’t quite figured out when and where we’ll 2024-Cruise-034xgo from here.  Since we bypassed Ketchikan, we are “spending” those days we “saved” here in Petersburg.  There are places for Drake to play and for me to walk, so no hurry.

Alaska Cruise XIV

We started our 2024 cruising season on Saturday, May 4, one day earlier than we originally targeted. The winds looked to be less fearsome on Saturday than Sunday so we speeded our preparations up a bit.  The first stop was Anacortes where we took on fuel and had some work done on the boat.

Because the work was done on Monday, we needed three nights in Anacortes and didn’t depart until Tuesday.  We cleared BC customs in Port Browning on North Pender Island in the Gulf Islands.  Our yacht club subsidizes our moorage at the marina there (it is considered an “outstation”), it has a nearby grocery store, a restaurant and a huge lawn for Drake to play on, all very attractive features.

After this leisurely start, our northward grind began.  Over the years, we’ve fallen into the practice of traveling “fast” on the northbound trip to SE Alaska and “slow” on the southbound journey. When in that “fast” mode we travel when conditions allow and take advantage of all of the daylight, routinely leaving at first light and stopping at the last good anchorage before last light.  This year was an example of that.  From Port Browning, over the next 10 days until our next port of call we covered 713 miles in about 112 engine hours until Petersburg.  As we traveled north, we realized that we could get to Petersburg in time to attend some of the best parts of the Little Norway Festival we enjoyed so much last year. The US Customs and Border Patrol’s mobile ROAM app allowed us to clear customs without going into port so we were able pass by Ketchikan without stopping.

The map below shows our route from Anacortes to Petersburg. 

While we didn’t do a lot of photography on the way north, we do have two photos of us (or at least our boat) as we headed north.  The first is a photo taken by fellow Queen City Yacht Club members, Lois and Geary Long, as they passed us in their Selene 62, Raven, north of Cape Caution approaching  Calvert Island.  The second is a photo by our friends, Kathleen and John Douglas, owners of our sistership Laysan.  The photo was taken from the Alaska Airlines flight they were on to return to their boat in Petersburg as the plane was making its scheduled stop in Ketchikan.  It was quite a coincidence that their plane made its landing approach as we were passing by in Tongass Narrows.

2024-Cruise-0022024-Cruise-003x

Alaska Cruise XIV

We started our 2024 cruising season on Saturday, May 4, one day earlier than we originally targeted. The winds looked to be less fearsome on Saturday than Sunday so we speeded our preparations up a bit.  The first stop was Anacortes where we took on fuel and had some work done on the boat.

Because the work was done on Monday, we needed three nights in Anacortes and didn’t depart until Tuesday.  We cleared BC customs in Port Browning on North Pender Island in the Gulf Islands.  Our yacht club subsidizes our moorage at the marina there (it is considered an “outstation”), it has a nearby grocery store, a restaurant and a huge lawn for Drake to play on, all very attractive features.

After this leisurely start, our northward grind began.  Over the years, we’ve fallen into the practice of traveling “fast” on the northbound trip to SE Alaska and “slow” on the southbound journey. When in that “fast” mode we travel when conditions allow and take advantage of all of the daylight, routinely leaving at first light and stopping at the last good anchorage before last light.  This year was an example of that.  From Port Browning, over the next 10 days until our next port of call we covered 713 miles in about 112 engine hours until Petersburg.  As we traveled north, we realized that we could get to Petersburg in time to attend some of the best parts of the Little Norway Festival we enjoyed so much last year. The US Customs and Border Patrol’s mobile ROAM app allowed us to clear customs without going into port so we were able pass by Ketchikan without stopping.

The map below shows our route from Anacortes to Petersburg. 

While we didn’t do a lot of photography on the way north, we do have two photos of us (or at least our boat) as we headed north.  The first is a photo taken by fellow Queen City Yacht Club members, Lois and Geary Long, as they passed us in their Selene 62, Raven, north of Cape Caution approaching  Calvert Island.  The second is a photo by our friends, Kathleen and John Douglas, owners of our sistership Laysan.  The photo was taken from the Alaska Airlines flight they were on to return to their boat in Petersburg as the plane was making its scheduled stop in Ketchikan.  It was quite a coincidence that their plane made its landing approach as we were passing by in Tongass Narrows.

2024-Cruise-0022024-Cruise-003x

Blog Images Temporary (hopefully) Broken

This blog operates using the Google Blogger (aka Blogspot) service.  Most of the images in the blog are stored using either Google Blogger storage or, more recently, the Google Drive cloud storage service (I do have links to my Microsoft Onedrive cloud storage, in some cases).

On January 10, 2024, Google implemented some sort of change to its Google Drive service that “broke” links to the image files being used as thumbnails in my (and many others) blog.  It seems to impact blog posts going back to Spring 2018 when image storage was shifted to Google Drive. 

The text in the posts render properly but the image placeholder is blank except for the image file name. Left clicking on the image placeholder will bring up the full size image.  Right clicking brings up a context menu with multiple choices including “Open Image in New Tab” (or something similar depending on your browser).  This choice will bring up the smaller thumbnail image.  I only mention this to say that problem is with how Google Drive handles the web page’s HTML code’s request for the thumbnail image as the source for the full size image hyperlink.

I am hoping that the issue will be resolved soon.  In the meantime, all the blog images are accessible but you just have to click on the image placeholder to see them.

Blog Images Temporary (hopefully) Broken

This blog operates using the Google Blogger (aka Blogspot) service.  Most of the images in the blog are stored using either Google Blogger storage or, more recently, the Google Drive cloud storage service (I do have links to my Microsoft Onedrive cloud storage, in some cases).

On January 10, 2024, Google implemented some sort of change to its Google Drive service that “broke” links to the image files being used as thumbnails in my (and many others) blog.  It seems to impact blog posts going back to Spring 2018 when image storage was shifted to Google Drive. 

The text in the posts render properly but the image placeholder is blank except for the image file name. Left clicking on the image placeholder will bring up the full size image.  Right clicking brings up a context menu with multiple choices including “Open Image in New Tab” (or something similar depending on your browser).  This choice will bring up the smaller thumbnail image.  I only mention this to say that problem is with how Google Drive handles the web page’s HTML code’s request for the thumbnail image as the source for the full size image hyperlink.

I am hoping that the issue will be resolved soon.  In the meantime, all the blog images are accessible but you just have to click on the image placeholder to see them.

Boat Data

I’ve always been comfortable working with data and computers. It turns out that boating generates gobs of data that provide me ample opportunities to do both.

When, in August 2021, we replaced our lead-acid house bank batteries with lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) batteries, their cost, the desire to maximize their longevity and the associated monitoring equipment we installed gave me the impetus to try “up my game” on the analysis of data.

To help me along, I installed a Raspberry Pi (RasPi) microcomputer that connects (and is powered by) the NMEA 2000 (N2k) data bus (installed when the boat was built) running through the boat. The bus cable connects lots of the devices (e.g., inverter/chargers) and sensors (e.g.., voltage and current sensors) onboard.  To collect all the data on the RasPi, I installed the SignalK server software. Fortunately, I was able to use this very helpful blog post from another boater (far more skilled than I am) to work my way through the process. .

WilhelmSK ScreenThe first goal was simply  to display all of the data being harvested. I ended up using the WilhelmSK app on a used second generation iPad Mini. After a few false starts, I created four screens, one for each operational state of the boat (i.e., “At the Dock”, “Cruising”, “At Anchor” and “Generator Running”).  In each screen, I try to display the most relevant boat data for that state that isn’t already being shown elsewhere.

After running the SignalK system for the 2022 cruising season and finding it to be very reliable, I added data logging to it by installing the InfluxDB timeseries database. To keep that data logging manageable, I identified 22 data fields (e.g., wind speed, battery voltage, battery state of charge) to be logged.  The raw data is retained for 24 hours but every 5-minutes is downsampled to summary data (i.e., means and max’s).. Again this is to keep the data manageable. The 24-hour raw data from just 22 data elements is about 800,000 observations. The 24-hour downsampled data is about 6,000 observations.

Grafana Screen ShotI load the downsampled data to my laptop computer into a database (PostgreSQL). From the database I can further analyze it with Excel. I even installed the Grafana software which allows the creation of “dashboards” that can graphically show large quantities of data on one screen.  In my usage, It isn’t a real time data but it does give insight in the relationship between various measurements and any trendlines.

The exampleCharge Cycle in the graph to the right is from our June 26 departure at anchor in Bartlett Cove to go further up Glacier Bay.  It is the raw data (i.e., not down sampled to 5-minute increments) so the 2-hour period shown in the chart has several thousand data points for each parameter. After the engine starts, the alternator output is limited to what it can produce at idle, about 90-100 amps. After the anchor is pulled and we increase the engine speed to normal cruising (~1500 rpm) the alternator output goes to a little above 150 amps (about 4KW of power). The alternator temperature goes up from an initial 70°F to a little over 170°F. Our Balmar 624 regulator is now operating in “bulk” mode where it is trying to output as many amps as the alternator or battery can handle. Because our house bank batteries are LFP chemistry, the battery voltage hardly budges (most lead-acid batteries have a fairly linear voltage response in bulk mode) until we reach a 93% State of Charge (SoC) at which point the battery voltage begins rising more quickly..

When the voltage reaches the absorption voltage, the regulator switches to “absorption” mode and holds the voltage relatively constant adjusting the alternator output amperage to accomplish it. As soon the alternator output begins to decline, the alternator temperature begins falling. Our Victron battery monitor (BMV-712), also detects the falling output and the 99% SoC and decides to says “close enough” by jumping the SoC to 100%..

To protect the battery from being over charged, the alternator is programmed conservatively and only holds the absorption voltage for about 12 minutes before transitioning to “float” mode. It gradually drops its target voltage over a 6-minute period from 28.4V to 27.2V.  Because the battery has been “stuffed” full of electrons at 28.4V as soon as the alternator lowers its target, the batteries actually deplete slightly. Our normal cruising load (e.g., electronics, fans, furnace) is about 30 amps, so as the voltage drops, part of that is provided by the alternator (e.g., 24A) while the remainder is provided by the battery (e.g., 6A).  Once the final float voltage of 27.2V is reached, the batteries settle down and the alternator takes on the full boat electrical load.  The alternator temperature also reaches its normal cruising temperature of about 110°F, down 60°F from its highpoint only 20 minutes earlier.

Fortunately, I don’t have to analyze the data to this level every time we operate the boat. While at the helm, I’ve stared at the display screen I described at the beginning of this post for two years now. At least at the gross level, I think I can see what is normal operation and any variation from the expected (famous last words). 

Boat Data

I’ve always been comfortable working with data and computers. It turns out that boating generates gobs of data that provide me ample opportunities to do both.

When, in August 2021, we replaced our lead-acid house bank batteries with lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) batteries, their cost, the desire to maximize their longevity and the associated monitoring equipment we installed gave me the impetus to try “up my game” on the analysis of data.

To help me along, I installed a Raspberry Pi (RasPi) microcomputer that connects (and is powered by) the NMEA 2000 (N2k) data bus (installed when the boat was built) running through the boat. The bus cable connects lots of the devices (e.g., inverter/chargers) and sensors (e.g.., voltage and current sensors) onboard.  To collect all the data on the RasPi, I installed the SignalK server software. Fortunately, I was able to use this very helpful blog post from another boater (far more skilled than I am) to work my way through the process. .

WilhelmSK ScreenThe first goal was simply  to display all of the data being harvested. I ended up using the WilhelmSK app on a used second generation iPad Mini. After a few false starts, I created four screens, one for each operational state of the boat (i.e., “At the Dock”, “Cruising”, “At Anchor” and “Generator Running”).  In each screen, I try to display the most relevant boat data for that state that isn’t already being shown elsewhere.

After running the SignalK system for the 2022 cruising season and finding it to be very reliable, I added data logging to it by installing the InfluxDB timeseries database. To keep that data logging manageable, I identified 22 data fields (e.g., wind speed, battery voltage, battery state of charge) to be logged.  The raw data is retained for 24 hours but every 5-minutes is downsampled to summary data (i.e., means and max’s).. Again this is to keep the data manageable. The 24-hour raw data from just 22 data elements is about 800,000 observations. The 24-hour downsampled data is about 6,000 observations.

Grafana Screen ShotI load the downsampled data to my laptop computer into a database (PostgreSQL). From the database I can further analyze it with Excel. I even installed the Grafana software which allows the creation of “dashboards” that can graphically show large quantities of data on one screen.  In my usage, It isn’t a real time data but it does give insight in the relationship between various measurements and any trendlines.

The exampleCharge Cycle in the graph to the right is from our June 26 departure at anchor in Bartlett Cove to go further up Glacier Bay.  It is the raw data (i.e., not down sampled to 5-minute increments) so the 2-hour period shown in the chart has several thousand data points for each parameter. After the engine starts, the alternator output is limited to what it can produce at idle, about 90-100 amps. After the anchor is pulled and we increase the engine speed to normal cruising (~1500 rpm) the alternator output goes to a little above 150 amps (about 4KW of power). The alternator temperature goes up from an initial 70°F to a little over 170°F. Our Balmar 624 regulator is now operating in “bulk” mode where it is trying to output as many amps as the alternator or battery can handle. Because our house bank batteries are LFP chemistry, the battery voltage hardly budges (most lead-acid batteries have a fairly linear voltage response in bulk mode) until we reach a 93% State of Charge (SoC) at which point the battery voltage begins rising more quickly..

When the voltage reaches the absorption voltage, the regulator switches to “absorption” mode and holds the voltage relatively constant adjusting the alternator output amperage to accomplish it. As soon the alternator output begins to decline, the alternator temperature begins falling. Our Victron battery monitor (BMV-712), also detects the falling output and the 99% SoC and decides to says “close enough” by jumping the SoC to 100%..

To protect the battery from being over charged, the alternator is programmed conservatively and only holds the absorption voltage for about 12 minutes before transitioning to “float” mode. It gradually drops its target voltage over a 6-minute period from 28.4V to 27.2V.  Because the battery has been “stuffed” full of electrons at 28.4V as soon as the alternator lowers its target, the batteries actually deplete slightly. Our normal cruising load (e.g., electronics, fans, furnace) is about 30 amps, so as the voltage drops, part of that is provided by the alternator (e.g., 24A) while the remainder is provided by the battery (e.g., 6A).  Once the final float voltage of 27.2V is reached, the batteries settle down and the alternator takes on the full boat electrical load.  The alternator temperature also reaches its normal cruising temperature of about 110°F, down 60°F from its highpoint only 20 minutes earlier.

Fortunately, I don’t have to analyze the data to this level every time we operate the boat. While at the helm, I’ve stared at the display screen I described at the beginning of this post for two years now. At least at the gross level, I think I can see what is normal operation and any variation from the expected (famous last words). 

2023 Cruise Summary

Fortunately, we do not suffer from “Triskaidekaphobia” otherwise we might of skipped this year. The cruise was without mishaps and relaxing.  We changed our fishing strategy by moving the salmon fishing the until the southbound BC portion of the trip.  That freed up days which we spent on additional port days or days at anchor while reducing engine hours and miles traveled.

The cruise was 139 days/138 nights long from Saturday, April 29 until Thursday, September 14.  We spent 84 nights at anchor (61%) and 54 nights at a dock.  Of the nights at anchor, for 46 nights we were the only boat in the anchorage (55%).  During the cruise, we traveled 3023.6 nautical miles and put 510.4 hours on our engine.  We ran our generator 22 times totaling 36 hours.

By coincidence, last year’s cruise, 2022, was also 139 days/138 nights.  Compared to 2022, in 2023 we spent 7 more nights at the dock, 103.2 fewer hours operating the engine, traveled 560 fewer miles and operated the generator 18 additional hours.  These numbers document our slower pace and more time spent on docks or multiple days at anchor.The additional expense from days on the dock is offset by the reduced amount of fuel burned.

We still manage to find new (to us) places to visit and anchor. In 2023 we used 14 new places to anchor (alphabetically –  Baker Cove, Chichagof Village, Dorothy Cove, Fancy Cove, Forit Bay, Kah Shakes Cove, Kinahan Islands, Lake Anna, Luck Dragon Cove, Otter Cove, Russell Island Passage, Sundew Cove, Sunny Bay, and Waterfall Cove). We also visited one new marina, Mill Bay Marina on Vancouver Island.

Below is a map of our stops in the 2023 cruising season. Clicking on one of the “dropped pins” will pull up some information about the stop. At the top right of the map is an icon which will open a separate window that may be easier to navigate.

2023 Cruise Summary

Fortunately, we do not suffer from “Triskaidekaphobia” otherwise we might of skipped this year. The cruise was without mishaps and relaxing.  We changed our fishing strategy by moving the salmon fishing the until the southbound BC portion of the trip.  That freed up days which we spent on additional port days or days at anchor while reducing engine hours and miles traveled.

The cruise was 139 days/138 nights long from Saturday, April 29 until Thursday, September 14.  We spent 84 nights at anchor (61%) and 54 nights at a dock.  Of the nights at anchor, for 46 nights we were the only boat in the anchorage (55%).  During the cruise, we traveled 3023.6 nautical miles and put 510.4 hours on our engine.  We ran our generator 22 times totaling 36 hours.

By coincidence, last year’s cruise, 2022, was also 139 days/138 nights.  Compared to 2022, in 2023 we spent 7 more nights at the dock, 103.2 fewer hours operating the engine, traveled 560 fewer miles and operated the generator 18 additional hours.  These numbers document our slower pace and more time spent on docks or multiple days at anchor.The additional expense from days on the dock is offset by the reduced amount of fuel burned.

We still manage to find new (to us) places to visit and anchor. In 2023 we used 14 new places to anchor (alphabetically –  Baker Cove, Chichagof Village, Dorothy Cove, Fancy Cove, Forit Bay, Kah Shakes Cove, Kinahan Islands, Lake Anna, Luck Dragon Cove, Otter Cove, Russell Island Passage, Sundew Cove, Sunny Bay, and Waterfall Cove). We also visited one new marina, Mill Bay Marina on Vancouver Island.

Below is a map of our stops in the 2023 cruising season. Clicking on one of the “dropped pins” will pull up some information about the stop. At the top right of the map is an icon which will open a separate window that may be easier to navigate.