Prince Rupert to Ketchikan

 

Day 39: July 21--Prince Rupert to Devastation Island--8 miles

Awakened about 8 AM and on water by 9:15AM.  Headed back across to Prince Rupert and walked to Coast Restaurant for breakfast.  Pancakes and Denver omelet enjoyed, especially considering the days ahead.  Stopped and checked email at Visitor's Centre and made phone calls, including Alaska Ferry--no need for reservations ahead.  Then back to Yacht Club, and David fixed paddle grips.  Left town about 1:30 PM.  Paddled around freighter anchored in channel and then on out Vern Passage.  Considered landing to try to find petroglyph The Man Who Fell From Heaven, but decided it was too uncertain as to location.  Current west setting, with light WNW breeze.  Lots of boat traffic--mostly fishing boats, many gill netters.  Had lunch at islet north of Pike Island.  Then on to camp on east side of Devastation Island.  Pebble/sand beach on east side with spot high up for kayak.  Fair amount of surf because of boat wakes and unloaded in a hurry.  Sat on rocks and watched veritable parade of fishing boats returning to Prince Rupert from up coast.  Parade still going on as we write.  Already in tent for the night when we hear human sounding movements/bumps and look out to see young man.  He lives in Prince Rupert and is taking Japanese girlfriend on first kayak trip.  They're looking for campsite about 9:30 PM.  We both felt sorry for her, as she had just arrived from Japan, and his planning seemed so hapless.  They went on towards sand beach on nearby Tugwell Island.  Day mostly cloudy, with some sun by evening.

 

Tugboat near Prince Rupert

 

Moon snail eggs

 

Day 40: July 22--Devastation Island to Melville Island--13 miles

Up about 7 AM.  Enjoyed breakfast watching the parade heading out.  Long carry down to water at low spring tide.  Left about 9:15AM.  Southerly breeze 10-12 knots.  Headed west to Lucy Islands.  Appealing place--nice sand beach between 2 main islands where we stopped for lunch.  Finally eating pilot biscuits we bought in Bella Bella--we have tons of them we've been loading and unloading for weeks now.  At Lucy's watched birds flying up to nesting burrows.  They were mostly black with white patch prominent on wing, bills dark, bright red/orange legs and feet.  Somewhat squat bird.  Then rigged sail and set out toward Melville Island, looking forward to free ride north, but alas, the breeze had decreased and veered to west.  So we proceeded on paddling toward the Dundas Group, with Pearl singing from lyrics printed at library in Prince Rupert.  Stopped about 4 PM to check out possible camp on island off west coast of Melville island and almost stayed, but then decided to look further.  Ended up finding very nice beach mentioned by Kimantas.  Great view west across Hecate Strait/Dixon Entrance.  Mostly cloudy today, but briefly sunny in AM.

 

Lucy Island, Chatham Sound

 

Day 41: July 23--Melville Island to north Dundas Island--24 miles

Woke up 6:30 AM.  Forecast for gale winds from SE.  Decided we could make it to lee side of Dundas Island by time it's really blowing.  Skipped breakfast in order to get on our way.  Overcast and foggy with SE breeze about 10 knots.  Few sprinkles in night.  Both had worried in night about whether kayak was high enough above tide line, and noted in AM that extreme limit of surf wash had come within a few inches of boat, but not reached it.  Loaded near low tide, which was challenging because of rounded rocks and swell/surf action.  Sailed and paddled through fog, often by compass, to Prince Leboo Island.  Passage on east side appeared kelp-choked, so went around the outside.  Large swell and quite rough with much surf and many offshore rocks and boomers.  Glad to get through it and out to deeper water.  Sea otter appeared during this time not more than 1 boat-length away on starboard side.  Looked quite surprised for many seconds before diving.  Went further out from coast (1/2 to 1 mile) where we were able to put sail up again in 10-20 knot SE wind.  Sudden, almost explosive loud sound ahead of us.  Dropped sail instantly to see humpback whale in front of kayak and headed straight for us.  Banged boat hull to be sure it knew we were there.  It dove under us and surfaced behind us.  Very startling encounter--not sure if it was aware of our presence or not.  Off and on rain during morning, intensifying in afternoon, along with wind.  West coast of Dundas Island seemed to go on and on.  Large swell, much surf and boomers in-shore of our course up the coast.  Finally near north end saw 2 fishing boats.  Both took photos of us under sail.  Continued on around NW side of island in lessening swell to Goose Bay.  Then returned to sandy beach about 1-2 miles west of Goose Bay.  Somewhat rough landing because of significant surf, but went fine.  Chopped down devil's club to make camp in increasing rain.  Discovered as the tide went out that there is a major band of rocks across the entrance to our little beach at low tide, so will have to get up early in order to get out of here while the tide is high.  Also feeling like we want to get an early start, since tomorrow is our last major open ocean crossing.

 

Dundas Island, looking north across Dixon Entrance

 

Day 42: July 24--Dundas Island to Foggy Bay--21 miles

Alarm at 3:30 AM.  Waited to hear updated weather report at 4 AM and decided to make crossing.  Overcast and foggy.  Breeze light and variable, mostly south under 10 knots.  Off at 5:30 AM--surf not too bad even though it sounded very loud crashing off rocks during night.  Bits of shell on everything.  Put sail up, but never were able to make use of it.  Paddled for 2-1/2 hours which had us even with Cape Fox.  1-2 meter swell, wind waves small.  Good feeling to be in Alaska.  Stopped at inlet with sand beach.  Tidal overfall ebbing out just north of beach.  David walked up long beach at low tide to forest.  Camp good, but the carry extreme at medium to low tides.  Onward.  Several humpbacks spouting in area--one got fairly close and headed our direction, but then disappeared.  Paddled on to Foggy Bay, arriving about 1 PM.   Checked a couple beaches and settled on second one on south side toward back of bay.  Virtually no surf.  Tent site a little marginal, but otherwise good camp.  David noticed after leaving inlet that hinge on kayak loose--2 rivets broke, probably from corrosion.  Pondering fix much of evening.  Took extended nap after setting up camp and getting lunch.  20-mile day and both tired.  Occasional showers, but drizzle and fog throughout afternoon.  Floatplane and 2 fishing boats in cove just east of us.

 

Foggy Bay, looking north

 

Islet on Revillagigedo Channel

 

Day 43: July 25--Foggy Bay to near Alava Point--20 miles

Up without alarm about 7 AM to sunshine.  Quick breakfast in order to get loaded in time to get out of shallow reefy bay before tide goes out.  Paddled around Foggy Bay--saw nice sand beaches on island on north side of Bay that looked like good camping.  Out in Revillagigedo Channel saw kayakers ahead and eventually caught up with Phil and Apryle who we'd first seen on Kitson Island south of Prince Rupert.  Caught up and paddled with them until we all stopped at beautiful beach on islet for lunch.  Saw about 20 seals on rocks by the island.  Then paddled on alone across entrance of Behm Canal, sailing briefly.  Day had gotten quite warm, both of us paddling in shirt sleeves and David very hot.  Many sandy beaches along mainland coast, but we wanted to put in a few more miles and went on.  Then had more difficulty finding a campsite and settled for one on islet a mile or so west of Pt. Alava with wonderful views across Revillagigedo Channel.  Watched cruise ship Coral Princess exiting Revillagigedo Channel.  Phil and Apryle ended up camping here too and had pleasant evening chatting.

 

Phil and Apryle

 

Looking across Revillagigedo Channel toward Tamgas Mt.

 

 

 

 

Day 44:  July 26--Near Alava Point to 3/4 mile east of Cynthia Island--11 miles

Awake at 6:30 AM.  Had breakfast enjoying views across Revillagigedo Channel to snowy Tamgas Mtn.  Steady stream of boat traffic.  Many purse seiners.  Apryle helped carry boat down to water, which was a huge help since it was an especially driftwood-choked area.  Left about 8:45AM.  Phil and Apryle still packing.  Calm to light and variable wind in AM.  Stopped to watch purse seiner "Legend" haul in catch.  Cable broke, but eventually they got the catch in.  Boisterous, good-natured crew.  Around noon NW wind came up quickly to 15-20 knots with some higher gusts, kicking up short steep waves, whitecaps, making further progress very slow.  Close enough to Ketchikan to pull in radio stations and enjoyed listening to oldies station, including Red Skelton comedy hour and "Blacky" detective story from mid-40's.  Stopped for lunch on rocky islet, then pressed on, paddling slowly into wind for a couple more miles.  Spotted nice gravel beach and David went ashore and found developed camp with 2 campfires still burning under very large tarp.  Decided to look elsewhere.  Found nice spot for camp about 1/2 mile NW of that one.  Dropped everything off on beach and paddled across bay to stream for bathing and laundry.  Had been full week since bathing and felt wonderful to bathe in sunshine and warm temps.  Did a few maintenance items and sorted food.  Now after dinner, still watching constant fishing boat traffic out in channel.

 

Purse seiner pulling up catch of pink salmon in Revillagigedo Channel

 

David cleaning up before going into Ketchikan

 

Day 45: July 27--Ketchikan!--9 miles

Up at 5:30 AM (now on Alaska time) and off by 7:10AM, including breakfast, probably a record for us.  Hoped to beat NW wind.  Went well at first, but at beginning of Tongass Narrows NW wind picked up quickly with gusts to about 25 knots.  Current also against us.  We just crept along with lots of spray and breaking waves.  Often only made about 1/2 knot.  Finally got up to Thomas Basin around 10:30 AM.  After such a battle for the last 2 1/2 hours it was hard to even celebrate properly.  Cleared Customs quickly--nice man with Spanish name was very helpful and tried to give info on town amenities.  Then Pearl stayed with boat at same dock and David went and called Folbot--spoke with Wanda who was only person there and didn't know rivet size needed to repair hinge.  David will call back in AM.  David also went to hardware store and got rivets and rivet gun.  Then we left boat at dock and went to get some lunch.  Ended up at Grizzley Grill, a stand right on the cruise ship dock.  Long wait, somewhat surly service and scads of cruise ship tourists.  Then to IGA grocery store for 1/2 gal of orange juice, as day sunny and about 80 degrees and both of us feeling parched.  Then to library where we each got 15 minutes to check email--not much new.  Contacted Dagmar and Ellen--will see how we interface when we get back to Ketchikan from Misty Fiords.  David called his mom and then we enjoyed a dinner celebration at Chicos--beans, rice and enchiladas with Alaska Amber--all tasted so good.  When we got back to dock, there were Phil and Apryle.  Phil was talking to local fellow named Calvin Preston who invited us all to camp on vacant lot next to his place on Pennock Island across channel from town.  He and his wife Sherry extremely accommodating.  Gave us frozen halibut, smoked salmon and bananas.  Phil and Apyrle arrived later.

 

Calvin and Sherry, who generously allowed us to camp on their property on Pennock Island

 

 

 

Phil and Apryle's sleek boats next to our large double

 

Day 46: July 28--Ketchikan--rest day--2 miles

Good night's sleep despite fair amount of noise from industrial area across Tongass Narrows.  Paddled up against hard wind and current to Thomas Basin.  Tied up at slip in Thomas Basin on Sherry's recommendation.  Called Folbot and got correct rivet size.  By 9:00 AM 3 cruise ships already docked and mobs of tourists everywhere in the old town area.  Many European and Asian passengers as well as American.  Went to Pioneer Cafe for breakfast--got good blueberry pancakes and French toast--lots of locals there.  Walked a couple miles checking out town--hardware and marine supply stores, Tongass supply, which has huge array of gloves and boots.  Also stopped at Forest Service information center for info on Misty Fiords.  Then back to dock where David replaced broken rivets.  Then got groceries and headed back to camp at evening.  Day very warm and sunny again, and wind now dying down some.  Enjoyed chatting with Phil and Apryle as we ate our dinner of pasta and the halibut from Calvin and Sherry.

 

Cruise ship in Ketchikan

Cruise boat tourists watching salmon in Ketchikan Creek