Good morning Mother Goose! And an early one to you, too.
A five a.m. start but with light enough to see where we’re going. We slip out around the tankers just off from the port and into Dixon Entrance. The waters leaving the harbor are calm, and not much sign yet of the wind that was predicted for later in the morning. Our early start has paid off.
The departure from Prince Rupert is a beautiful start to the day. The sky just awakening in shades of purples and pinks, glassy waters dotted with islands as we pass out of the harbor channel. This morning’s scenery is what the inside passage is renowned for. A few small sport fishing boats out of Prince Rupert have managed to beat us to the day’s start and are setting line in some small coves where we pass.
‘Prepare for the worst, hope for the best’ has been our motto and we seem to get what we wish for. on these crossings. Dixon entrance has a reputation for being a rough passage and while it isn’t flat water, the 10 knot winds and small swell gives us good affirmation that the decision to leave early was a good one, given the 30 knot winds predicted for tomorrow.
The fleet crosses the border designated on our charts entering Alaska. Navigator announces over the radio that their autopilot has gone beserk and that their boat seems to be making a hard turn back towards Prince Rupert…
Safely on the other side of the border does not prove safe. We find ourselves headed for Danger Passage on a minus tide. Oops, turns out this spells danger. Brian advises the fleet not to pay attention to their depth finder, but rather to follow precisely Deceptions route (those pesky depth finders – they just scare folks when there’s no water). Perhaps all those navigational challenges have been leading up to this moment? At any rate, it’s a last chance to test the fleet’s skippers and,of course, this fine fleet floats through.
In Ketchikan we top off fuel tanks, and find our slips amongst the fishing seiners and luxury yachts that comingle in the Harbor. Alan affords our fleet a particular treat in the evening. His cousin is a tug driver, and a colleague is tied up just down the dock from Aquila. He invites the Mother Goose crews over to check it out. We all poke our way down into the engine room where we’re all duly impressed by the engines.
Although downtown Ketchikan is a short bus ride from the marina, the docks feel like the heart of a different side of this city. Salmon fishermen are fixing lines and painting boats in anticipation of the opening of the season while early season yachters walk the docks enjoying the sunny afternoon with a drink in hand. We are in a way residing at the heart of today’s Ketchikan – Salmon capitol of the world.