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Featured

ADVENTURES

ALASKA: 2015 LEG 6 – RESCUE BAY TO HURRICANE ANCHORAGE

A foggy morning today as we got underway, with the fleet in a tight group and radar spinning comfortingly over our heads. Our streak of nearly a month of incredibly calm weather has continued unbroken for yet another day, and the boats ride stable and flat, rumbling along as if on rails. Past the coasts of Dowager and Lady Douglas Islands, their treetops lost in the gloom, turning again to the south through the confined Reid Passage, slipping behind the windswept profile of Ivory Island, and finally emerging into the waters of the Seaforth Channel.

Here the long swells of the Pacific roll unimpeded past the southern tip of Haida Gwaii far to the west and across the treacherous Hecate Strait before surging into the narrow mouth of the channel, where today they join forces with the outgoing tide to create a heaving swell, and we scramble to stow loose items as the butter dish skitters across the galley counter. For some, it is a welcome change of pace to have the boat move under our feet for a bit, and the enjoyable rolling swell pushes us east, where we turn into the again calm waters of Rait Narrows, a scenic southbound shortcut almost invisible from the north. It is here that we begin to leave the fog and rain behind, and as emerge into the southern reaches of Hunter Channel the sun breaks through the clouds, bathing the islands around us in bright white light. We weave through nameless islands, designated on the chart only by the approximate height of the treetops. The sun becomes warmer and the vegetation of each successive island becomes more gnarled as we wend our way towards the open coastline of Queens Sound.

The waters of the sound roll languidly towards the east, and the some among us yearn for sailboats in the consistent light breeze around Spider Island, but soon enough we are becalmed again as we enter the Hurricane Islands, a group of low profiled islands named for British aircraft of the Second World War. The landscape is evocative of the coasts of Maine, and the twisting channels and sudden shoals in this labyrinth of nearly identical islands make us glad for GPS and chart plotters. It would be all too easy to become disoriented here and wander through the islands, dipping in and out of quiet and nameless bays, and it is a wonder that anyone could chart this archipelago without the benefit of a birds-eye-view! Nonetheless, we find our snug anchorage and with nary a look back, set out in our dinghies to explore the area. Aquila and Deception’s dinghies circumnavigate Spider Island, while Eldean’s explores the inner channels. Mike and Bobbi opt for quieter transportation and glide out of the cove aboard Ajax’s double kayak.

The crew of Ajax comes aboard Deception for a delicious salmon dinner, which with warmth of the sun in the west makes for an enjoyable evening, and all across the cove the clinking of cocktail glasses carries from boat to boat.

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