We make a quick stop at Petro Marine to top off the fuel tanks with 400 gallons of diesel on our way out of Petersburg. As we transit the Narrows into Fredrick Sound, we see the Steller sea lions standing guard in their familiar position on the bell buoy enjoying this beautiful summer day. For this excursion, we really don’t have an agenda. We will be out for the next month exploring new anchorages. The current plan is to circumnavigate Admiralty Island. We will first head south down Chatham Strait and explore Kuiu Island and Tebenkof Bay. We will then continue north up Chatham Strait hopefully trying our luck at some salmon fishing. These plans are not written in stone. Our only schedule is to be back to Petersburg for a haul out on Sept.5th to inspect bottom paint and change zincs.
While in Petersburg, we rented a shelf at Community Cold Storage to store all of our frozen halibut. Now we can fish again. So…we make a brief stop at our lucky fishing hole outside Pybus Bay before heading to our anchorage for the evening. Within 15 minutes, we have a Halibut on the line. This guy fought harder than the previous three. None the less, he was soon harpooned and tied to the swim platform. This one is the biggest of the season measuring 51” and weighing 53 pounds. That is the end of our halibut fishing. We need to save room in the freezer for some salmon! Dinner tonight is grilled halibut. Tomorrow we will continue our journey south as the weather forecast for the next week looks very good.
It is another beautiful day in Alaska as we cross Frederick Sound in route to Kake. On the way, we intercept about 10 Humpbacks feeding. We just purchased a hydrophone and this is the perfect time to give it a try. After shutting down the boat in the mirror calm waters of Frederick Sound , we send the microphone down about 60 feet and listen for any whale like sounds. We hear an outboard motor several miles away. Within a few minutes we have our first whale recordings. The whales are talking! Over the next fifteen minutes we hear several different strange and eerie calls. At times it sounds as if the whales are laughing. We hear several other strange sounds such as a squeaky door and gulping sounds. We had been told that here in Alaska you only hear the whales when bubble net feeding but at least today that was not the case. We just don’t know what it all means but it is fascinating to hear them.
Continuing on, we enter Keku Strait . After securing Idyll Time to the wooden docks in Portage Bay, we set off by foot to explore the Tlingit Village of Kake which is located on the northwestern tip of Kupreanof Island. Most cruisers bypass this small village but we are curious as to what is here. It is a three mile walk into the town. About a mile up the road we stop at the only grocery store on the island to check it out. For a small village, it is pretty well stocked. Continuing our walk towards town, you could imagine at one time the town was prosperous when the now closed cannery was in full swing. It closed in 1977 and along with that went the jobs. Most of the houses are in disrepair and yards cluttered with debris. It is such a contrast to the beauty of the surrounding waters flanked by snowcapped mountain peaks. Other than a tribal coffee shop and small gas station, we see no signs of business activity. A hike up the hill brings us to what Kake proclaims as the worlds tallest totem pole, carved out of a single tree. It’s height is 132 feet. On our way back to the harbor, we stop to sample many of the ripened thimbleberries on broad leaf bushes lining the roadway. They are similar to a raspberry but sweeter.
We enjoy a peaceful evening at the docks as we the only souls around. We are glad to have experienced Kake but it is definitely not a tourist destination.