Leaving Tebenkof Bay, we work our way north up Chatham Strait along the east side of Baranof Island. This area is known as the “Waterfall Coast” due to the large number of waterfalls cascading down from the high mountain peaks. We have another beautiful day on the water enjoying the spectacular vistas of Baranof Island. Our stop for the evening is Warm Springs Bay. We are fortunate to take the last open spot on the 250 ft. long public float. The hot springs here make this a popular stop for both cruisers and fishing boats.
Three huge tubs are available for a private soak at the top of the dock located in a bath house overlooking the harbor. These are clean, immaculately kept, and free for anyone to use. We opt to hike the one mile trail which leads us past several privately owned cabins to the natural hot springs. The three pools which terminate at the top of a waterfall provide outdoor soaking in a beautiful wilderness setting. We find the first two pools scalding hot and almost unbearably with the warm daytime temperatures. The lowest pool, being a littler cooler, provides a nice spot for a soothing bath.
Back at the docks, we meet several nice boaters. Kurt and Tanya on Make Ready give us some great fishing tips. Kurt showed up later at our boat with a gift of two custom made halibut rigs. We repay the kindness with homemade chocolate chip cookies. Our neighbors, Dave and Betsy aboard QB, gave us a sockeye filet and some homemade canned salmon. They also give us some extra dinghy gas as their cruising is ending for the year. We repay their kindness with a much appreciated box of white wine. Although we prefer anchoring out, being at a dock has its distinct advantages and you meet some very wonderful people. We cap off our stay this evening with a soak in the bathhouse tubs. Unlike the natural pools, these have both hot and cold water for custom temperature regulation.
Continuing north along Baranof Island, we travel only ten miles to our next anchorage of beautiful Ell Cove. This small L shaped Cove has room for only four boats but is empty when we arrive. We quickly deploy the dinghy for a three mile trip to the Hidden Falls Fish Hatchery which is just around the corner from the anchorage.
Hidden Falls Hatchery is a nonprofit co-op owned by the local fishermen. They spawn and release Coho, King, and Chum salmon back into these waters. We are free to wander the facility on a self guided tour. It is astounding to see the thousands of fish trying to get up the fish ladder. Just across the retaining pond, several brown bears are happily gorging themselves on these unsuspecting fish. The hatchery strips the roe and sperm from the fish. The carcasses are then sent to Sitka to be processed into fish meal and salmon oil. Thousands of fry are raised in outdoor tanks before being released back into the cove.
With all these salmon around, you would think the fishing would be good. We slowly troll back to ELL Cove but don’t have a single strike. We are still learning the ways of Alaska salmon fishing and are not very adept at catching these migratory fish. In our defense, once the salmon start making their way back to their spawning stream, they are no longer interested in feeding and are only concentrating on spawning before they die. Our tiny cove is now a little crowded with two other boats anchored nearby. All three boats have plenty of swing room and it is a peaceful night at anchor.
We have been having some strange electrical issues aboard Idyll Time over the last few days. They started while on the docks at Warm Springs when our inverter quit working. We switched over to our backup inverter but now the 110 volt circuits periodically trip the breaker. Unsure of what is going on, we are contemplating cutting our trip short and heading back to Petersburg to sort things out. While heading that way, we make a quick phone call to Scotty, our East Coast mechanic and Krogen guru. He gives us several good suggestions to try so we divert and head into Takatz Bay anchorage which is just a few miles away.
Once settled on the hook, we shut both inverters down completely for ten minutes so that the capacitors can bleed down and each unit fully resets. This seems to solve our problem and everything is once again working normally. Thank you Scotty!
Takatz is another beautiful anchorage and we enjoy the day watching a mother bear and three cubs fish just three hundred yards from our boat along with several eagles flying overhead. Tomorrow we will continue our journey north.