As we work our way out Pybus Bay, a large group of sea otters are lazily bobbing up and down on the surface.
Every year we see the sea otter population increasing in this area. They are very cute but the commercial fishermen despise them. They will eventually wipe out the crab population here as they have done in other parts of SE Alaska. I was able to snap this cute photo of a mom with baby snuggled on her belly.
It’s slack tide so a mandatory stop at our secret halibut hole is made. Like clockwork, we have another halibut on the line within 15 minutes. Reaching the surface and spotting the evil harpoon, he gains renewed energy and makes another dive to the safety of the deep. A few minutes later the line is slack. He has gotten away! Our lucky fishing hole produced but we failed to execute. That’s the luck of fishing.
Today we are exploring a new anchorage on Kuiu Island know as Honeydew Cove. From the charts the somewhat shallow anchorage looks a little intimidating. We ease Idyll Times bow slowly between two massive rocks marking the entrance. Twenty or more Eagles are standing guard.
There is room for only one boat here. We anchor just off a sandy beach in about 30 feet of water with bull kelp marking the shallows. It is a picturesque setting with the beach just yards from the boat.
Beaches like this are rare in Alaska. Our evening is spent watching a black bear cruise up and down the beach munching on sedge grass. No beach combing for us.
NOAA is forecasting 3-4 ft. seas and 20 knot winds in Chatham Strait tomorrow night. We were looking forward to spending a few days at our anchorage here in Honeydew Cove but prudence says we should probably move on to a more protected anchorage. We will look forward to coming back and exploring this area more in the future.
Just outside the anchorage, we have several Humpback whales feeding. We stop at a few spots and try for another halibut. Within 10 minutes we hook up with a nice size one. He makes a good run and is able to shake the hook. That is the second one in two days that we have lost. We do manage to catch a few nice size rock fish.
As we enter Chatham Strait we can see a group of whales bubble net feeding off in the distance. We try to catch up to them but they continue to move off. The hydrophone is deployed but they are too far away and no sounds are recorded.
We cross Chatham Strait to the eastern shore of Baranof Island and enter Red Bluff Bay. The three mile trip up the bay is spectacular with the high peaks of Baranof Island looming overhead. Many massive waterfalls cascade down to the shore.
Halfway in, we pass the site of an old cannery with its ruins scattered on the beach.
We are pleasantly surprised to find the anchorage empty. We have this beautiful spot all to ourselves. During most years, this is a crowded spot with many cruising boats, float planes, and small tour operators competing for space in the anchorage. The Covid virus has certainly impacted the cruising plans for many boaters this year. We keep reminding ourselves how luck we are to have left our boat in Alaska over the winter. Had we taken her back down to Canada we would not even be able to get aboard with the borders closed.
Six bears are grazing in the meadow when we arrive. The kayaks are soon deployed to get a closer look.
We quietly paddle as far as the depth will let us to where a mom and pair of two year old cubs are grazing. We are hoping to not be spotted.
Mom is vigilant and soon our cover is blown and all three bolt for the safety of the woods.
Continuing our kayak around the harbor, we spot two minks swimming along the rocky ledge. They are a bundle of activity and quickly scamper along the shoreline.
Four nights are spent in Red Bluff waiting on weather conditions to improve in Chatham Strait. Between rain showers we set out both our crab and shrimp traps. Crabbing has been good here in the past but this year we have to work really hard to get only 5 crabs over three days. One afternoon we see why. A huge river otter comes cruising through the anchorage and hauls out on the rocky shore. He suddenly disappears below the surface and soon reappears with a huge Dungeness crab. We are competing with an expert. It doesn’t look like he has missed any meals.
With few boaters in the anchorage this year, our pawning prospects seem good. Setting our prawn traps are a little more involved than crabbing. It’s a three mile run each way in the dinghy to the set our traps at the right location. We deploy them in 200-300 feet and let them soak overnight. It takes some effort to haul them back up from these depths as we don’t have a motorized shrimp puller. Our efforts are rewarded with almost 100 nice size spot prawns.
Red Bluff has been a good stop but it is now time to move on for more exploration. Thanks for following along.