Leaving Little Port Walter, we motor north on Chatham Strait. We detour briefly to explore the narrow fiord of Patterson Bay.
There is very little information about the inlet in our guide books but it looks to have deep water all the way up to its head. It is a beautiful six mile cruise to a wide sweeping meadow at the head of the bay with the 3200 ft. Mt. Cecil looming in the distance. It looks to be a beautiful spot to anchor but with no accurate chart information we will let someone else do the research. It is not a place you would want to run aground. Some charts in these waters date back to the 1860’s.
Continuing north we anchor for the night in Red Bluff Bay. Friends from Petersburg, Dick and Bridget on Frances Stoughton, raft with us for the night. They have been out fishing for King Salmon and give us some good tips for fishing. Being a commercial fisherman in this area for many years, Dick is a wealth of knowledge.
It is a short 21 mile run north the next day to one of our favorite anchorages, Takatz Bay. This landlocked basin is a perfect spot to spend a couple of days waiting out some nasty weather in Chatham Strait. Here we enjoy watching a mom and two cubs as they navigate a low tide exploration of a nearby islet. Other than the three bears not a soul is around. Our time is spent mostly inside as the wether is cold and rainy out. We are hoping for a weather patter shift soon. The weather has not been particularly good this year. We have had rain almost daily for the last month.
After a few days, the seas calm down and we are able to continue our northern cruise down Chatham Strait. Hood Bay is our destination. This is another new anchorage for us. We had reports from Dick and Bridget that the King Salmon fishing was quite good here. A lone humpback is feeding at the entrance. That is a good sign for fishing.
At our anchorage, we find a mooring ball floating in the harbor. We are not sure who it belongs to but it looks sturdy so we ease Idyll Time along side and secure to it. Hopefully no one will come kick us off.
Jeff rigs up our dinghy for trolling with our Scotty down rigger and we head out in search of a king salmon. The three years we have been in Alaska we have never caught a king so our expectations are not too high. After about thirty minutes of trolling, we have a strike but whatever it was gets away. A few minutes later we have another strike. We are more careful with our technique and carefully play the fish so he is tired once he arrives to the boat. This one doesn’t escape us. We have our first King Salmon! King Salmon stamps for out of state residents are $100 per fishing license. And non-residents are only allowed one king per day. Usually they only allow non residents one king per year but due to the low number of boaters this year the state has increased the yearly bag limit to 4 kings. We only purchased one king stamp this year so the one king is all we can catch today. That’s ok! We are very happy with our one fish.
Swanson Harbor at the junction of Chatham Strait, Icy Strait , and the Lynn Canal is our next destination.
The state maintains two 100 ft. floating docks here for boaters to use free of charge. No one is on the float so we take advantage of its use instead of anchoring. It is a beautiful spot with views of the mainland off in the distance.
After setting our two crab pots, we do some exploring ashore. Beach asparagus is growing in a huge swath along the beach . We collect a bucket full of this wild native plant. Although a little salty, we have found it to be very tasty in salads, roasted, or served over fish. It is a great find.
Our crab traps are productive also with another 10 crabs total over the two days we are here. We stay busy cleaning and picking crab while again waiting out some nasty weather. Winds are 30 mph out in the Strait with 6 ft. seas but nice and calm here in the harbor. Conditions should improve tomorrow for our voyage up the Lynn Canal to Haines and Skagway. Thanks for following along.