Today we continue our transit south on the Inside Passage. Our final destination will be Sidney, British Columbia about 800 miles away. We plan on spending about a month exploring the many anchorages and small towns along the route. This will be our fourth time transiting the Inside Passage. We are usually in a hurry to get either north or south. This time we have no rush.
The Inside Passage extends more than 1000 miles officially starting in Olympia, Washington and ending in Skagway, Alaska. We will weave our way though a network of channels along the Pacific Northwest Coast as we work our way south mostly protected from the wind and waves of the Pacific Ocean. We will have two open water crossings to deal with, Dixon Entrance and Cape Caution. Good weather will be needed for both of these passages.
We exit the Wrangell Harbor breakwater at first light saying goodbye to our friends Sunchaser and Rhapsody. They will be continuing north to Petersburg but we should see them later this fall in Sidney,BC. Sumner Strait is calm today with low overhanging clouds. Stikine Strait on the east side of Zarembo Island brings us south to Clarence Strait, a busy shipping channel north of Ketchikan. Today however we have it to ourselves and see only a few fishing boats and no wildlife.
We stop for the evening at a small fishing village, Coffman Cove, on the east side of Prince of Whales Island. We are lucky to find a space available on their transient dock. It is a small community of about 200 people. A half dozen fishing lodges provide most of the summer traffic. There is a Post Office, general store, hamburger shack, and a huge greenhouse located next to the school. The school currently has only 14 students grades 1-12 and one teacher.
The greenhouse was a project initiated several years ago and is owned by the school system.
It is a fascinating idea of using Gold Fish to help fertilize the plants.
Below is an explanation of this facility.
The next morning we continue another 36 miles down Clarence Strait to the small village of Meyers Chuck.
Chuck is a Chinook word for saltwater lagoon. After World War II, the town was settled by many Scandinavian bachelor fisherman who were used to living on their fishing boats. Many built tiny cabins out of salvaged wood from the island. Motoring cautiously through the small buoy marked entrance, we enter the picturesque tiny oval harbor lined with cabins of all shapes and sizes.
We take a spot at the head of the harbor on the town dock.
There are around 49 homes in Myers Chuck of which only four have year round residents. There is no electricity here. Everyone has generators. There is a gravity fed water system from the lake in back of town. There used to be a general store but it is long gone. The Post Office is across the harbor in a tiny one room cabin and mail service comes once a week via float plane.
Cassy, the Postmistress, also bakes homemade cinnamon rolls for the boaters. She has lived on the island for 54 years. We place our order of a dozen for the next morning delivery to our boat before heading out to explore the village. There is only a foot path which connects all of the homes. The rocky beach at the end of the island is beautiful.
A few of the homes are newly built but most have been here for years and are sturdy basic Alaskan cabins.
They even have their own saw mill to cut wood for the homes.
This morning, Cassy delivers our hot fresh cinnamon rolls at 7 am.
We spend a few minutes chatting with her before pushing away from the docks. She lost her husband over the winter. Apparently he was coming into the harbor thru the back chuck in his small skiff and must have hit a rock and was thrown from the boat. So sad but Cassy seems to be doing really well.
We have a long 84 mile day as we continue south on Clarence Strait to our anchorage for the evening. We bypass Ketchikan as it is just too busy with cruise ships for our liking. There are four cruise ships in port today!
Our anchorage for the evening is Foggy Bay. We have never been here before so are a little nervous about transiting the narrow intricate passage along the rocky coast to the inner anchorage. Plus there are several uncharted rocks that have been reported.
We cautiously work our way in and are rewarded with a beautiful inner harbor which we share with two other sailboats.
Tomorrow we will cross Dixon Entrance and enter Canada. We are hoping for good weather for this open water passage. Thanks for following along.