Alaska – First Impressions

We left the tropics and Hawaii in mid-June and arrived in Sitka, Alaska 17 days later. We had a very nice, uneventful passage. We left Hawaii with a trough hanging over Kauai and giving us some SE winds to start. The Pacific High never developed and we kept those SE winds until we were about half-way to Alaska. We spent a couple of days drifting and motoring in the horse latitudes, then the westerlies filled in and we sailed straight for Sitka. A very unusual weather pattern, we sailed a straight line direct from Hawaii to Alaska (after we arrived we heard we got here the day the three-week heat wave ended, probably the same weather anomaly that gave us our straight shot).

The last week or so was interesting. It suddenly got cold. Really cold (for those of us who have been in the tropics for a while). And foggy.  And very calm. Nevertheless, we made good time and got into Sitka just after the Fourth of July holiday. Just as we arrived we got an e-mail from our friend Yann on the Outremer 55 Light Alcyone.  He had been making the passage from Hilo to Victoria at the exact same time! Small world. We didn’t even know he was in this ocean.

Where’s that cruise ship?
Arriving at Sitka
Definitely back in the States

Sitka was a great intro into Alaska. A sleepy little town with everything you need. We stayed a few days but with the transient prices being what they are we couldn’t afford too much more time on the dock, plus we needed to start making our way to Juneau to meet up with Ken and Claudia (Erika’s dad and stepmom). The marina was one of the most substantial we’ve seen with thick sturdy, wide, wooden docks. Maybe the structure is necessary with all the fishing boats tied up. If we do decide to leave our boat in Alaska over the winter this would be a lovely place, however they may not have room for the likes of us. Still lots of other options to explore as we travel south down the Inside Passage.

We walked everywhere and took some very nice strolls through town to sight see. Went to the laundromat, the grocery store, the hardware store to get supplies to install the much anticipated and needed heater! The marine store was so well stocked, I’m guessing to supply the fishing fleet housed in that sturdy marina. It was a charming town where people are clearly taking advantage of summer, with flowers freshly planted every where.

From Sitka we took the Peril Straits path up to Juneau to pick up Ken and Claudia. Below a few of our first impressions/experiences on the way.

Duck racing – $2 on #8 to show in the 4th
Spring has sprung
Civilization’s leftovers – it’s amazing how quickly things come and go up here
Eagle in flight
Community garden at Tenakee Springs
May we pick one of your cabbages?
This is my rock

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