July 25, 2007
Devil's Elbow Forest Service Cabin
Fabulous day today! Perhaps one of the best yet. Covered 15 easy miles thanks to the tidal current. Foggy morning from Pup Island to Entrance Island on compass. Caught the beginning of the flood current into Rocky Pass at 10am. At Entrance Island the fog lifts to reveal a narrow, well marked waterway between Kuiu an Kuprenof Islands. Narrow passes, reefs, islets, rocks, kelp and current. Just enough current to speed us along. No real rapids except right at "The Summit" where the passage is so narrow and shallow it has been dredged to accommodate boats up to 50 feet. It sure would be tight though! We rafted the boats for lunch and ate while drifting along at about two knots!
Saw no one until reaching what the Douglasses call "Baidarka Anchorage". Paddling over to the Lacretia B we chat for a bit with the couple on board. They are about to haul anchor to slip south through a tricky spot, Devil's Elbow, at high water slack. "You came all the way from Glacier Bay in kayaks?! Where's all your gear? And you're going to Bellingham, in kayaks?!" Its awesome to see folks so flabbergasted. They're from Sitka, but have wintered in Bellingham and know our friends Chara and Emmo! Small world. They even offered to send an e-mail to Chara for us to keep her posted on our whereabouts. Three cheers!!
The next kicker of the day is the Forest Service A-frame cabin. Tucked away on an isthmus between two tidal flats it has a cozy downstairs with two double bunks, a large kitchen counter and table with two benches, oil stove for heat and sleeping loft upstairs. Big windows top to bottom front and back, nice view out front over the salt grasses and mud flat. South exposure with a wooden deck and patio and today is a bright sunny day, perfect for drying gear and charging batteries with the solar panels. There is even a nice creek nearby for a quick bath courtesy of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap. Beck is baking biscuits while I write and soak up the sunshine. No bugs either!! How is that possible? Later we take a stroll on the flat and discover he tracks of bear, moose, deer, wolves, and heaps a waterfowl.
We are both ecstatic that we are having this experience together!
July 24, 2007
Frederick Sound is the longest crossing of our trip, 10 miles of wide open water. It is a major thoroughfare for ferries, tugs with barges, fishing boats, and gargantuan, gleaming cruise ships. While the forecast calls for "light winds and seas less than 2 feet" we're still treating it with respect. We've plotted a compass course on the chart, plugged coordinates into the GPS, and we're planning to cross as the tides are changing in order to avoid the worst of any current out there.
Fog is the theme for today. Early this morning we could barely see 1/4 mile. Not exactly great visibility for little kayaks in big water with giant ships. After all, we don't exactly show up on radar. Fortunately, the slack water for today falls in early afternoon which allows us a lazy morning watching the fog lift. Around 11am we push off the beach and say goodbye to our bear-free island campsite.
After about 3.5 hours of continuous paddling we reach the point, butts aching and needing a pee. The rain, real SE Alaska rain, has set in by now as we locate a small pebble beach and step ashore. We groan and stretch, pitch our Megamid tarp shelter and hide out with a thermos of hot tea.
Frederick Sound is behind us and the elements were kind to us; zero wind, seas flat and not much current. It was also nice to find Point Cornwallis exactly where our compass and GPS said it would be! A few miles later we'll camp with some yachties in Honeydew Cove and sleep contentedly.