22.06.2018

Bears can run

So we dropped the anchor at Terror Bay today and noticed that the cruising guide was right: there are lots of otters here. You can just quietly sit on the boat with the camera in your hand and they will eventually float by. Single, double or in multi-packs. Oh my god they are so cute. When they float in these packs it seems to me that one is on watch and the others are sleeping. On a commando we can't hear all of a sudden all dive away. Soso sweet.
Today is the first day without rain in a while, it feels really good. We did even see the sun- in distance, but it looks like it's clearing up and we might have a sunny day tomorrow so we can finally dry our stuff.

We did a long, exciting walk along the beach shore. At first we came across an eagle pair watching their nest where we took a gazillion pictures and then around the next corner, which we slowly peaked around first to make sure we're not directly running into a bear Marcus spotted a bear further down the beach feeding on something at a dead tree lying there. First we took pictures. Then Marcus wanted to pass by the bear further up the beach, but that sounded too scary for me. So I let out a whistle to let him know we're there since he had not taken notice of us. I was amazed he heard my whistle. He looked up and immediately ran away as fast as he could. Yes, there's no way a human would outrun those cuddly furry things. Boy that poor thing was scared. We came across its footprints further down the beach, boy they were bigger than my feet. Especially wider. Quite impressive. We enjoyed the rest of our walk until we got to the big river which we followed for a bit and them turne
d around. We walked on a bear path I guess which started to lead through higher grass. That seemed to be pushing our luck too much, as we could stumble upon a sleeping/resting bear and just scare him which could make him angry. So we walked back and went home for dinner. That was a really nice long walk and it was not cold at all. It's way warmer on land than on the water, of course.

Heading on to the next anchorage tomorrow and then to the city of Kodiak on Saturday where I might get internet to send some pictures.

19.06.2018

Kukak Bay

We moved on to Kukak Bay, a couple of miles northeast of our last anchorage and right across from Kodiak Island. After breakfast (which by time is usually brunch) we want to go for a walk along the beach knowing this is the time the bears go for a walk.
The weather has not been great the last days as two lows passed through. Out in the strait the sun is shining today, it's overcast here at the anchorage in the fjord as the clouds cling to the mountains. We have a view to an existing glacier, Halo Glacier, which was lit up in blue yesterday. That was a phenomenon I had never seen before. I guess because there was some blue sky behind the glacier and thick clouds towards our direction the blue got reflected onto the glacier. It was soso beautiful. The clouds slowly gave way to some blue sky for a while where the blue was extraordinary intense, maybe because it was mixed with the grey from some of the dissipating clouds. That was the highlight of the last two days. This morning is calm with no wind so far making the water in the bay a flat mirror.

17.06.2018

Geographic Harbor

We arrived here two days ago. We were promised a lot of bears, visible from the boat at land and close. We have seen 4 so far here, and even with my 450mm lens they are small in the picture. But, we have seen some. And I have to admit the weather is not behind us right now, it's raining. It has been since yesterday. Today we moved Alita to a spot where we can see the bear beaches a bit better and saw a mom And its young one. So very cute! Despite the rain we took the Dinghy and went closer, the mud flat however forced us to some distance. The bears seem to only come out at low tide here hoping to find some food at the beach. Haven't seen or caught any Salmon yet. We're short of protein :-). No meat, no fish. Marcus went fishing yesterday, no luck. So we're eating vegetarian. I took a photo of bear mama with grass in her mouth today. So cute.

At least the rain gives me opportunity to work on my photos.
Because of rainy and windy weather we'll be here another 2 days.

15.06.2018

Geographic Bay

The night before we left our last anchorage a Muse (Elk) swam through the bay to the other side. Focussed and chilled. So fun to watch. And that was just after watching a bear touring the beach. We had a 2-day and one night good sail/ motoring north-east from that anchorage to Geographic Harbor, where we are at now and will be for about a week because of weather. This is THE place to watch bears. As we had just dropped anchor a little Dinghy motor boat came with some photographers and their 600 and 800mm lenses on board. Din't know where they are staying over night. But, no bear here so far. Ok, we saw one. As we approached the bay here we had a welcoming by whales and sea otters. So so very cute. It was a bit hazy, but nice weather and we just had a midnight super beautiful sunset in the calmest water. Flat calm, a perfect mirror, which is great if you're anchored underneath high mountains reflecting in the waters....Soso beautiful here. Good night.

13.06.2018

Moving on

We left Fox Bay at 9am this morning and sailed 100nm esst along the beautiful snowy mountain coast. At our anchorage we took the Dinghy ashore and walked a bit. The first thing we saw was bear footprints on the beach. A paw is about my shoe size! A bit scary. We are equipped with a bell (cow bell that my friend gave me when I first left in 2012 that now has a use), bear spray and flares. We also carry emergency kit should we have to stay on land because the bears sleeps at our Dinghy, out Sat Phone and my 7mm neoprene suit + hat + gloved should a bear kill our Dinghy so that I can swim back aboard and get the kajak tor picking up the others. Tomorrow early in the morning we leave this place to sail another 140nm east to "Geographic harbor". This is supposed to be bear heaven. You can sit on the boat and watch bears all day long. We will also walk on land. The bears are used to people there. Unfortunately we will meet the first "land" tourists who a brought there by boat. Because of some bad weather coming up we will be there for about a week, so I finally get a rest. The weather today was gorgeous, though more wind than expected which was good for sailing. Later in the day the clouds started moving in. I guess it can't be sunshine and blue sky the whole time :-)

12.06.2018

Fox Bay

We left Sand Point this morning headed for the mainland only 4nm away and then further to the east. As we motored along it cleared up more and more and the mainland, the western Alaskan Peninsula, revealed its snowy and icy majestic beauty that makes you speechless. I never get tired of this amazing view. As we moved along the mountain chain it was so peaceful, hardly any wind and this flat sea top over a SE swell of about 1m. That made for super photos with Puffins and seagulls and later even whales in the foreground. Words are not enough to describe the beauty. Under way Marcus decided to shorten our travel distance and so we ended up at Fox Bay with a spectacular view from our well protected and green anchorage bay over to snow covered mountain range. And it's just peaceful and quiet. As the name suggests we're supposed to see Foxes here and even wolves. When I saw something walking in the bush out the angle of my eye I wondered that a fox would be that tall until I took a
closer look (with my camera) and found out it was a brown bear!! Oh my god, my first bear in nature!!!
Ah and I forgot: we had our first fresh salmon today, soso good!!! A fisherman gave the fresh caught salomon fillets yesterday. King Salmon, so very good! What a day!

03.06.2018

Day 10

We keep on traveling with changing winds and thus keep reefing the sails in and out. After a decent downwind sail in winds up to 27 knots (6-7Bf) we are back to sail teaser no wind and small wave pushing us around. As of tomorrow noon we'll have two days of strong wind before we have to start the engine again to each Durch Harbour. We're about 120nm west or our Rhump line (ideal course to destination) so that we can sail more downwind in the strong wind period.
It has gotten really cold an humid. Plus we're navigating in dense fog right now so our only eyes is the radar. It has become very moist in the boat with sweat water already in the bilge. With a water temperature of 8deg C (48F) Alita is freezing and has contracted a bit making it a bit harder to open the floor panels as they sit really tight now. The expected water temperature at Alaska is6 deg C, so it does not get much cooler...
Our current position at 01:32 3.6.2018 local time (UTC+10) is
44deg47,2N and 166deg 39,3W

02.06.2018

Day 8 of passage to Alaska

Yesterday started calm and then became very foggy and a bit rough over night. It started in my 6pm shift and calmed down at the end of my 3-6am night shift. After some calm sailing the "roaring fourties" showed us their best and let the engine roar which we had to start at 3pm and has been running ever since. We're again in a high pressure system and will hit a front soon bringing us stronger southerly winds which will then turn into very strong westerlies and then northerly winds ahead of the next low shooting us up to the Aleutians. Not sure yet we make it directly to Dutch Harbor. The northerlies towards the end of the passage might force us to first stop somewhere else. We'll see.
We enjoyed the relaxing day. I was in good mood and made a nice lunch and then baked Brezls that turned out to be my best ever. I habe also already prepared everything for dinner but we're still stuffed up so I haven't cooked it yet. Fresh veggies (yes, I still have some) that will end up as Asian sweet&sour with coconut cream. I will probably cook them around midnight at the end of my shift.
We're almost 2/3rds there!
Current position is 42deg13.75N and 165deg 12.8W

31.05.2018

Excited

Oh I am so excited it'll make it hard for me to write "interesting".

I just took fresh Dark Rye Sourdough bread out of the oven which had been in making process for 35 hours. I so love it when it smells like in a bakery here. So in my midnight nightshift a day ago I started growing the sourdough from my starter that lives in the fridge. One cup of rye and one cup of warm water added to the existing sourdough will produce more of it as long as you let it sit outside for a day. So this night I put some starter aside into the fridge and used the rest to make dough and two smaller loafs of bread from it. I let those two sit and wait for 6 hrs and now in this shift I put them in the oven and just took that yummy fresh bread out. That's what quiet sailing days are for. I am definitely not going to bake bread when it's blowing 30-40 knots.

We're finally back to sailing. Only about 8 knots of wind but enough to keep us going since the waves are not bad. So peaceful and quiet, we all love it a lot. While I was sitting here looking out as I do in my watch I noticed something black in the water. I thought "oh some more trash or a branch" as we're in that area of the ocean where all of that collects. Yes, we do see more here than we did anywhere else. Lots of fishing buoys. So I watched this thing and saw it was kind of lengthy yet it looked rubbery and shiny. Hm, I thought, a bit weird but could only be a small branch. As we passed by in about 50m distance I saw it move. Puzzled I kept on watching it. It couldn't possibly be a snake? Then it turned to the side and I saw a little wing/paw, then its back and finally the little head. It was the first seal for this season! Tiny little seal! Oh my god it made me so happy. There is so much life here, that's so cute. That's why we're always drawn to the cooler waters, the
re's just more going on. Crossing the south pacific there was nothing, not even a bird. Up here, we see dolphins, whales, seals, birds...And whoever passes underneath our boat once in a while as we can dee from the depth sounder who tells us the last measured depth was 7m. Yesterday it was 5.1m. In an ocean 5000m deep. The sounder can only measure up to about 60m. So if a dolphin or seals or whoever passes underneath Alita it will measure that and remember this as it can't measure the 5000m around it. Sweet aye?

Last night was a calm and beautiful night where Marcus and I both said "the ocean smells so nice, so fresh, like cool ocean". That is amazing as usually you don't smell that when you're on the boat, but only if you're in a calm bay. But we were sailing. 1000nm (1852km) away from land. So exciting. I so love days like these. It'll be all calm today, possibly back to motoring, then still calm tomorrow and I guess the last 4-5 days will be the strong wind ones for the final run. So we get to fill up with some energy...

current position

Bord time (UTC+10): 02:09, 31.5.2018
36deg 52N and 163deg 26W