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Juneau to Hoonah

Airship Goes to Alaska


We left Juneau on Saturday morning. Our original thought was to fish a bit and anchor for the night in Oliver Inlet at the north end of Admiralty Island (not a very far cruise). However, we didn't really research it thoroughly until Saturday morning and learned (too late) that this anchorage is one that must be entered at high slack tide only, which was at 8:43am (half an hour from when we read that) or 8:50pm (a little late to be getting into an anchorage so nearby). So we opted to fish a bit longer and then anchor in Admiralty Cove for the night (on our way to Hoonah). We trolled for salmon and managed to get four Cohos onto the boat (we lost two before we got them close enough to net). 


They were about 25, 26, 27, and 28 inches, respectively. This was the biggest one:


We also managed to hook a small halibut, too! Bonus fish!

We anchored easily in Admiralty Cove for the night. As soon as we were set, we got to work filleting and cleaning the fish. I wanted try try filleting a salmon, so I started with the smallest one and worked my way up to the big guy. Turns out I'm a really good fish filleter! We got out the vacuum sealer and portioned the fish out into ~1lb portions, and not counting what we ate for dinner last night, we've got 16 pounds of fresh Coho in the freezer (and a couple pounds of halibut). We set aside one of the salmon bellies and had a little sashimi appetizer, and also separated the roe and put it into a brine to make some Ikura (Japanese caviar).  This is the brine/caviar recipe we used, thanks to Kerri for the recommendation!

I made some more risotto to go with our salmon and we had a delicious (but late) dinner. I already took a photo of the salmon/risotto dish before, but if you missed it, here's a link to the recipe.

Admiralty Cove as the sun was setting:



Here's yesterday's track…about 30 nautical miles (including trolling):

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At the bottom of this map shot, you can see where we ventured in close to the entrance to Oliver Inlet (at low tide). We got a good look at the narrow (shallow) entrance, and the many rocks that bared at low tide (kinda nice to see how it all looked, actually). According to the math, even at low tide yesterday we would have had 8 feet (our boat's draft is 3ft 8in) but it looked a little tricky and we decided it'd be much nicer to have a bit more water under us. Another time.

This morning we were up early and decided to head toward Hoonah. Our route today would take us up into the bottom of Lynn Canal, then into Icy Strait to Hoonah. Today's track (about 51.5 nautical miles):

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We saw a bunch of humpbacks on the way but they weren't very close so we only deviated a short bit to watch them. A guy on the radio said he'd seen a triple breach, but when we saw them they were just hanging near the surface…nothing too exciting. (I know, I sound all "Yawn, more humpbacks" don't I? Sorry!)

The seas picked up a bit in Lynn Canal as we neared Icy Strait, but the waves were mostly on the bow, so not too dramatic. 

We called Sherrie (the Hoonah harbormaster) on the radio and she told us there was plenty of space on the transient dock and to come on in. 

Hoonah is the principal village for the Tlingit who originally settled Glacier Bay, Icy Strait, Cross Sound, and the Outer Coast. The four original Tlingit clans present are: Chookaneidi, T'aakdeintaan, Wooshkeetaan, and Kaagwaantaan. Numerous other clans migrated to or married into the community, as have non-native peoples. The population in Hoonah is around 750, but in the summer can swell to around 1300 depending on fishing, boating, hiking, and hunting conditions.

Passing the cannery on the way into the harbor:



Hoonah Packing Company ("HPC") built in 1912 was one of eight canneries operating in the area during the early twentieth century, representing Hoonah's major industry at the time. HPC was sold several times until coming to be owned by Wards Cove Packing which also owned Hoonah Trading. 

The cemetery on Pitt Island…with both crosses and totems:



Hoonah Harbor:


Here's the marina, looking back toward Airship as we head up to the office (we're in the group of boats on the right side of the waterway, furthest one, facing out):


Sherrie, the harbormaster, gave us a little map and a ton of good tips. The Carver's Den, for instance, (also known as The Huna Tribal House Carving Project) is where carvers are currently working on the house poles, screens and totems that will adorn the Tribal House being constructed in Glacier Bay National Monument. You can go in and watch the carvers and chat with them and ask questions and stuff. They open tomorrow morning at 9am, but also, the cruise ships arrive tomorrow at 9am, so Sherrie recommended we get there right at 9am to have a non cruise ship experience. 

We walked around town a bit and then down to Hoonah Trading Company. This is Hoonah Trading as we passed it coming in:


It's the hardware store, grocery store, everything store. We checked out the hardware store first. We had a short list (Loctite threadlocker, some scissors, a few downrigger parts…don't ask), and we found everything we needed (and things we wanted but hadn't found yet): all the parts we needed for the downrigger except a new weight that we'll get at the marine store tomorrow, some grill wipes, a second muffin tin, and a cool portable Eva-Dry dehumidifier for the bedroom (the E-500). This one doesn't plug in to work like our current one, but instead it's filled with bead things that absorb water. When it's "full" the beads change color to signal to you that it's time to plug it in to renew/recharge it. The beads release their water with the plug in heat (I think) and you're ready to go again. Apparently it can work this way for 10 years. 

Anyway, the hardware part of Hoonah Trading was fabulous. Oh yeah, and when you walk in, you enter through this long long outdoor-ish hallway of stuff that starts as the parking lot and ends at the water. Pretty cool:


The grocery store of Hoonah Trading Co. is equally well-stocked and we found everything on our short list there as well. 

Antlers on the mast of a fish boat:


And you really don't find signs like this in too many places:


We're staying in Hoonah for two nights. The cannery and cannery museum are open tomorrow (as well as the surrounding gift shops…oh hi cruise shippers!), as well as the Carver's Den and the marine store. We plan to do some exploring! 


  1. Wow! What exciting pics. And what an interesting little town.

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