Fun and Fish in Juneau

Airship Goes to Alaska

Yesterday we did a bunch of work at the boat, went up and put some laundry in, and were let in on a great deal to pick up some freshly caught sockeyes for $6/lb (we bought two, about 10lbs), from Joe the gillnetter here at the dock. He sends most of his fish straight to Seattle, but now we know a guy who knows Joe and got to be part of the "bro deal" today:


This is Joe. He looks just very much like Sam Elliot:


We picked up our fish and took them back to Steve's warehouse, where Steve filleted them for us (aka "showed us how it's done") and we vacuum sealed them right there:



Here's today's procurement (along with two nice chunks of halibut from Steve's 125-pounder he caught the day before)! We kept one sockeye filet and one halibut filet out and put the rest into the freezer.


Last night for dinner I made some guacamole and cooked up some black beans while Kevin grilled up the fresh fish for tacos and we had Steve over for dinner to thank him for all of his help (well and just to hang out, because he's cool). We're probably going to stay another day here before heading to Taku Harbor (and, ultimately...sniff sniff...south).

Tomorrow morning we'll take another trip over to the marine supply store and get ourselves outfitted with some halibut rods and a bigger net (we seriously need a bigger net...wait til I show you a photo of what we've been using to bring in fish). Then we may go out on Steve's boat with him later in the day to pull up his halibut skate line...because he invited us to, and it sounds like fun to see how that all works! This is the basic configuration:

Image source.

Residents of Alaska can subsistence fish (fish for personal use or sharing with family) under slightly more relaxed rules and regulations as it relates to fishing methods and the limit of fish you can keep. 

It's interesting...the last time (a week or two ago) when we were in Juneau for a week, we had actually gotten a little bored of Juneau. We'd been doing so much exploration in more remote coves and inlets, and coming to Juneau was mainly (after the first time) to drop off friends or pick up family, provision, get work done with reliable internet, etc. It's one thing to visit a place and just skim the surface (visit some shops, go to the museum, eat at a couple restaurants, try the local beer, ride the tram, do the hike, see the glacier)...all that is great but it only really gives you one interpretation. This time, even with the bit of mechanical stuff and haul and out all, we've met some great people and connected a little more with Juneau, and it's been so enjoyable! 

Dundas Bay and Flynn Cove, AK

Airship Goes to Alaska 


We left Pelican yesterday morning around 7:30am and headed toward Dundas Bay in Glacier Bay National Park. It was sprinkling a little bit, but the sky was clearing and we had a nice view of Brady Glacier underneath a cloud layer as we entered Cross Sound. 



Cross Sound was literally swell-less…just a very slight chop. We made our way into Dundas Bay, an unrestricted part of Glacier Bay National Park that you don’t need a permit for. Since Glacier Bay National Park is about the size of Connecticut (well, most things are up here in Alaska) we decided to save it for another trip, since it's likely we won't have internet in there for a week or so, and we've already asked a lot of our team in the way covering for us while we explore all these remote areas with no internet). We headed for what was recommended as the best anchorage in Dundas Bay, the most NW arm with a view of Brady Glacier:


Yep, I think this’ll do. 

Here's our track from Pelican to the Dundas Bay anchorage (36.2 nautical miles):

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We took a dinghy excursion around to the mouth of the bay and saw tons of otters, sea lions, and lots of wood, but no bears.



More photos from the dinghy excursion around the bay:




The otters are so comic! 


Oops. Sorry to interrupt, guys!


This one used the other one's head to "step up on" to get up higher for a better view. So rude!


Heading back toward Airship (teeny, teeny tiny white dot you probably can't see):


Later in the evening the clouds cleared again and gave us a nice view (as opposed to that earlier, crappier view):


We made dinner (a couple tenderloins and a salad) and watched a movie (Birdman) and got to bed again on the early side. 

This morning the skies were blue as we left our anchorage in Dundas Bay, but there was a bit of fog once we got out of the bay. We took turns taking showers and manning the helm as we motored along and once out in Icy Strait the waters were calm and the skies and seas gorgeous silvers and grays:


Clearing to blue skies (and nothing was done to this photo...this is exactly how it looked in real life):


Jellyfish (also no color enhancement at all):


We anchored for a few hours and fished for halibut, but didn't get any into the boat. We had two hits, but lost them on the way up. We've read more about how to reel in halibut now so maybe next time!

We headed toward Adolphus Point (the place where we saw all the bubble-net feeding humpbacks):


Nearing the point we saw a feisty orca:


And then a few more humpbacks (more of those "too close" humpbacks):


This one had a little notch in his hump. Awwww. :(




We decided to anchor for the night in Flynn Cove instead of going to Hoonah.

Approaching Flynn Cove:


We have enough provisions (veggies, is really what we're talking about here) to last us another night or two so we thought this cove would be fun (since we already spent two nights in Hoonah) before heading into Juneau to refuel and re-provision. We trolled on our way into Flynn Cove and caught a nice coho salmon (27 inches, 7 lbs) just before our anchorage. Woohoo, dinner!


View from Airship:


Dinner was a(nother) risotto with peas and parmesan topped with a grilled coho fillet (two hours, line to dinner plate!). It was delicious! 

Today's track (37 nautical miles). Dundas Bay (L) with Brady Glacier, to Flynn Cove on Chicagof Island (R):

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Tomorrow: more fishing!

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!