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Airship to Alaska | Day 14 | Khutze Inlet to Hartley Bay

Airship Goes to Alaska 2016

Kevin went out to pull crab traps while I made breakfast. When he got back to Airship, I asked "Did we get anything?" and he replied "Yes?" with kind of a question mark at the end. I went out to the cockpit to see what was up. Turns out we had 5 small Red King Crabs. (We figured that out after a while of digitally leafing through the shellfish guidelines for CA and AK.) 

They were obviously too small, but it was super interesting not to have ANY Dungeness.


Look at the roe this one's got with her!


We put them all back nice and gently. Who knew that Khutze Inlet was full of king crab? I guess we need a crab trap with bigger doors, so the large ones can get in!

We had some breakfast and then headed for Hartley Bay. Oh yeah, one more moon shot from last night in Khutze Bay:


Hartley Bay is a First Nations community, and home to the Gitga'at, which means "People of the Cane." The Gitga'at are members of the Tsimshian nation. About 200 band members live here in Hartley Bay, a community with all wooden boardwalks instead of roads. I don't know if you remember the sinking of the BC Ferry vessel Queen of the North in 2006 (on March 22, with 101 persons aboard, she failed to make a planned course change, ran aground and sank…word was that the captain and co-captain were involved in some, um, compromising positions and perhaps they were neglecting to drive the boat), but we learned this additional bit of information about this accident the other day: The people from Hartley Bay, with their personal watercraft, were the ones who helped rescue the passengers of Queen of the North…they arrived before the Canadian Coast Guard and the whole town and community center was turned into a rescue center, helping keep the survivors warm and fed. The town received the Governor General's Commendation for Outstanding Service on May 3, 2006, for "initiative, selflessness and an extraordinary commitment to the well-being of others" in the rescue; the honor also cites the town's "tremendous spirit and the remarkable example it has set". Pretty cool!

We got to Hartley Bay and were able to get a bit of cell service and internet, so we cranked out some work and a couple of blog posts before going to walk around town a bit.




The docks are government-owned and free, but donations are welcome (the $ goes to the elders). It's a nice system. They've got fuel and water at the fuel dock, and we had no trouble finding some room. 

We had a nice night…visited a bit with the couple on the sailboat across from us, had some leftover crab bisque, and then got to bed fairly early. We'd definitely come back to Hartley Bay. 

Here's today's route (39.8 nautical miles, 5 hours 32 minutes):




  1. I read this whole thing with a HUGE grin on my face! Nicely done!

    • I’m glad, John! I experienced it with a huge (slightly suppressed) grin on my face as I thought about turning it into a blog post. Glad you enjoyed it! πŸ™‚

    • p.s. I didn’t embellish. At all.

  2. Doug Trout Doug Trout

    That post made my day. What a perfect description of the Alaska Cruise ship tourist. It is best to write what you know. Bravo.

    • Thanks Doug! They aren’t ALL like this…but this was a particularly rich example of what a lot of them ARE like. πŸ™‚

  3. GMertl GMertl

    That’s rich, great story! I abhor the cruise ships and this is a major reason why.

  4. Steve Mitchell Steve Mitchell

    I am still laughing out loud reading this. Have been on busses there and heard very similar stories. It’s amazing how brainwashed folks are on cruise ships!

    • Thanks Steve! πŸ™‚ I have to say…it made me really happy (maybe a little TOO happy) to be able to ask “So what all have you guys seen so far in Ketchikan?”

  5. Carol McCreary Carol McCreary

    Hi, We’re cruising to Alaska, too. Just arrived at Port Harvey. Rounded the island, searching for the lodge, hoping it had just not been moved into place yet. What a shock to hear the news when George met us on the dock!!

    Loved your post with the the drone photos. We want to help Gail and George with a blog post about their fine welcome. Okay if I link to your post when I get around to doing on? My blog is

    Carol S/V Aurora

    • Hi Carol,
      Yes, certainly a huge bummer for George and Gail. You’re definitely welcome to link to our post! πŸ™‚ (Sorry for the delayed reply…Misty Fjords is not the best area for internet. Heh.

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