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Sitka and the Fortress of the Bear

We had a nice breakfast with Sam and Anna in Kalinin Bay on Friday morning and then said goodbye to Safe Harbour as Sam and Anna cruised out toward Peril Strait to the east side of Baranof Island, and we headed south to Sitka. We decided to troll for a bit after leaving the bay and about 10 minutes in, Deke caught a nice coho.



Kevin filleted it for him while we were underway. All that filleting practice is paying off. Look at these beauties!


We arrived at our slip in Eliason Harbor and immediately met our neighbor because Tiffani needed to meet his dogs, pronto. 🙂


We grabbed a cab (Hank’s Cab) and headed for Fortress of the Bear so we could make it before they closed. Fortress of the Bear in Sitka, Alaska is a private, non-profit bear rehabilitation center. They rescue abandoned or sick cubs and bring them back to health and then care for them. The rescue center opened in 2007, and now houses 8 bears. We arrived in Sitka on Friday afternoon and decided that since we hadn’t seen a whole lot of bears over the last two weeks with Tiffani and Deke, we could visit the Fortress of the Bear to get a good close up look at some brown and black bears.

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Pretty cool to see them close up (and not on a trail during a hike). Admission is $10.

After Fortress of the Bear, we stopped at the Alaska Pure Sea Salt Company to get more Alder Smoked Sea Salt (absolutely the best smoked sea salt ever). We also grabbed a bag of their new Vanilla Bean Flake Salt, which is nicely mild and has a great flavor that isn’t desserty at all.

After salt, we stopped in the Sitka Rose Gallery, (the place where we bought a couple Eric Bealer woodcut prints last year). We bought one more Bealer print (Puffins!), and also we found some work by a new artist at the gallery that we really liked (Brenda Schwartz-Yeager), so we bought two of her prints. One on paper, and one printed on aluminum. They are prints from original watercolor paintings on nautical charts. This is the one on paper, called Secluded Harbor:


The chart behind the painting is everywhere we’ve been in SE Alaska. So cool! Here are a couple detail shots:


And here is the one printed on aluminum. This chart shows SE AK, the Gulf, and a bit more, and I can’t remember the title of this one (it’s all wrapped up now). This one’s a little harder to capture in a photo because of the reflective quality of the brushed metal. It’s great in person.


We are (obviously) catching up on blog posts now, as well as a doing bunch of work here in Sitka for a couple days. We were super sad to say goodbye to Tiffani and Deke yesterday morning. 🙁

Today was filled with exciting events like doing laundry, filling our propane, grocery shopping, washing the boat, cleaning the inside of the boat, fueling up, and picking up some more patch glue for any future dinghy repair we might need to do. We got a tear on the starboard side of the Zodiac while in Klag Bay, probably on some submerged metal thing from the mining operation there, so Kevin hightailed it (sagging a bit) back to Airship with Sam following in his dinghy, so we could get it up on the davit to examine the damage. It was about an inch and a half tear. We patched it up and it seems to be holding nicely…after it didn’t hold once…so we’ll keep an eye on it and get more patch glue in case we need it. Fun stuff!

Here’s the route from Kalinin Bay to Sitka (26.7 nautical miles, 4 hours 20 minutes):


I think we’ll head out tomorrow or Tuesday…back up to Peril Strait and out to the east side of Baranof Island.