Recent Activities--yes, we left the dock!
Updated: Mar 18, 2021
I thought I would take a moment and share with you a little about what is happening.
First, I love this photo. It shows that there are a variety of things going on, and we just need to work on putting all the pieces together in a way that works for us. This photo—actually it was a video, surprise!—was taken in an attempt to capture the beauty, excitement and energy I feel when I see these birds. They have entertained us all winter as they swim and dive in the harbor. They are here for the smelt that inhabit these waters during the winter season. I heard that the seals would be in the harbor, but common mergansers were a bonus. These birds are very skittish, so I have not been able to get great video from the boat, but, I still absolutely love watching them and get excited when a large flock comes near. They usually travel in groups. You can often see them swimming with their heads down, looking into the water to look for fish. Then they dive, and when one dives, 95% or more dive with them. So, they dive in unison, then they all return to the surface one right after the other. Once they have surfaced they go through a ritual of sitting up and shaking the water from their feathers. Then they continue on their way. Sometimes, when they get spooked, then you hear a rush of wings flapping as they all take off from the water together.
Anyway, back to the picture. What I love about this is that it shows a nice group of the common mergansers swimming along. Then behind them are the seals that make this harbor their hunting grounds. Then you have the snowy breakwater, some actual sunshine peaking through, and the low level clouds. When I took this video, I really did not notice everything here. I really like this.
Last week we found a weather window, combined with a calendar window, to make the short journey to Petersburg. We really have felt dock bound due to weather, appointments or wi-fi commitments. It was a short trip, but the weather has made even short trips a bit challenging when you get one or two days in a week that can be a travel day.
So, we found a day where the winds were pretty settled out. We thought we would go to Petersburg. Jim wanted to share some tips for traveling the Wrangell Narrows on the way there, so we did some filming along the way. The weather was pretty nice, we saw some sunshine and all in all it went well. I must say, however, that it had been a while since we left the dock for any period of time, and I found myself a little anxious the first time out. When we sit at a dock for an extended period of time, you can get lazy and complacent. But after an hour or two, that feeling passed and we had a great passage. Unfortunately, when we called the harbormaster in Petersburg, we learned that they were having a Covid -19 outbreak in town and that pretty much everything was closed. So, my hope of sharing Petersburg with you all was a bust. We pretty much stayed on the boat. Jim picked up some electronics he had ordered from a local vendor, and that was pretty much the extent of our time in Petersburg. We learned they had about 35 cases when we were there (population 3500), and those cases materialized within two or three days. Since then, we learned they have about 62 cases and they are the 4th hotspot in the country of cases per capita. Yikes! So, we stayed until we had a weather day to return to Wrangell.
But all was not lost. The view out the window was different than in the Wrangell Harbor, and that was a nice change. We had a serious weather event the day after we arrived. It essentially snowed all day, and the winds blew about 30 knots. We were happy to be safely tucked in. We had a lot of empathy for the fisherman and the dock crew at Icicle Seafoods. We had a good view of the Icicle Seafood Dock, and watched the Tanner Crab boats offload their catch in all that crazy wind and snow. They had a 6 day season. One of the boats on our dock in Wrangall was fishing for the Tanners and we saw him offload his catch. He has now moved on to the King or Brown Crab, and that fishery is open for 30 days. I chatted with him a bit on the dock after we got back and learned that he caught 6200 pounds of Tanners, where the average boats get about 12,000 lbs. He didn’t mind though, he said he likes to fish close to Wrangell and he likes to fish where there are no other boats. So, he was fine with his catch, and he said the price was good.
After 3 nights in Petersburg, we had a weather window to return, so we headed south down the narrows, for the southbound view. We had quite a surprise on our return trip. We encountered a pod of Orcas in the narrows. There were 5 orcas, and two of them looked to be young. What a surprise! The rest of the return journey was uneventful, and the weather was quite pleasant. Once we got settled back in Wrangell, we had about 5 straight days of wind, rain and snow. We have been working on boat projects, and those are keeping us busy. I will share more next time.
Today is Friday the 5th. We had some big winds last night (up to 35 knots in the harbor) but they were short lived. The next few days look pretty nice, wind wise, so we are going to take off this afternoon and cruise around Wrangell Island until Monday. We need to be back for our next hard appointment, my second Covid shot. After that, we hope to head north for 2-3 weeks. Let’s hope the weather cooperates!