We are beginning our trek south from Alaska but first a couple of more notes about Petersburg, our favorite town in SE.
There was once a tavern in town, well loved by the older residents. It was open from 1910 until about 1951 - "The Bucket of Blood". It is said you could see just about anything there, even if you didn't want to.
The harbormaster's office here has hundreds of black and white photographs of the old fishermen and their boats. As I was studying them I noticed, tacked to the wall among them, a small package of beans. The label read:
Norwegian Bubble Bath
Instructions: Cook and eat one hour before bathing.
Instructions: Cook and eat one hour before bathing.
Just in case you want to try that.
Saturday - July 30: We waited until 12:30 to depart in order to time the currents in Wrangle Narrows to our best advantage. After an uneventful five hours, or so, we pulled up to the dock in front of the Stikine Inn, in Wrangle, where we had dinner and stayed on the dock for the night.
This is Sunday, July 31, our 40th anniversary. Congratulations to us! .We celebrated by pulling away at 08:30, headed for Meyers Chuck, about 7 hours away. There are 21 residents of Meyers Chuck, according to the 2000 census. They have a post office. Mail is picked up at 1:00 PM on Thursdays. When the postal officials first showed up they asked an old fisherman living in a cabin the name of the place. "Chuck" he replied. "Chuck" is a native word meaning small bay or cove. They asked him his name. "Meyer", he said. After negotiating Zimovia Narrows we headed into Earnst Sound in placid water. We could now hear the weather forecast for Dixon Entrance and it looks like a good window is developing for Tuesday/Wednesday. So, we decided to skip Meyers Chuck and keep going to Ketchikan. After a 12 hour day we tied up in the Thomas Basin docks in downtown Ketchikan at 20:00. We will stay Monday night and hope for good water for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Monday afternoon we had drinks and snacks on board with Vic Kuceria, another Krogenite, who lives aboard here in the summer months. He has just published a history of the logging industry in Onalaska, WA. He and Rolynn swapped writer's laments and tips. Nice man and we had a good time.
West from Kah Shakes Cove
Tuesday, AM, the water was great and we set out for Kah Shakes Cove, a midway point on the way to Prince Rupert. Kah Shakes is a skinny entrance but pretty. We enjoyed a calm and quiet afternoon and evening.
Fox Names: Fox island, Fox Cove, Fox Creek, Fox Rock, Fox Point, Fox Lake, Fox Meadow, Fox Mountain, Fox Peak, Fox Bay, Fox Spring. What's with all the "Fox" names in Southeast Alaska?
High fur prices following World War I made raising foxes economically attractive. A new industry was born. Islands were much in demand for use as fox farms because the animals could run free. It was believed that wild animals produced better pelts than pen-raised animals. Blue fox was the species usually raised in Alaska.
During the decade after the war three-fourths of Alaska's fox farms were on Southeast Alaska islands. Nervous and shy, especially in breeding season, the foxes adapted well to the seclusion which islands offered. Nearby canneries provided cheap food in defective cans of salmon and scraps of fish. The animals also preyed on wild birds and their eggs.
Fox-farming did not require much capital. A fox farmer could lease an island from the U.S. Forest Service for as little as $25 a year. One or two pair of faxes was enough to stock an island if the farmer could subsist for two or three years while the brood stock multiplied.
By 1920 many fox farm sites had been leased in the Tongass National Forest. Many fox farm operators built cabins on the islands and lived in them. Others visited the islands only to distribute food and skin their furs. The worldwide economic depression of the 1930s destroyed the fledgling industry when the price of furs dropped. The only thing that remains of the fox farms are the names.
Green Island Light - Dixon Entrance
Wednesday dawned clear and calm when we pulled up at 05:30. We dodged about 30 gill netters as we approached Dixon Entrance. The water was a flat as a mill pond for the entire seven hour trip. After clearing customs we tied up at the Prince Rupert Yacht Club next to Dave and Donna Gibler, aboard "Seacat, another Krogen from Anacortes and Pacific Saphire, Krogenites from Vancouver, BC.. We enjoyed Cow Bay, the old part of Prince Rupert where the marina is located. It is named such because a Swiss dairy farmer shipped in a barge load of dairy cattle about 1916, so cows are the theme. There is Udder Bags (purses), Cowpucccoino's (an excellent coffee shop), The Cow Bay Café, etc. We had dinner with the other Krogenites at the Cow Bay Café. It sits fewer than 20 people so everything is prepared personally by Adrienne, the owner/chef. It was one of the five best restaurant meals we have ever had.
Friday - We were off for Baker Inlet in Grenville Canal, about 5 hours south of Rupert. We (Steve) misread the current tables so we arrived two hours after slack for Watts Narrows, the entrance into Baker. We sat off Watts and checked it out with the binoculars. It was a neap tide and the water did not look too bad so we went through. The channel is wide enough (150') and the shores are steep to, ie, deep right up to the shores. The inflowing current was only about 3 knots so it was easy enough. We put out s shrimp pot on the way in and a crab pot at the head after anchoring. We are only going about 3-4 hours tomorrow so we will leave on the afternoon slack, around 13:00. That gives us a quiet morning and the pots a chance to soak a while.
Fishing Bear - Verney FallsSaturday - We pulled pots on our way out of Baker - only one keeper crab but about 80 nice prawns. Five hours later we parked in Lowe Inlet in front of Verney Falls to watch the bears fish for the Coho heading up stream. There is a sail "boat" anchored here which we saw in Prince Rupert, the "Ethereal" - all 191 feet of her. We saw two plane loads of guests arrive for her later in the PM. Rolynn made prawns alfredo for dinner. Wonderful.
Sunday - pulled up at 7:30 for a flat five hour run to Khutze Inlet in Princes Royal Channel. This is a new spot for us. We dropped pots on the way in and anchored in front of a beautiful waterfall around 14:00. It has no name but it is one of the five nicest falls we have seen with its multiple pools and branches. It could have stared in a movie like Jurassic Park or Shangri-La. It was a warn, beautiful afternoon and evening.
Monday/Tuesday - Got skunked on crabes and caught 200 strange looking "spider shrimp". We've seen a few of these before but never in these numbers. Don't know what the real name is but there is nothing to keep. So,on south down Finlayson Channel, through Jackson Passage and Narrows to Rescue Harbor for the night. Then to Shearwater where we will stay two nights while Rolynn catches up on publishing and marketing work. Weather looks good for a crossing of Queen Charlotte Sound later in the week so we will work farther south to Green Island Anchorage or Fury Cove to set up for a crossing on Friday or Saturday. The next post will be from somewhere in the Broughtons.