Tuesday August 7th
My description of Summer in SE Alaska:
You can see it, on the horizon. Its where you just camped to the South and its up North on the horizon, where you will be in a day or so. You can see the sunshine, its just that you can never get to it. Kind of like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You chase after it, but can never reach it. But If you do get there -(GOLD IT IS!)
10:10 pm. Sitting by my big fire journaling and making sure it will burn late into the night. We are camped on Revi island in the only camp-able spot we could locate. It is on a large cobble strewn spit right next to a game trail that I checked out and there is old bear scat right in the middle of it. The tiny spit has sedge grass and you can see it has been chewed off in places. If not for that, this would be a great place. I built a fire between that trail and the short distance to our tent that we placed between our kayaks. All of our food and garbage is near the trail and we are behind the fire, on the opposite side of this little beach/spit. That’s about all I can think to do. Of course we hardly cooked much and we ate on the opposite side of a big rock on this islet which is attached to the spit to hide the smell of cooked food. This should be our last night having to deal with big animal predators. Tomorrow is an island on a black sand beach 6 miles from Ketchikan. (I think it’s an island.) Looking forward to not having to deal with all these predators, it’s a pain.
I cooked up some coke colored water we collected at a stream on the fire and added Castile soap so we both had a warm fresh water chamois bath next to this fire. Traci is great about collecting and purifying water. We always have had an ample supply on this journey. Its all these little things you do when camping that make it comfortable and keep your energy up. Like nice fires, bathing, having plenty of fresh water, setting up a comfortable and secure camp, keeping all your gear as dry and maintained as you can.
Tonight I found a new use for my favorite algae, fucus. In order to set up as secure of a site as we could, the tent area was covered in large cobble stone. We had to move some rocks and I piled up washed up fucus on top of the area. Then Traci put down her big blue tarp, folded up to make a very comfortable tent pad on the shale and cobble between our kayaks that we have resting on beach logs. Fucus has many uses. For example; I have not used toilet paper in weeks as fucus is much better. Its the best for washing out your bowl and cook pot, hands as well and now….A great cushion for our tent.
Today we passed the 800 mile mark. We are less than 20 miles from Ketchikan. I trolled for many hours today and only caught a small black mouth. I let it go of course. I had a hit that broke off my new hook and I never felt it. So I trolled with my small buzz bomb. I set up a new hoochie tonight on my favorite salmon killer spoon. So tomorrow I hope to net my first big Alaskan salmon. Oh yea, I let another rock fish go that hit my line when it sank. Most of our paddling today was off shore and across bays in choppy following winds in the morning 1 – 2 foot SW, then it calmed down when the current shifted in the late afternoon.
Mile 813, Cove Point
Conditions: cool, grey, light rain at times, S/SE/SW variable wind, high 50s; barometer ???
Lovely summer evening last night with a bonfire. Colors fading into the muted blues and greys of evening, with the warm glow of the fire were beautiful. Forecast for rain coming in though; we sea gypsies will proceed in the morning.
A bit of swell and SW wind greeted us, and we headed north with Tracy fishing. Constant low thrum of boat engines now, we are out of the wilderness. Conditions calming as we go north and stop for lunch at the Slate Islands. Shortly thereafter we cut across Behm Channel for Point Alava. We see one semi-likely beach, but we prefer islands and peninsulas, and with a slight assist in the current we keep going. Lucky Cove, but not so lucky for campsites. The last spot we visit though has a stream, so I collected four liters of coca-cola coloured water. Not sure if we’ll drink this; probably heat it up for a fresh water bath. On to Cove Point/Cone Island, passing a few purse seiners. All the other fishing boats have been gillnetters, so this is a little different.
Not much in the way of campsites at Cone Point either, but we’re not going any farther, so we make do with a spit of land above high tide. We discover a trail though, with bear scat at the center. Crap. Oh yes, crap. It’s not fresh, but it is present. Clearly the bear has come here to eat the sedges. We quickly revise our camping scenario – food and garbage by the trail, tent between the boats on the opposite side. After tossing rocks and filling the low spots with fucus (Tracy’s favorite algae), and laying down the tarp, we make a surprisingly comfortable tent site.
Tracy built a toasty fire between us and the food, and we thankfully slept the night away uneventfully.