Captain’s Log: Juneau, Alaska to Sitka, Alaska
Saturday May 14th
On a beautiful sunny afternoon in Juneau, the Vazales family and friends arrived at 1430 and were welcomed aboard and shown their cabins. After a safety orientation and crew introductions, dock lines were slipped and we headed south down Stephens passage bound for Endicott Arm. During the 40 nautical mile run down to the anchorage, 11 humpback whales were spotted in a number of different spots as we worked our way south. Endicott arm was entered at 1900 and the anchor dropped at 2050 just before sundown in Sanford Cove setting the Liseron up for an early morning run up the fjord to Dawes Glacier.
Sunday May 15th
The crew awoke early and hauled backed the anchor at 0620 for the long run of 25 nautical miles up the fjord to the glacier. Another beautiful sunny morning with perfect conditions for glacier day. An easy run up the arm with less ice than usual, and the anchor was dropped in North Dawes Inlet after breakfast. We launched our 4 skiffs and loaded up all of our guests and sent them off for the remaining leg and tour of the upper arm. A black bear and her cubs were spotted on the way up, and all skiffs enjoyed a nice morning of calving glaciers and skiff touring. After all skiffs were recovered back aboard the Liseron, we headed out the fjord for a quick anchorage for halibut fishing and hiking on Harbor Island at the mouth of Endicott Arm in the afternoon. With only a few minutes remaining of fishing, Ryan was able to hook into a nicely sized 42 inch halibut! After hauling back the anchor before dinner, we headed down towards Gambier Bay for the evening and we were able to witness a spectacular display of breaching by a humpback whale (including a 180 degree breach off our stern!) as we worked our way south against a heavy southerly headwind. With developing weather and an approaching low pressure system in the forecast, the Liseron dropped anchor in Snug Harbor in Gambier Bay to ensure a safe and quiet anchorage.
Saook Graduation Dinner
Monday May 16th
The crew awoke early at 0600 and launched 7 kayaks for an early morning activity, with 12 guests getting out on the water for a pre-breakfast kayak. We hauled anchor at breakfast and motored down to Security Bay, dropping the hook by lunch time. Another afternoon of halibut fishing and hiking, including spotting a number of sea otters and bald eagles. At dinner, the Liseron motored up Chatham Strait to stay ahead of the weather and were secure in Kelp Bay by 2200. A windy night was spent at anchorage as the low pressure system continued to affect the panhandle.
Tuesday May 17th
The Liseron awoke to sustained heavy winds and rainy weather, and after investigating an anchorage in the middle arm of Kelp Bay, we decided to move north to Peril Strait for more protected waters and calmer conditions. We dropped anchor in beautiful Saook Bay on northern Baranof Island which set us up for a nice sheltered anchorage and a calm evening. Almost the entire ships company went ashore for stream fishing and hiking in the afternoon, and 6 crab pots were dropped on the way in for an overnight soak. A wonderful day of fly-fishing and spin-casting ensued, as our 14 anglers were able to catch and release 49 Dolly Varden, the most successful day I had ever seen on that stream! Upon returning to the ship, the Vazales family enjoyed a wonderful dinner of Ryan’s freshly caught halibut and spent the evening celebrating their daughter Kiira’s graduation from college this week.
Wednesday May 18th
The Liseron awoke to another misty morning in Saook Bay and kayaks and skiffs were launched before breakfast to retrieve the crab pots. A successful haul of 15 Dungeness crabs came up with the traps, with 3 keepers. After breakfast, skiffs were launched for both salmon trolling at the head of the harbor and another party of stream fisherman and hikers were sent ashore. The shore party continued to have good luck, as another 17 Dolly were caught and released. After getting everyone back aboard, the Liseron hauled back the anchor and headed up Peril Strait in the afternoon in order to catch the slack tide at Sergius Narrows at 1549 and work our ways towards Salisbury Sound. The anchor was dropped by late afternoon in snug Kalinin Bay on Kruzof Island. After enjoying the freshly caught Dungeness crab as an appetizer and a lovely duck dinner, the sun finally appeared after a 3 day hiatus and 8 kayaks were launched for a post dinner paddle.
Thursday May 19th
After a calm and peaceful night on the anchor in Kalinin, all skiffs were launched at breakfast as we prepared for a full day of activities. Three skiffs were sent out for salmon trolling in Salisbury Sound and a party was put ashore to hike Sea Lion Cove across to the beach on the Pacific Ocean side of Baranof Island. After a wonderful day of hiking and fishing, everyone was back aboard by dinner and we headed down Neva and Olga Straits on our way to Sitka. After reaching the dock and securing lines after dinner, the entire ship enjoyed a quiet evening of touring the lower deck of the ship and watching a slideshow of the weeks activities in the main salon.
Friday May 20th
An early awakening for a 0400 grab and go breakfast and 0430 disembarkation for Sitka Airport for a 0600 flight to Anchorage.
It was a pleasure to sail and meet the entire Vazales clan and look forward to doing again!
—Captain Kevin Wells