July 5th, 2017
As has become our custom, we motored out of our anchorage pretty early, departing Kumealon and headed northbound for a long day, partially crossing Dixon Entrance while the weather was expected to be calm. It started out cool and cloudy in the morning, clearing up by the end of the day, a common theme lately.
Once at Dundas Island, we slowed down and did a small amount of fruitless fishing outside Brundige Inlet before we entered the inlet for the night. Entering Brundige we snaked through a tight passage to find the other boats anchored in a very pretty and calm bay with a shallow mud bottom—seemingly perfect. Unfortunately, several crews found that the whole place is infested with biting flies. Several crew were attacked on land when they took their dogs and a few of them had swollen ankles, hands, fingers, and/or eyes as a result. Devon barely made it back into the closed cockpit to spare herself after dropping the anchor. We kept the cockpit enclosed completely and stayed on the boat the rest of the night. Devon played piano in the cockpit after dinner and we went to bed, preparing for the LONG motoring day to Ketchikan the next day. The fleet joke for Brundige was that the reason no one saw any signs of animals on shore was because the bugs ate them all. I realize now that I don’t have even a single photo of Brundige. Oh well.
s/v Mobert’s verdict on Brundige Bay: Beautiful, but not worth the bugs.
About 8am we looked out and saw that the other boats had pulled anchor and made way out of “Bug Bay” to get some fishing in before crossing the remainder of Dixon Entrance toward Ketchikan. We soon pulled anchor and made our way out as well. We decided to just go straight across, skipping the fishing for the day. We motored across in very calm waters, with a few occasional logs to dodge, celebrating briefly when we officially crossed the US/Canada border into Alaska.
We had some cell service intermittently, allowing some catching up on email, and nearer to our destination we had decent enough coverage that I tried to download updates for my Wikipedia server (Kiwix) to resolve some video streaming issues with the TED videos. Unfortunately, the curse of open-source software reared its head in order to get a newer version of Kiwix for the Raspberry Pi I would need to compile it manually. Figuring, “sure why not”, I downloaded the code and started to build it. And then I ran into all sorts of dependency issues, requiring additional downloads, which required additional downloads of their own, and finally got stuck because all of the updates I ended up getting required a newer version of a core module in Linux, that would require compiling and installing a completely new version of linux on the Raspberry Pi. NOT WORTH IT.
A few hours out of Ketchikan I called in to customs with our NEXUS cards and checked in over the phone. They asked that we call when we get tied up in the marina with our location to check us out (if they wanted to at that time).
Once we motored into Tongass Narrows and Ketchikan harbor we saw tons of seaplanes, boats, kayaks, and three BIG cruise ships. We passed the cruise ships closely and tied up in our guest slip at Bar Harbor Marina, calling customs as instructed, who cleared us without a physical visit. Yay for NEXUS!
Eager to get off the boat, we walked up to the harbormaster to check in, walked a couple blocks to the Safeway and hopped on the FREE shuttle bus to go downtown. We wandered around Ketchikan downtown (near the cruise ships) for a couple hours, checking out the boardwalk of shops at Ketchikan Creek, a few totem poles, and then started looking for a place to get a couple happy hour drinks and snacks. We finally settled on pizza, walking down to the waterfront to Fat Stan’s Pizzeria and Sports Bar, expecting very little. Boy, were we surprised! First, it’s an interesting arrangement – they have a little wine shop inside, a small liquor “store”, a bar, and a kitchen. You order your pizza from the kitchen, and pay them there, then you walk to the bar, order your drinks, pay for those, and have a seat at a table. They bring the food and drinks out to your table when ready.
We ordered a 10” combo for ourselves and a 10” Hawaiian for the girls. The pizza was fantastic, and we ended up ordering a third pizza, a meat lover's style, that was just as good. Anyway, we were pleasantly surprised by this spot. I also chatted with the chef a bit who told me he works summers in Ketchikan, then spends his winters travelling around the US in his trailer, sky diving, skiing, or whatever else he can do, then back to Ketchikan in the summer to work.
After dinner, we hopped on the free shuttle back to Safeway and walked back to the boat. We were tired and pretty much went to bed after that.
Tomorrow we have work to do… We need to get the satellite internet/phone (Iridium Pilot) working, secure some bolts on the anchor roller, get groceries, do laundry, and get fishing licenses and some parts from the marine store.