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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Leaving Kodiak Behind

Bosun Bird

Nick and Jenny Coghlan
Nick and Jenny on BOSUN BIRD had spent two summers around Kodiak Island and Katmai Park. They told us that typical summer weather was two or three days of easterly weather alternating with a similar period of westerly. They found their cruising plans affected somewhat by the seemingly endless easterlies that had curtailed our expected leisurely wander along the Alaska Peninsula. While our anchorages were scenic and secure, only brief intervals interrupted the ugly weather "outside".

While the winds continued contrarily from the east for a full nine days, we took advantage of a day with slightly lighter winds to reposition ourselves to Anton Larsen Bay at the eastern end of Kupreanof Strait, the channel that separates Kodiak from Afognak Islands. This narrow cleft between the two mountainous islands blocked out all memories of rough ocean waves and entertained us with the antics of numerous sea otters.

Nick and Jenny had kindly provided us with the coordinates of a safe route through the convoluted entrance into a snug landlocked pool in a corner of Anton Larsen Bay - a perfect spot to wait out the last bad weather day before our Gulf of Alaska crossing.

With its entrance well hidden, our little corner of Anton Larsen had the look of a tiny lake in cottage country. There were even a small collection of summer houses on the nearby shores. Our "idle" sunny day was much appreciated. Of course there is always work to do - I emptied, cleaned and reloaded the fridge and changed a desalinator filter while Mary Anne baked a collection of goodies to be consumed during the crossing. Oh, did I mention we were hiding from a gale? Our last night did not disappoint with 40 knots of wind moaning in the rigging and rain hammering on the deck. We were reminded once again how fine it is to be in a safe anchorage rather than at sea when serious weather is about!

Sea otter watching our departure
We departed with winds around 20 knots from the south. This strength of wind is not particularly objectionable but the left-over waves from the gale made it so. To describe the ride as "uncomfortable" would be a gross understatement. But with a much reduced wind stirring up the water, by nightfall the motion had become bearable; by midnight we were motoring through the swell with hardly any wind at all.

High pressure is building into the Gulf over the next day or two and, while it doesn't promise a lot of wind, it should give us gentle weather and a pleasant crossing. With any luck it will last us to Dixon Entrance on the BC Coast.

At 8/17/2014 13:46 (utc) our position was 58°06.02'N 149°23.08'W

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