Jul

16

Wednesday July 16th @0530, the coffee is on and poured, I have started the fire in the stove to take off the morning chill. It looks like a clear day starting, I’m guessing, there is morning fog…. It isn’t raining at least and the fog is high on the hills so I’m thinking it will burn off fast.  We are at anchor near our northern terminus of the trip and today starts another phase of the voyage; Ben and Kassia come. Ellie is excited, in spite of being displaced out of her cabin.

We parted with Scott, Katherine and Revel 5 days ago in Lagoon Cove. It was great traveling with them, getting them through the Rapids during slack tide, and showing them a few of the favorite spots. Ellie had fun with Katherine for a few movie nights with her. We miss seeing Scott with his baby seat in the bow of the dingy, with Revel signaling the way as he tries to ride him around to get him to sleep. We were with them since the San Juan’s where I brought Scott a starter from Anacortes. In Anacortes our trip started with a three day visit with Claudia and Lyshira where we visited Friday Harbor, to drop off a starter, Stuart Island and Garrison Bay, which I call English Bay, because it is where the English had an occupation during the 1860’s when the Canadian Border was in dispute.

It has been a great two and a half weeks, it seems longer, and I pinch myself whenever I look over and see Becky smiling and working away and when I see Ellie lying on the Settee reading what must be her fifth book. We have had some great evening dingy cruises when we set the crab pots and she has been a lot of fun and is enjoying herself.

For her Birthday the three of us went on a Guided visit and a Jet Boat to Glendale Cove to see the Grizzlies, it was a beautiful Day.

Yesterday we left wonderful and surprising Sointula. Sointula is on Malcolm Island and where the Ellie K was left for a month 5 years ago. I had originally gone there just to have lunch at the Burger Shack for Fish and Chips, but when we got there “Puget Lady” and Tom whom we met in Lagoon Cove was there and we decided to stay because it was laundry day and the moorage was cheap. The marina had bicycles to lend so after lunch the three of us took off on them. This turned out to be a 15-kilometer marathon and in spite of Malcolm Island being flat, we found a large hill that the single speed bikes, and us couldn’t handle. It was an ordeal. After diner I called Tim Motchman, who watched the boat 5 years ago and reconnected with him and his wife. Ellie and I had a great visit and they came down to the boat in the morning to look at our Kayaks. Tim is a renowned wood carver and Shelia is a wonderful Water Color Artist and their home and Garden are a wonderful retreat. The three of us went back after breakfast, so Becky could see their work. The visit with them was a marvelous surprise and I am grateful for their hospitality. The next surprise at Sointula came at the Marine Hardware Store. The three of us drove up on our purple and pink bicycles, with a mission of replacing the prawn trap I lost in Lagoon Cove. The super moons this month, have caused some large tides and it got swept away. Anyway, Andy Anderson was there having some coffee, and when I asked for some leaded line, which they didn’t have, he said he had some over in his shop across the street. Andy is the grandson of an original Finnish Founder of the Island and owns the Marine Railway and Boat works his Grandfather built boats in. It is a Marine Museum of sorts and he showed me the original toolbox his Grandfather brought over from Finland. We had a great talk and when I was leaving he wanted to show me the Railway. There was a boat on it, which I had my eyes fixed on. When I was about to leave I asked to take his picture and then I noticed a nameplate off of the Island Maid II. This was a friend of mines boat, in Portland, and then I remembered that he had bought the boat in Sointula. Sure enough, the same Andy Anderson, small world, then a whole batch of stories started, my patient wife and daughter, I thank you. On to Port McNeil to re-provision and then a slog across the Queen Charlotte Straight with a small taste of an ocean swell and fog for an hour and a half, where I had to dodge a Cruise Ship returning from Alaska; then an afternoon clearing of fog for a view of the Mountains of the Broughtons.

Jul

11

Ellie learning to drive the dingy

Internet access is very limited and very slow so we haven’t had a chance to post until now.

We are currently cruising surrounded by incredible mountain ranges, some with snow some with just beautiful trees.  I don’t think I can imagine any place better then this.  While we had rain and stormy weather the first two days that I was able to join the crew, this morning the sun came out and this is what summer is all about.   Scott and Katherine and their 6 week baby, Revel are great cruising companions.  Scott has a 32ft Nordic tug with a huge salon that is great for gathering for happy hour.  Ellie is learning to drive the dingy by herself but had to be rescued by Scott in his dingy since ours had died while she was out exploring on her own.

Paul is being very patient with me as I continually pepper him with questions regarding boat maintenance and navigation protocols.  The rainy weather also brought some water that had us rolling a bit and it caused a full socket set to break loose and dump all over the engine room.  It is a good thing we all like a good puzzle since putting all the sockets back in the correct order took about an hour.  The other several hours yesterday was spent cracking crab we caught the night before.

We caught some shrimp but they seem to be more scarce this year.  Scott and Katherine will leave us tomorrow as they head back south.  We will really miss them as they are such good company.  In a few days my daughter and her fiancé will join us on our boat so it will be quite cozy with 5 of us on board.  We are looking forward to more fun with them.

Jun

30

You don’t want to breathe bottom paint from a boat!

Paul turned blue even with mask and goggles!

By Becky

This year our adventure started with a complete overhaul of the Ellie K. We pulled her our of the water to scrape, sand and repaint the bottom. I am glad we dont have to do that every year! We also decided to change out batteries, mattresses, bedding, interior decor and upgrade to led light bulbs. Then, while Paul was cleaning the BBQ, we discovered we needed to replace it also. It has been a very busy month and Paul was afraid we would sink the boat with all of the stuff we were loading onto her but we got all tasks done, things stowed causing the usual port list and we are ready for our new adventure! Paul and Ellie headed out together and I will join them soon.

I am so ready to be back on the boat. The Ellie K really is my primary home and I cant wait to get there. I have a peace flow over me just thinking about it.

By Paul

Aug

8

July 30, 2012 – By Becky
This has been a trip that began with learning. The first day I learned that the stove and the cabin heater run off of the engine batteries. I learned that when you turn the house batteries off and then back on an alarm is likely to sound if someone has not disengaged the throttle when they stopped the engine. I learned where the key to the padlock we put on the aft cabin is. I learned how to find the correct bus for the Juneau Costco, Fred Meyer and Mendenhall Glacier. I also was reminded that even though Paul and I both might get frustrated when faced with a difficult situation we are still full of love and respect for each other and can work together to solve a problem when we are many, many miles apart.

Ellie, Paul and I all started the trip feeling a bit worn down. The first day out of Juneau was the first day I wasn’t able to see the tops of the mountains due to low cloud. We sailed out from Juneau just as three huge cruise ships sailed in. Great timing!

God was good to me and gave us amazingly smooth seas. It usually takes me a couple of days to find my sea legs…..and stomach… but today was easy. We had very interesting looking waters and skies and our imaginations had lots of fun describing what we were seeing. Although the first whale we spotted didn’t take any imagination. It was beautiful!

We made it all the way to Hoonah even though we didn’t leave Juneau until at least noon. 67 miles. Tomorrow we head to Glacier Bay where we have a reservation of several days. It is hard having to be on a tight timeline since there are so many little places to stop and explore. It seems a shame to have to hurry by them without at least slowing down but we are so thankful we get to be here!

31-July- 2012 B

Paul
Started the day buying Crabs at The Office Bar in Hoonah, talking with the local Tlinget Ladies and stepping behind a cruise ship tour of some native carvers who are building a 16’ x 32’ Cedar House Panel for the cedar house being built for the NPS in Bartlett Cove. Pressed for time having a slow boat and wanting to cover large distances, we left Honanah at 10:00. Ellie was waiting for Becky and I when we got back to the boat, she is enjoying her aft cabin solitude and sleeping well and late. Disappointed by the rain, made some last minute cell phone calls as I set a course for Point Gustaveous; settled into the southerly swell and watching a few whale spouts in the distance. As we approached Point Aldolphous we saw a number of whales flapping their tails, on their sides and breaching, we had to stop for a few minutes and observe, wonderful. As I lie here tonight in a great secure anchorage, North Sandy Cove, I am amazed at the life we witnessed today. Everywhere today there life we saw Murrelettes, Kittywinks, Gullitmonts, Terns and Gulls. After we made our way into the Park and had our orientation we continued on, with a few more whale sightings and soon we saw our first of a dozen sea otters. The last highlight was South Marble Island which is a Bird Rookery and Stellar Sea Lion Haul Out, we must have see a couple hundred animals as well as about ten Puffins swimming around the boat. That was a nice end to a great day even if it rained most of it still we had sightings of the Mountains shrouded in wisps of clouds with some moments of showing their peaks.

3-August-2012
An early start, trying to make up for the tide fighting rough going of yesterday, we went 55 miles in 10 hours. In Glacier Bay you have to adhere to a mid-channel course in order not to disturb the Humpback Whale near shore feeding. The result of this and our timing had us fighting the peak flood tide and at one time we were down to 0,4 knots over ground. The benefit of this was some great bird watching and the occasional Sea Otter. I was trying to identify a sandpiper,ish, type of bird; so when I called the ranger to check out of the park I asked for their help. It turned out to n=be a Red Necked Phalarope; a new on for me. The bird life in the Park was wonderful and everywhere. We saw large floats of Sea Scooters, Marbled Murrelle, the rare Kittlitzs Murrelet. Our departure was highlighted by a visit from a Crested Puffin. Indeed the trip to Glacier Bay was well worth it; one of those special places with natural wonders and a biological richness that draws a lot of wildlife. Today it is evident, as we slog into 15knot winds and 3’ swells, gone are all the sea birds and the concentration of whales we saw off of Point Aldolphos. None the less we are doing good and I’m pleased to see the 6.7 knots on the read out, even thought the way point 32 miles away started out being 4.5 hours away.

8-August-2012
Oh look it is raining again, Things couldn’t be better however, we are in Petersburg awaiting the tide and will be heading to Anan Creek Bear Observatory. The last few days have been action filled, with 80 mile days and stops in Sitka for two Nights, Baranoff Hot springs and Thomas Bay.
Walking in the rain to the Tottem Park and tales of the Russian Orthadox Settlers and Tlinget Natives. Lots a miles and Fredrick Sound filled wilth Whales. WE got passes to get into Annan Creek Bear Observatory and had to keep Ellie for another day to do it. She is such a pleasure to be with and the three of us are having a blast.

Oct

7

1117 miles on the Ellie K in August. Thanks for your interest. Life is full and wonderful, Becky and I are moving into a new home, I am back to sea next week, just in time for the move. I am a blessed man. Thanks to God and all of you that I can call friends.

The Ellie K is running strong, still turning heads and evolving. It is a little different not living onboard and now living in Portland, but life is good and there are many chapters left for that boat.

Thanks to my Lover and First Mate Becky, for your planning and provisioning and for your attempt in learning your knots and for having the finders and first line always ready. I cherish You.

Thanks to my farmer friends Deb and Jim for giving us a wonderful week and the honor of showing us that you can relax in our presence.

Thanks to Cassie for being a wonderful Step Sister and Daughter and for bringing Ellie safely up to Echo Bay. It was a wonderful two weeks with you.

Thanks to my wonderful daughter Ellie for your humor and flexibility and for moving to the lower cabin every morning while I made coffee.