What's in her name?

What's in her name (Salish Aire)?

from her new home the Salish Sea

Aire as in a melody of song.

Salish + Aire = The melody of the Salish Sea.

Salish Sea:
In the late 1700's Captain George Vancouver wandered around the waters of what are now known as British Columbia, Canada and Washington State, USA. He did the usual 1700's explorer thing and put names he chose on everything he saw. The names stuck and are recognized and used to this day.

New lines were added to Captain Vancouver's charts in 1872 (after a near war with Great Britain over a pig) which made waters on one side of the line Canadian and those on the other side of the line American.

It wasn't until 1988 (officiated in 2009) that someone finally realized that fish and various critters, (to say nothing of the water itself) were never involved in the boundary treaties and really ignored them completely. (This is best illustrated by the problems that Homeland Security has with Canadian Canada Geese and American Canadian Geese - it seems they refuse to carry passports and have been known to poop on the head of any border patrol person who tries to challenge their right to cross the border when and where they choose!) In reality the waters from Olympia to the well up the East side of Vancouver Island are pretty much one ecosystem.

The Coast Salish are the indigenous peoples who live in southwest British Columbia and northwest Washington state along the Salish Sea and share a common linguistic and cultural origin. The Salish Sea is named in honor of the earliest recorded peoples who plied her waters and learned to live in harmony with her.

Monday, September 4, 2017

On to Baranof Island


It seems like a big deal to me to finally see and set foot on Baranof Island. First we have never seen it before.  When we came up this way in 2000 we stays to the east and travelled up to Juneau and then Skagway.  On this trip we are moving to the west to get to our planned new base of Sitka.  Yesterday we saw the island for the first time and were impressed – this is not a hilly little island but rather has glaciated mountains not far from the shore!  We arrived at Baranof Warm Springs after a long day of travel with the final couple of hours being through rough waters.  But I get ahead of myself!

In our last entry we were still in great weather in the northern arm of Behm Canal.  After that the weather started to deteriorate and we have had lots of rain and wind up until today. We got bumped about a bit in 25 kn winds until we worked our way into Meyer’s Chuck. Meyer’s Chuck is a very protected group of coves with a small community tied together with trails and boardwalks.  In 2000 when we were there I wondered if it was on the decline as the trail to the (fairly new) school was overgrown and we never did see any local residents.  The good news is that the community has been spruced up and even has a very nice new community dock.  It looked like most of the seasonal residents had left but there were a few hardy souls still in-chuck and I suspect they live there year round.

Meyer's Chuck

Meyer's Chuck panorama

From Meyer’s Chuck we travelled north through Zimovia Strait to Wrangell where we continued to get rained on. We spent a night in the marina and then headed out in rain and wind the next morning to head north through Wrangell Narrows. 

At the north end of Wrangell Narrows is the very Scandinavian town of Petersburg.  We have been to Petersburg twice, once in 2000 and then again in 2015 for the Nordhavn Rendezvous.  Since we have been giving a lot of consideration to staying in Petersburg both based on our experiences and the blog of Sweet T, a Nordhavn 40, who spent last winter there.  Our conversations with the harbormaster confirmed that they could accommodate us with reasonable rates and good electrical connections.  While we have decided to move on to Sitka for now, their very welcoming approach may well bring us back in the future.


Petersburg 2

While we were in Petersburg we were able to confirm that we have a place to moor in Sitka and so we headed out into gray skies continuing to the west. We spent a long day on the water and pulled into the warm springs cove just before dusk.  The cove is again one of those places that represents the attraction of SE Alaska.  At the head of the cove is a huge waterfall with hundreds of salmon teaming at the bottom waiting for a chance to climb it.  The cabins in the cove are connected by a boardwalk that goes along the foreshore. On the boardwalk is a bath house with three tubs with warm springs water plumbed in for visitors to use.  We used the tubs with light provided by our kerosene lamp until we were warm to the core. When we were walking back to the boat the moon poked out from behind a cloud suggesting better weather for the morning.  We awoke this morning to clear blue skies with light winds.  A couple of black bears were checking out the stuff on the shore at the base of the falls.  After walking the dog and taking a lot of photos we headed north for the next leg of our journey to Sitka which is 20 miles due west or 90 miles by water so it will probably take us two days to get there via Peril Strait.

Our first look at Baranof Island
Baranof Bear

Waterfall and cabins Baranof Warm Springs

Bear checks out the breakfast options along the shore Baranof Warm Springs

One of three natural spring fed hot tubs available to the public

View from the public tubs

Hot tub house along the boardwalk

Very new dock (a bit of a challenge to land the boat due to the very strong current from the falls) 
Last look at our bear friend

Leaving Baranof Warm Springs to travel around the N end of the island to Sitka (only 20 miles away over those mountains)

Boat stuff (after passing the 1000 nm mark):  The boat continues to run well getting about 3 nm / gallon of diesel.  We have only used the generator twice – once to run the watermaker and once when we had issues with the main engine alternator regulator.  We have confirmed (and even have support from experts via the Nordhavn users group) that we can run using our build in regulator if need be without problem although we switched back to the external regulator yesterday after making some minor changes and it seems to be working reliably again.  We now have good data in our fancy electricity monitoring system and are learning how to understand it better which is leading to greater comfort with our energy budgeting strategies.  One thing that has helped a lot was learning to adjust our two inverter/battery chargers so that they draw a much more limited amount of power when we are plugged into low amperage shore connections. At the suggestion of a Nordhavn 40 owner we talked to who also has both hydraulic and passive stabilizers we have tried using the two systems together and are finding them very synergistic in dampening rough motion.  We have now started lowering our outrigger poles daily (as we note that most of the local fishing boats do) before we leave a protected harbor since being on the top deck in rough water is uncomfortable. We keep the paravane “fish” attached and find that we can easily launch them in rough conditions since we only need to go into the protected cockpit. We will need to figure out our longstanding issue with a leak in the upper 1/8th of our large fresh water tank once we get settled in port and create a “permanent” seal for the base of the main radar. This is in addition to normal maintenance stuff after 1000+ nm.. We have been very pleased with most of our decisions such as buying the aluminum hull dingy, buying tough hulled kayaks, going to a newer inverter/charger, etc.. We are still learning to use our HF radio as we now get our weather forecast and some email over it on a regular basis when we are out of cellular range although we still have not been able to demonstrate the phone service connection we subscribe to.  When we were hiking in a cove after having only seen one boat for the day and knowing that no terrestrial radio signals were getting anywhere, I was glad that we have our satellite text option for emergencies.  All and all our planning and preparations have served us well thus far as has Salish Aire herself.


We anchored for one night between Baranof Warm Springs and Sitka in lovely weather. Yesterday we arrived about 11 AM and then took Jarvis on a walk after we figured out which slip is “ours”.  We turned around after walking to St Michael’s by the Sea Episcopal Church where we were able to meet the local priest and her husband and some of the parishioners as they were finishing up their after service social time.  By evening the rain had started to return.

Peril Strait anchorage

This morning it is raining and raining – there is no forest fire concern here as all of the normal rain that usually heads to BC and Washington this time of year is being steered north by the jet stream. So while they complain of hazy skies and too hot record temperatures with records numbers of days without rain we wade about when we walk with the dog or to the grocery store. 

View from last of passage to Sitka

Entering Sitka

Wet rain gear collection from morning walks

Our slip for the next few weeks at Fisherman's Quay

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