Sucker bucket

It had already been nearly three weeks since we left Juneau. Our fresh foods were long eaten. Same for our milk. However, the bigger concern was that our coffee was worryingly low and our laundry pile was frighteningly high. A reprovision was needed, and the only place nearby to accomplish that was Kake, a small native village which we visited on our way north last year.

Kake was still a long day of sailing away, so we set out early. The forecast warned we would have a strong wind to make the journey. Once we weaved our way out of the small protective islands guarding us from the winds from our previous night anchorage, we were met with the forecasted 20+ knots of wind on our nose. No worries. We know how to do this thing! With sails reefed and sailor garbed in full foulies, we set out to battle the wind and weather. Two hours of hard, wet, rollie, and quite-fun sailing ensued. Meriwether was seriously hauling canoe-shaped-butt through the water. The occasional wind swept wave hitting her quarter and splashing up and over the cockpit, drenching Kerri, who was standing at the helm. She coined the phrase “Sucker Bucket” as the title of the game show that featured being sucker punched by a large amount of sea-water at random times – exactly what she was going through.

While fun for a short time, neither of us wished to spend the rest of the day sailing in those conditions. We would and could if we had to, but we did not. Choosing not to sail sometimes makes a better sailor. So, we tucked into another tiny protected cove (Cannery Cove) along the southern side of Admiralty Island for a night’s rest, and set back out the following – much calmer – day.

We calmly arrived in Kake a few hours later, without welcome of the local harbormaster who did not respond to our hails on the VHF or phone. We knew the harbor well enough to pull in and take up a transient slip and then found out – from our new neighbor – that the only harbormaster in town would not be back for two days and the building was locked. That meant no laundry or shower… ugh! The next morning we set off to the fuel dock to top off that necessity. The fuel delivery kid, who drove a large truck onto the docks, gave us a ride to the single grocery store in town, a mile away, where he waited for us to shop to give us a ride back. We then sailed out of Kake, less than 24 hours after we arrived, and proceeded to have one of our best sails we have ever had.

Wind forecasts in South East Alaska are not to be believed, and this proved true once again this day. There was to be no wind, and we thought we would be motoring for six hours to get to our next point-b. Amazingly, the wind-gods provided us with a gentle 10-knot breeze on our beam (side). It is quite possible that after three years of sailing already, this was our first time ever sailing on a beam-reach. With the current and wind in our favor, and Meriwether’s enthusiasm being on a beam-reach, we chose to ride it all the way to our next destination. 7+ knots of speed over ground, with all three sails full of precious wind, we sailed our exact plotted route without deviation for the first time in our sailing life. Just a straight line going exactly where we wanted to go, for hours and hours with no other boat around but for a single cruise ship which nicely gave way to us seeing all our pearly white sails full. I wish all sails were like this.

We ate our dinner – a hot chicken stew – at sea, just before arriving to a location we knew we would stay for a few days – Baranof Warm Springs. Moments after arriving to the dock the skies opened up with a torrent. Damn good timing. We figured, since we couldn’t get a hot shower in Kake, we would soak in a hot spring that night. A fine plan that continued for three more days. During our stay we would sample each of the three tubs at the top of the dock, as well as the natural spring further up the trail overlooking the crest of the thundering waterfall. We would also get to hang out with a few others on the dock for an evening of dinner and conversation.

Of course, a few days tied to a dock means a few days of projects that can be completed, so I knocked out a big one; mounting our water maker in a cockpit lazarette – that space freed up with this past winter’s battery relocation project. The two pieces are heavy and bulky, taking up much needed space in an increasingly smaller boat over the years. Having the water maker firmly mounted somewhere meant we no longer had to pack them into our quarter-birth after each use, and unpack them each time we wished to make water. This is a game changer – simply unpack the hoses, flip a switch, and we are making water! We are so close to having a useable quarter-birth a opposed to it being full of gear we can find no other place for. So close.

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1 Response

  1. Rob says:

    Alaskan rainbows are amazing!

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