Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oh the vagabond life of troglophytes

We're currently in Warm Springs Bay on Baranof Island. Basically the other side of the island from Sitka, Our next destination.
And yes, the warm springs are hot. Just the opposite of some of the hot springs we've found to be just, well, warm. And really really cool, too. Another must see for any itinerary to Alaska's SE.

From Craig, we took an outside-in route around Cape Decision and Cape Chacon to see the lower end of Kuiu (pronunciation anyone?) Island and the wildernesses of Tebenkof Bay. The whales have been fantastic, and we hear the orcas are around, though we haven't seen them, yet.

A hungry humpback thrilled us with gulping herring as we snapped pictures from a respectful distance.  I'd gulp food like that too, if I'd just swum from Hawaii without eating. Hope the Alaska herring food court is well stocked.

A real highlight was running the "Christmas tree route" of El Capitan Passage. Called that because of all the red and green day marks to guide boats away from the rocks everywhere. They dredged a channel 70 feet wide, so you don't want to wander off course a bit.
The entrance to the Pass has a native burial site and it's two guardians. Quite spooky and old.


At the north end of the passage is El Capitan cave, the deepest and largest in Alaska.
The US Forest Service does interpretive cave tours complete with helmets and headlamps. they opened the "Bat Cave" door to let us in.
Not sure if it was to keep people out, or the cave monster in... After the tour, the interpreter called us new troglophytes. Better that troglodites, I suppose.
Anyway it was cool. No albino cave lizards, but neat limestone grottos and passages going everywhere. Being map lovers, we could appreciate the effort to make the map - it's a real work of art.

More karst formations on Coronation Island to explore by ourselves, and we spotted our first albatross, not far from here. Several black-footed albatrosses came swooping across wave tops to check us out, and one landed nearby, and we did actually get one blurry shot with the video camera. Or it could be Nessie. You tell us.

They are incredible birds with 9 foot wingspans.

The outer coast is very wild, with stellar sealions, puffins, and the rest.

Back into the channels, we plan to visit Admiralty Island briefly then run Peril Strait to Sitka for the 4th of July. With luck we'll find a parking space.


  1. Ah, we sailed that area with friends 2 years ago. I think it's pronounced "quee-you." A float plane picked us up in Tebenkoff and flew us back to civilization in Sitka. The coast south of Sitka looks like great exploring. Our friends Doug and Ellen on Seabird (a 38-foot center cockpit sailboat) are sailing that same area (all around Baranof and to Sitka) some time this summer. Maybe you'll see them. I sent them your blog link last spring.

  2. What a great photo!! Lots of water running and what fun!! We are finally back on the water, blog & heading to British Columbia. We think of you fonding and wish we were heading to Alaska but will enjoy our cruising in Canada.... Have fun and look forward to our next time together....
    John and Daleen Hugs to Mo and scratches to Chance....

  3. Hi Corrine, we see their boat. Will go over and introduce ourselves. Fun.