Saturday, July 03, 2010

Towards Sitka

We made it to Sitka. We'll post some photos soon. The Fourth of July fireworks display was postponed due to rain - go figure. But the waterfight between the Coast Guard and Fire Department is still on.

Scary, though, it feels like we've come home to both of us...

We hiked the Eva Lake Trail and groaned at our stiffness in the morning from the exercise. All 4 miles of it. Sad to admit. Boots and adventurous spirit needed. Looks like there's some trail work planned. That's good. Two of the smaller cruise ships were lined up in the bay to disembark their passengers for this hike, so it is getting hammered by use.

In Whitewater Bay, Mo spotted a treasure in the moss, behind the drift logs. A Japanese glass ball. These are quite coveted by coastal folk, and we've found two in 12 years. Actually three, but the other was just the top of one of the big ones.

A pretty little special thing (or two).

Our passage through Peril Strait was uneventful due to the keen navigation planning of Capt. Monique. Hovering just outside the entrance to the Narrows, Blain caught a 10 pound rockfish that was enjoyed over rice. Here's the recipe:

Rockfish Peril

1-2 skinned and de-boned fillets rockfish, flounder, lingcod, halibut, or cod
2 tbsp mayonnaise
one leek, sliced into thin rings
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or tortilla chip crumbles
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup shreaded parmesan, romano, or grana padano
lemon pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of wasabi powder, or horseradish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 deg. Saute leeks and garlic in oil. Meanwhile, lay filets in a buttered baking dish or breadpan. Mix the mayonaise and seasonings together, then slather over the fish fillets. Sprinkle breadcrumbs or chip crumbles, and grated cheese on top. Cook leeks and garlic until browned slightly, then distribute over the whole thing. Bake for 20-25 minutes. At the last 2 minutes, switch the oven to broil and braize the top, being watchful. Serve over rice pilaf or buttered noodles. Enjoy, and send $10 to Blain.

Here's one more photo from Warm Springs Bay. A friendly fellow cruiser tried to help Chance fetch. Some days, he's not the sharpest dart in the board. But it was a fine "chamber of commerce day", and we all enjoyed the gorgeous sunny bug-free lake.

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.