All you sailboat racers out there will find this Race to Alaska event enthralling… and if you’re not a racing enthusiast then it’s an emotional story of tears, triumph and tribulation set against truly adverse conditions to test even the toughest sailors regardless of their ability…
“Do we Brits need to carry a gun? It’s totally alien for us to be armed but the locals here in Hoonah say we are crazy. Not only can we not protect ourselves if we hang out down in Eight Fathom Bight but how have we managed to sail all the way from England without weapons. What about all the other remote bays we’ve anchored in? How do we feel safe? We reply that we’ve never encountered any situation when we’ve felt we’ve needed weapons… and we wouldn’t know how to use them anyhow.” Dave
The standup arguments we have are always friendly enough but most Americans we’ve encountered just don’t understand how we cannot contemplate carrying weapons onboard Sänna. Of course, such discussions are primarily with white, middle-Americans… the regular American guy, but here in Hoonah we’ve been taken to task by a few women too… not the local Tlingit people let me tell you but, well, you know, those more affluent type who somehow feel there’s a threat, the ones who need to carry at least small handgun in their glove compartment ‘just in case’…
“The general rule is, if it’s a black bear try to fight back but if it’s a brown bear then hit the ground and play dead. So, remember this if attacked by a bear… ‘Brown go down, black fight back’. Of course, the chances are that you won’t survive in either case but bears are rarely predatory, you’re in their territory and they see you as the threat. Which in most cases is true, in many instances bears are simply shot dead for being where they at the wrong time – as a wrongly perceived threat.” Bear Attacks of Canada
Henry has now joined us onboard Sänna whilst in Sitka and he’s so pleased to be finally out of school for the summer. Braden, our good friend from the fishing boat Icy Queen also stopped by in Sitka to stock us with fresh halibut and he told us the Coho salmon were now arriving in large numbers before heading up the creeks. So Henry and I fished with a fly reel off the head of the Baranoff River and caught ourselves a large Coho for dinner. The bears are gathering beside the creeks for their annual salmon feast so our exciting project can finally get underway…
“We thought our voyage north, back to Alaska, would be a cinch. A straightforward journey under sail along the Pacific west coast of Vancouver Island to Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island, taking us to the wonderful harbour of Sitka on remote Baranoff Island. The whole thing turned into a wild adventure we hadn’t reckoned with at all…” Dave.
Leaving Anacortes in Washington State after a fairly benign winter and a new engine transmission gear box meant saying goodbye to our good friends Tom and Donna. At first we couldn’t decide where to head but Alaska again toyed with our hearts – and we needed to be further north if our Northwest Passage plans were not to change for the second time. Being in the south, in the lower forty eight States wasn’t for us… the majority of boaters were of the more monied Seattle type with monster luxury motor cruisers that seem to be used only once in a while for, well, you know, sporty weekends and that sort of thing. No hardcore fishermen with their tough working boats here and not too many wild sailors around either…
“Our good friend Ken onboard Island Rover said we’d need to penetrate the ice-flows calving from the John Hopkins Glacier if we wanted to somehow reach the huge Marjorie Glacier. He said it wouldn’t be easy. It wasn’t easy, but we did it, we did it by following the National Geographic vessel Sea Bird which cut a convenient path for us through the pack-ice. Once through this frozen barrier an incredible world opened up; we were all alone in this wild wilderness.”
We’ve produced a five minute video trailer of our sailing adventure from Hoonah on remote Chigacoff Island to the depths of Glacier Bay. We were joined by our best friend and step-brother Gary Cole who assisted in the filming of our amazing voyage… it’s a fascinating insight into wild Alaska.
Our full thirty minute long production will be released shortly. Please view our trailer for ‘FINDING ALASKA’… and please don’t forget to add your YouTube ‘Like’. You can also subscribe (free) to our newly launched SV Sänna YouTube Channel.
We have a series of video productions in the making, each detailing our liveaboard experience whilst in Alaska and British Columbia. These include ‘Bear Hunters of Alaska’, our planned filming this coming year of the extensive grizzly bear population on Chichagof Island and ‘Finding the Aleutians’, recording our anticipated voyage to the extremely remote Alaskan Aleutian Islands as we head north to the Arctics’ Northwest Passage.
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