Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Petersburg to Ketchikan
I've made it to Ketchikan, with nice weather pushing us along ahead of it. When its sunny out, the wind comes from the northwest, which is delightful and behind us, so we can fly the spinnaker oftenly. But sometimes it breeds trouble. After leaving Petersburg I came to terms with my animal cruelty inside feelings, and I hit a whale. We were sailing along this narrow passage west of Zarembo Island (snow passage) where there were a few scattered individual Humpback Whales feeding, and I guess the boat is quiet enough when sailing that they don't hear us. Anyways, one came up ahead of the boat, and Claire saw it, but I didn't, so I didn't know where it would come up a second time. Claire said it was right in front of the boat, so I got a little worried and told her to hold on to something, in case we hit it. (in which case we would stop abruptly) After about 30 seconds, it came up again, heading strait for us almost, about 20 feet in front of the boat. Just after breating, I think it saw us, now 10 feet away, and made a sudden dive, turning away. It stuck its tail in the air to dive quicker, but in flipping its tail, it slapped the bowsprit a little bit and might have cut itself a little on one of the cables supporting the bowsprit.
I didn't feel anything in the boat, so we didn't hit hard, but I've never been so close to a whale before. I think it was a juvenile, because the tail wasn't wider than about 5 feet, probably more like 4 feet wide.
So I have a stealth boat. Watch out.
Ketchikan is a town that opens for tourists and closes after them, so it doesn't really cater to us at all. Both times I've been here, everything has been closed. But its very warm.
Tomorrow we'll head further south, and in a few days we'll cross Dixon Entrance, the big gash in the coastline that you can see on any map. It lies at the border between US and Canada, so that's how you spot it. There we will have to be on our guard, of course. I had the worst weather of the trip (potentially of my sailing experience) crossing it the first time, so I can only pray for better treatment this time.
And here are some pictures I wanted to upload on the last post, but had crappy internet.
Posted by cdlloyd