Thursday June 17 11:50 am. We are docked at the city harbour, Thorne Bay, Alaska.
The current community evolved from a Ketchikan Pulp company’s floating construction camp in 1960and soon became the world’s largest logging camp. Through the “Big time Logging Era” of the 1960s and 70s with up to 600 residents, as the major logging operations shifted to other camps, Thorne Bay’s role shifted to a transportation hub where log rafts were delivered, scaled, graded, sorted and remanufactured. At the heart of this operation was a 47,000 pound grapple which hoisted and later gently returned whole bundles weighing up to 200,000 lbs to and from the salt water. The “Claw” still remains in the City of Thorne Bay.
Incorporated in 1982 as the City of Thorne Bay, the city supposedly had many convenient services. We questioned this, as now within the sleepy town, we find a post office/coffee shop, school, well stocked grocery store, and a small liquor store.
Wayne BBQs lunch as the cruise ships go by.
Then off on the bikes to Wal-Mart – 2 ½ miles up 3 long hills only to ask on our arrival – What was it we came for? Think of something – jeans for $12.00. Too much exercise after sitting doing nothing for days. You know you’re getting old when everything hurts. And what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work. The ride back was a speedy one, with brakes a smoking. Can be a little dangerous peddling your butt around on the very narrow streets of Ketchikan, especially the way Wendy rides a bike! There are three choices, the oncoming vehicle, the mountainside or the beach.
5:00 pm. Enough Shopping as it is Happy Hour on the SV Dilligaf. They had spent the night in Myers Chuck and are re-provisioning for their journey over to the Queen Charlottes. It was so nice to meet them once again in Ketchikan, as we did in May. We traded great Alaska stories.
Sunday June 20 4:45 am. Happy Fathers Day! Steel Eagle departs the bustling city of Ketchikan and slowly weaves her way past the two cruise ships coming in. It’s just another close encounter with big boats. They have the right of way ALL THE TIME!
Our next jump is back across Dixon Entrance and we will run all the way to Prince Rupert if the weather permits. But just in case, we familiarize ourselves with all the bailouts. You have to respect these big bodies of water, even in the good weather of summer. And cross we did all the way back to the welcome feeling of Canada. We had crossed Dixon twice with no more than 10 knots of wind. This goes to prove nothing.....other than the Mikkelsen’s have been 2 times lucky. Our friends Lou and Mary had waited 12 days, a few years ago, for the seas to calm down.
1:00 pm. Only blowing 4 knots out in Chatham Straight and this is good thing for some. As it turns out, the tug pulling his large load of containers has to put on the brakes and change his course, as a sports fisherman has had engine problems. We did a dose -doe with the tug to trade positions and I’ll bet he had a few choice words for the fisherman. He probably wished the fisherman the best of luck... but not in those words.
We put our call into the Canadian Custom Office to see if we are allowed back into the country only to find out, from the gentleman in Ottawa, that we must put in on the dock in Prince Rupert and wait 15 minutes, if no one shows up to check us out, we are free to go.
Prince Rupert. It’s different than when we were here in May, the Prince Rupert Yacht Club has a full house.
6:30 pm. After another long day at sea, we picked Pilsbury Cove, as it is the closest anchorage and would allow us to dingy to town for supplies if needed.
We will stay here a few days. Giving us time to do some work on the Steel Eagle, read, watch movies, and practice our singing as we are the only ones in the anchorage. Our singing sounds pretty good to us but has been described as something of a cross between a Saskatchewan coyote, turkey gobbler and someone using the barf bag on a 747. It never was original but now it’s more like aboriginal.
It’s boat the work never ends!! While awaiting our guest we decide enough work, time for a break so we take the dingy into Prince Rupert for some supplies and on the way out we play cat and mouse with the Norwegian Star that just pulled in to harbor.
Must do some more charting as soon it will be time to head south!