Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness

Southeast Alaska, May-June 2017


Whale flukesIn my last post about this summer’s sailing (Back to Alaska), I mentioned that we were in Petersburg awaiting parts for our engine. Well, that ended up dragging on for over two weeks! We thought we’d have them in just a few days, but it turned out that they didn’t actually get shipped from the place we’d ordered them until 11 days after we’d placed the order!! That would have been frustrating on its own, but what made it worse was that the merchant kept telling us he had shipped them when in fact he had not, so it was difficult for us to plan. For example, had we known it was going to take so long, we might have jury-rigged something and cruised locally around Petersburg instead of sitting at the dock. Nonetheless, we did manage to make good use of our time in Petersburg. And, as it’s one of the loveliest towns in Southeast Alaska, it wasn’t a bad place to be waiting!

Ill-fated fishing boat in Wrangell Narrows

Ill-fated fishing boat near Petersburg – at least we weren’t this stuck!!

Our first weekend in Petersburg was the annual Viking Fest, celebrating Petersburg’s Norwegian heritage. There was a parade featuring a large model long-ship, a “herring toss” competition (literally throwing a dead herring to your partner), craft and baked-goods market, toy battle-ax toss for the children, and an all-you-can-eat shrimp feed served by Petersburg’s local “Vikings”.

Viking Fest

Ellen and Viking Woman at the shrimp feed (check-out Viking Patriarch at the end of the table – gotta love these outfits!)


In the week after Viking Fest, the weather deteriorated, so we took the opportunity to do our computer work, getting as much done as possible before the sun returned over Memorial Day weekend.

Muskeg walk

Going for a walk in muskeg in the rain


With a high pressure settled over the central Alaskan Panhandle, we played in our dinghy, did a few more hikes (including actually summiting Petersburg Mountain – the snow had melted sufficiently since our earlier attempt), and went fishing (without great success – the salmon have been slow to start running this year and we’re not superb anglers…). Click on any of the images to display a slideshow:

Once our engine parts finally arrived, it was the work of an afternoon to put everything to rights and then we set off early the next morning for a 70-mile motor-sail to Baranof Island – a favorite haunt of ours. The waterfall there was roaring – more water than we’d seen in previous years, mostly on account of it being early June instead of late July when we’ve been there before. We did a little more hiking, a bit of trout-fishing, made a new friend who runs a charter boat, and soaked in the hot springs. Baranof Waterfall

As it was already the second week of June by that point, we left Baranof earlier than we’d have liked and went through Peril Strait to the Pacific over the course of two days. En route, we got a great showing of two humpback whales bubble-net-feeding – they really surprised us when they surfaced right next to Celeste! Bubble-net-feeding whales

And in one of our anchorages, another boat very generously gave us a few of the Dungeness crabs they’d gotten in their traps.

Once through Peril Strait, we set our bow west and headed across the Gulf of Alaska for Prince William Sound. Stayed tuned – hopefully I’ll manage to sort out our pictures and write something up about that before too many more weeks (months?) go by!

15 thoughts on “Southeast Alaska, May-June 2017

  1. Pingback: 2017 in Photos | Gone Floatabout

  2. Pingback: Inside Passage, express style. (September 2017) | Gone Floatabout

  3. Hello Ellen and Seth:
    Very briefly.
    I have recently contacted Platypus Marine asking about the “”Kevlar belt”” you had[have] on Celeste and they were a bit sketchy about the specifics [width, number of layers, weight of cloth, hull prep pre- and post application, etc.] I was wondering if you could supply some more details. I have an elderly wood Walsted sloop [Navarana] at Front Street Shipyard in Belfast Maine having a new deck put on, and am also considering this interesting Kevlar concept for future voyaging projects north. I would be grateful for any information or details.
    Many thanks in advance.
    Best regards,
    PS- I sailed from the Vineyard to the west coast of Greenland aboard Snow Goose with George Moffet in the summer of 1973, so I am quite aware of the importance of protection against growlers & bergy bits, etc…..

    • Hi Peter,
      Thanks for getting in touch. Your voyaging plans (and previous voyages) sound really interesting! I’ll shoot you an email about the work on Celeste.
      All best,

  4. Thanks again. That whale was really cool!

  5. Great post! Glad you finally got underway but it sounds like it wasn’t a bad place to be stranded.

    • It was a pretty good spot, on the whole – lots to do and very walkable, which is important when you don’t have a car!

  6. Sorry to hear all the delays, but I think your readers benefitted. It was a nice little post about a place in the world I have never been, but one I feel a little better able to appreciate now that I live in the PNW. Great photos, especially of the humpbacks!

  7. We are not big on waiting and even less on suppliers feeding us porkies (oops Aussie slang for telling you lies). Love the photos of the Vikings, the mountain views and especially the whales. 😊

  8. Fantastic! Glad your parts finally arrived!

  9. We are not big on waiting… and being fed porkies by suppliers! How annoying for you. Love the pics of the mountain views, the Viking fest and the whales!

    • We’re not big on waiting (or dishonesty…) either, but I suppose it was pretty good place to be stuck on the whole. Viking fest was super fun and all the hiking was great. Glad you liked the whale pictures! Have to do a Critter Post on the humpback whale!