With the forecasts predicting moderating SE winds, it was time to leave St Paul Island and head out once more into the Bering Sea. So after saying goodbye to all our new friends, we prepared Celeste for departure and cast off the docklines.
As promised, the story resumes! After our whirlwind last day on Unalaska, we finally pulled away from the dock at 9:30PM on June 30 with the sun still golden on the green hills. We were warming up the engine and untying the lines when our friend Josh called across the dock, asking when our departure date would be. “Now!” we shouted back, and a few moments later Celeste was gliding out of her slip and Josh shouted back to us, “Oh, you mean really, really now! Good luck! Look me up if you come back to Unalaska!”
Then we were off, puttering past the familiar sights of the crab fishing boats, the pollock plants, the Russian Orthodox church with its onion domes, and the lovely green mountains – so many of which we’d hiked. We hoisted sail and set Celeste on a course to round the northern headland of Unalaska Bay. It was sad to be leaving behind so many good friends and beautiful familiar places, but new adventures were just over the horizon! Continue reading
The day after our test sail was devoted to provisioning. We have a lot of non-perishable food left from last year, but we wanted to top up on a few things like hot chocolate, cereal, snacks, etc. etc. We also topped up all our diesel jugs, adding 50 gallons to our main tank’s capacity. We took with us our new friends from Japan, a nice couple with whom we’ve been sharing the dock for the last week or so. (I’m writing this on June 30.) They sailed in a few days after our arrival, after a 27 day passage from a small island south of the main Japanese islands. They’re hoping to continue on to Kodiak and further east, so they were provisioning too. We’ve enjoyed spending time with them and sharing the coordinates of our favorite anchorages from sailing out here last year. Continue reading
We’re back on Celeste in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, so stay tuned for updates! We’ve been pretty busy so haven’t prioritized the blog but we’ll try and catch up a bit before we set sail. In the meantime, here’s a good recap of our 2014 voyage on ZEAL Optic’s blog! They’ve chosen some of our favorite photographs, too 🙂
Before we went hiking above King Cove, we had talked to the harbor master and he’d confirmed our supposition that the “light and variable” forecast was unusual for that time of year. None of us thought an opportunity like that would come again that summer/fall, so we planned a direct passage to Unalaska Island, heading out early the next morning (September 2, 2014) in order to catch the tides through Akutan Pass by mid-morning on September 3. Continue reading
Amazingly enough, the forecast for the next few days following our arrival in King Cove and late night with our new friends on the fishing boat was for clear skies and “light and variable” winds. We could even take a day to explore the place before sailing the following morning (September 2) around 4AM. That would time us perfectly for the tidal current in Akutan Pass, the pass into the Bering Sea which Francisco had recommended.
Our passage to King Cove had seen fog, strong winds, light winds, sun, a big volcano, islands, birds, and whales—a wonderful 75 miles! The sea and air were pretty calm as we watched the whales breach in Deer Passage, but then as we turned the corner into King Cove itself the wind began to strengthen, and right from the direction in which we were headed. Continue reading