Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Fluenta in the Lookout Newspaper

The newspaper "Lookout" from the local naval base, CFB Esquimalt, interviewed us a few weeks ago interested in how we adapted from our military careers.  The article copied is below and the issue is here.  I really like how they used the photos.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Fluenta and crew in the news

Roxanne Egan-Elliot, the Time Colonist journalist, who interviewed us last Autumn in Alaska asked if she could do a follow up interview with us from the perspective of how we adjusted to returning to Canada and how our experience during the pandemic relates to our experiences traveling by sailboat.

The article is here:  https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/family-that-was-at-sea-for-7-years-has-advice-for-exiting-isolation-1.24137190?fbclid=IwAR3KLCEShMPjGniQXihpdYNumoj-0XaU5KxbB6SzmmJ0laGaMiAAc7uXF94

 The original article from October is here:  https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/after-seven-year-sailing-odyssey-family-heads-back-to-victoria-1.23967730?fbclid=IwAR3UAfNEnE7g7VkQFRAxbwdw389_L6Bm76mzG0-L7lGt4l55ENpOYVDYS4s

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Hot Springs in Warm Springs Bay

Warm Springs Bay with its 100 ft waterfall
By October it was more than late enough to be getting further south.  There was a bit of a break in the weather so we headed towards Warm Spring Bay on Baranof Island.  We have certainly seen lots of whales and dolphins in Alaska, but we were surprised to see two deer crossing a strait as we headed south.  We were also surprised just after sunrise to not just see a log in the water but a whole massive tree with roots and all.  Liz managed to see it in time and maneuver around it.  After this experience, we decided to stick to daylight passages for inshore waters!

Deer crossing.
Apparently Warm Springs Bay is ridiculously busy in the summer - not our kind of place - but it sounded more interesting out of season and it was about as far south as we could get before the weather got nasty.  We arrived in the early morning and found plenty of space on the free and well-maintained dock (there is a fee in-season).  By the end of the next day there were just two yachts but more interestingly there were fishermen avoiding the weather and two boats for the winter caretakers for the village and lodge - all interesting people to get to the know.  The caretakers for the village were possibly too "interesting" and were fired the following week (we actually got an e-mail asking if we would turn around and care-take the village for the winter) but the other couple were absolutely delightful.  We wish we could have spent more time with them: Dave and Anke of SV WAYWARD.  They travel around Alaska in the sail- and oar-powered boat (no engine) David and Anke designed and built, and they are very productive foraging from the land and sea.  We enjoyed their fruit wine and pickled bull kelp.  If you are interested in their travels and their designs you can look here and here.  The fishermen are of course always great folks to be around and as usual we were given fish by the generous fishermen.

Entering Warm Springs Bay in the early morning

Of course, the main attraction of Warm Springs Bay are the hot springs.  There are natural hot springs about 15 minutes walk away.  One of the pools is right beside the raging river which is really nice.  Also, in the village - really more of a collection of summer homes - there is a building with "by donation" single rooms with massive tubs fed by very hot or cold spring water and an open air view over the bay.  Amazing.

Hanging out with fishing boats.

Halibut !

David and Anke's cool SV Wayward

Heading off to the hot springs.  Pretty luxurious hiking with the boardwalk.

Hot springs !

Hot springs by the river.

Family photo by the waterfall.  Rather a damp week.

One of the awesome tubs with a view. (From https://hotspringshunter.com/2015/04/02/baranof-where-my-love-affair-for-natural-hot-springs-all-began/)

The red arrow points to Warm Springs Bay

Warm Springs Bay

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Tracy Arm - More Fluenta and Ice

Lots of ice and great lighting in the early morning.
With my parents visiting we decided we had get out of Juneau and show them (and us !) some of the sites so we did a rather packed trip to Tracy Arm.  We sailed overnight to arrive at the mouth of Tracy Arm at sunrise to give us enough time to transit up the arm and back out again in the daylight.   It was a spectacular trip up Tracy Arm with glistening cliffs and white and blue ice.  The ice was getting too thick by late September so could not make it all the way to the face of the glacier.  We did stop and drifted for awhile with the ice around us to celebrate Victoria's 16th birthday.

As usual, Liz leading us through the obstacles.  Ice rather than reefs this time.
We made it to a nice anchorage at the entrance just before dark.  It was rather chilly the next morning as the "new" heater was acting up again in the 2C weather but once we got underway it was warm again (very glad we put the heat exchanger into the engine circuit so can heat the boat as we motor).  With a sea temperature of 5C the boat cools off quickly.

A calm morning to transit up Tracy Arm
We left with time to arrive back in Auke Bay in daylight but we diverted to watch an amazing display by the humpback whales.  We stopped the boat and a pod of over 12 whales surrounded our drifting boat for an hour or more.  Quite a show !

Birthday Party !

Birthday party with ice.

Another portrait


and more whales

Boom !

Back up the mast, underway this time, to try again to fix the wind sensor.

Monday, 27 April 2020

A Pause in Juneau

The view from the mast top.  Unfortunately the weather was rarely sunny like this !
We arrived into Juneau for a bit of a pause while Liz flew south to Vancouver Island for a reunion with some classmates from Queens University and to try to sort out our marina debacle.  The kids and I focused on homeschooling and catching up with boat maintenance.  The University of Alaska was an easy walk from the boat and they were very welcoming to the kids using the library to work on school.  Towards the end of our time in Juneau my parents flew up for a visit which nicely coincided with Victoria's sixteenth birthday.

On the sunny day it seemed like a nice place.

You will notice the wind indicator is rather at an odd angle.  Damn eagles. I could have fixed the mount but the rain accumulated inside the unit flooding the PCB.  I valiantly tried to fix but to no avail.

Granny and Grandpa visit.  Lego on the dock.

Birthday dinner for Victoria's 16th birthday.  By late Sept it was hard to actually find a restaurant open as downtown Juneau was a ghost town.

Auke Harbor was not an ideal place to stay but the other liveboards were great.  Here Rick - a man of many talents: plays in an orchestra, an amateur radio operator, and an artist with metalwork and more - gives Victoria an ulu knife he made.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

More Glacier Bay - The View From Ashore

Most nights we anchored in front of Reid Glacier.  Usually we would head out to day trip in Fluenta to see the tidewater glaciers but we also did hikes from Fluenta in the inlet.  One trip involved the teenagers and I heading up one of the creek beds to get above the tree line and the other was a family trip along the edge of Reid Glacier.

Pretty quiet in Reid Inlet

Except when these guys run their generators all night.

Some great hikes with the teenagers.  No trails so a bit challenging until got to a high enough elevation.
Some great hikes with the teenagers.  No trails so a bit challenging until got to a high enough elevation.
The view to the north as one of the cruise ships goes by.
Checking out the glacier

And yoga time

and more yoga (in hiking boots)

Xtratufs are the fashion in Alaska.  Tough enough for Alaska but not tough enough for Benjamin though as his have already worn out.

Post-hike bonfire below the high water line.

Handy to have a little person to clean mildew.  With the temperatures getting lower, condensation and mildew become more of an issue.

and schooling continues ... Using the ranger station internet before we leave.  If you look closely you can see Fluenta in the background on the dock.  Not too busy there mid September.