Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ford’s terror to Taku Harbour 48 miles

We timed our departure to reach the narrows at slack water, which was around 1pm. There were quite a few more ice bergs coming through the narrows as we approached. We waited until they started to slow and then committed to our exit. No problems. Once through we were greeted by thousands of small bergs clogging the bay which made our transit slow and tedious.             

We weaved our way through the icebergs until we exited Endicott arm and into Stephens passage where we raised the sails and had a great down-wind sail all the way into Taku Harbour.

Expecting the public dock to be full – reports that Taku is a popular due to its proximity to Juneau – we were pleased to see that there was only one other boat on the large dock. Great. A chance to get onto land after one week on the hook. We tied up having moved onto the inside of the dock to get away from swell entering the bay and went to explore this area steeped in history.

Tiger Olsen's old cabin

Taku used to be the site of a a Hundson Bay trading company fort, long since abandoned, Taku then became the home to a  canning plant and was home to over 200 people which was also abandoned in the 20 century. Slowly the place deteriorated and only a few residents remained including the infamous “Tiger” Olsen, a local character who seems to have captured the minds and hearts of locals for many decades. Over the next few days we met a few people who had met Tiger and told us stories of this adventurer. We were very kindly lent a book on Tiger which Jude and I read and enjoyed. He sounded like an amazing fellow.

We walked through the ruins of the old cannery and visited Tiger’s old cabin and felt the stories of him coming to life.

As happened a few times already we decided to stay a couple of days and explore this bay further. The weather cleared and we met some more local people who gave us good advice on where to go and some of the history of the area. We met Mary and her 90 year old father on their Nordic tug. Mary very kindly bought out the marine atlas and imparted some of her knowledge on the west coast of Baranof island, telling stories of storms out at sea in her 22 foot boat.

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