We had a foggy start to the day so the radar was on as we weaved our way through the islands. Slowly the fog lifted and we saw more of the islands and wildlife around us. Sea otters were everwhere. A pod of dolphins played on the bow wave and salmon leapt in the calm waters. As we crossed a wider body of water a sail boat came into view in the distance. As it approached we saw that it had burgundy sail covers and cockpit covers. Could it be Ed and Janis on Cuisine, some friends we met in the Octopus islands last year. Sure enough it was! How remarkable that we should meet here in some of the les frequented spots on the SE Alaska coast. We threw lines to each other and rafted up whilst drifting in the current and caught up on events since we last met. It was great to see them and their dog Echo again.
We dropped our lines to Cuisine and motored off going our separate ways. Perhaps we will meet up later in the season.
The winds picked up as we came into more open water so we raised the sails and headed down wind towards Craig. We ran with the main to port and the genoa to starboard making about 6 knots passing one other sailboat. As we negotiated our way through Cruz passage I was given the fright of my life: suddenly a whale’s fin rose up out of the water on our bow and when in mean ON our bow that’s exactly what it was. It touched the anchor! The whale must have been crossing the channel, did not hear us as we were sailing and had to make a tight turn to avoid us. That was about as close as it gets to being struck by a whale. Steve and Sandy were oblivious to the close shave and did not realise that, as their berth is in the bow, they must have been only inches from the whale, separated by a few inches of fiberglass.
We sailed within a ¼ mile of Craig, dropped the sails and prepared to tie up at the transient dock. We all poured into town to do some shopping, have showers and look around this fishing and logging town.
Steve and Sandy had kindly treated us to a meal out in Sitka and we decided to repay the act of kindness, so we made a booking at the only restaurant that was open – Shelter cove lodge. Now that we were all showered and in clean clothes we walked to the restaurant and had a wonderful meal. Halibut, beef ribs, fish and chips, a couple of nice bottles of wine and an excellent view overlooking the water.