jul 2011 clear sailing

Our July 2011 week in Prince William Sound was almost the exact opposite weather-wise as the same July week we spent there in 2010. Last year we had one sunny day of weather. This year, we had one rainy afternoon and night.

The itinerary turned out to be much the same. We hadn't intended to anchor in Surprise Cove, but an east wind on our first afternoon out altered our plans. That was the right decision because it was the only real sailing we did all week. We even neared Blossom's hull speed (6.3 knots) on a broad reach into Cochrane Bay.

The next day we motored to Long Bay in Culross Passage. Last year we had the bay to ourselves but we'd heard that the salmon were running and other boats would be there this time. And that was true, though numbers declined each night. Eight boats Saturday, 3 on Sunday, just 2 of us on Monday night. Paul cast for silver, sockeye, chum, and pink salmon at the head of the lagoon and caught a huge pink that fed us dinner and lunch. We assembled our kayaks on the beach and explored the lagoon one day and the bay the next. We also hiked up to the Shrode Lake cabin.

The wind had us changing our float plan again on Tuesday. We had intended to head south out of Culross Passage to visit Port Nellie Juan for the first time. But a strong westerly breeze in Long Bay indicated that the forecast was correct about a decent westerly blowing. So we headed north out of Culross to hit the wind sooner and sail it over to Perry Island, where we hadn't been yet either. We were disappointed to see the wind die as we left the passage.

But we weren't disappointed after an hour-long motor to West Twin Bay. We anchored behind the spit near the head of the bay. The clarity of the water and light and the warm sunny weather made the bay look almost tropical. Paul even jumped into the water before our shower on Wednesday evening. West Twin had the added amenity of few bugs so we were able to spend much time relaxing in the cockpit, sipping cocktails and enjoying the bay, which we had all to ourselves.

Bhikkhu's first kayak trip

To see more photos of this trip and earlier ones this summer in Prince William Sound, click the photo:

Sailing Prince William Sound 2011

8 jul 11 under the highway

If you live in Anchorage and follow how the voters react to Parks and Trails bonds, or follow the current Assembly and Mayor's support (i.e. lack of) for parks, you can be amazed that we have the trail and park system that we do. The recreational opportunities within the city are great.

Yesterday Jo-Ann, Bev, and I encountered one of the gaps in the system - the intersection of the Seward Highway and the Campbell Creek Greenbelt Trail. The trail runs for several miles on either side of the highway. At the highway, it's a rocky footpath under four road bridges. When they built the trail, even though it wouldn't go under the highway, the planners thoughtfully put a foot bridge over the creek so that those who would be ducking under the bridges could get to the other side of the creek where the trail resumes.

We stopped on that foot bridge in both directions for a break. As we watched for salmon in the stream, multiple bikers passed us. People are not only using the trail for recreation, like we were, but they're commuting to work and school. The Campbell Creek trail ends at the east side at two universities and two hospitals. Yesterday we saw moose feeding along the stream and sockeye migrating.

I suggested that someone should set up a motion-activated camera under the bridges, similar to what Fish and Game does to see how many bears use streamside paths in the city. The Department of Transportation could see how many people depend upon this route to commute. How many more would use it if they didn't have to climb under four highway bridges?

6 jul 11 beautiful infrastructure

Not even a powerline up the middle of it can mar the beauty of this valley on a sunny summer evening ....