The S/V BEST EXPLORER
July 26, 2012 ICE CHART
Five thousand miles
terrible We crossed the Bering Sea during the last possible days of last autumn, trying to take advantage of the few hours of "reasonable" time between the deep depressions that came from Japan and that generated winds in excess of the eighty knots, as we have personally experienced while we were fortunately already moored in our harbor wintering in King Cove, surrounded by mountains already bleached by the first snow.
Back in the spring with an exceptionally clear sky that gave us a spectacular view of the mountains and snow-capped volcanoes of the Seward Peninsula we followed the route traced almost three hundred years ago by Vitus Bering, the first white man to discover the Aleutian Islands and Alaska.
The weather was clement, too, since we have not met never wind and we were forced to use the engine for the entire route to Canada.
On the other hand we enjoyed countless bays and shelters, narrow passages, winding canals, all carpeted by a continuous forest of slender and tall fir trees characteristic the Pacific coast.
Along the way we met very few boats in addition to the numerous fishing boats of various kinds, all friendly and curious to hear our story in all the ports we touched.
superabundant The nature everywhere filled our senses with ospreys from the head bald, sea lions, seals, whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea otters, musk oxen, caribou, salmon, bears, albatrosses, hummingbirds (!) and an infinite number of seabirds, all with their cries details and no one ever bothered by our presence and our engine. The intoxicating scent of the forest there whenever gettavamo the scenes again and the green of the trees, always present since we passed the island of Kodiak, they gave us unmediated sense of the immense spaces of this true Far West U.S..
Navigating was not so easy, in spite of the calm, protected waters of the inner channels archipelago. We met currents, sometimes really fast, with their eddies and crosscurrents their unexpected large tidal, anchors deep, murky waters, wide banks of giant seaweed (kelp) in the Pacific that we have posed new and difficult challenges.Nothing, however, that a sailor reasonably well prepared and prudent can not deal with.
We then let perpetual light of the Arctic summer to return to a much milder climate, though sometimes rather damp, and dark nights of the temperate latitudes, not too sorry to stop the heavy clothes which we had become accustomed to wearing.
cockpit Our coverage has been and still is a key advantage for our comfort, protecting the people who guarded from cold, wind, rain and moisture and making our progress always comfortable, in spite of the severe climate we encountered.
Now we are exploring the protected anchorages and the labyrinth of channels of British Columbia and we intend to relax a bit after this long journey, before tackling the next steps towards its long Baja California in next spring!Five thousand miles. Almost. That's the length of our voyage around Alaska to British Columbia. It is one and a half times longer than crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Gibraltar to the Caribbeans. It Took us from the ice-bound Arctic Ocean along the barren shores of Beaufort Sea, That only a handful of sailors ever get to see. Then, after being tossed around by a heavy storm but luckily short, we squeezed through the narrow passage between America and Asia, where U.S. and USSR were touching and most touchy During the cold war. We crossed the terrible Bering Sea During the last autumn manageable days, trying to use the few hours of "reasonable" weather between deep depressions coming from Japan, producing winds in excess of eighty knots, as we experienced Already moored, luckily, in our winter harbor of King Cove, the first snow blanketing the surrounding mountains. In spring we were back and with an exceptional clear sky and a magnificent view of the snow clad volcanoes and mountains of Seward Peninsula Followed the route we sailed almost three hundred years ago by Vitus Bering, When as first white man he Discovered the Aleutians Islands and Alaska. Weather Has Been kind to us, even too much, as we got no winds at all since, forcing us to motor all the way to Canada. But we could enjoy an unlimited number of coves, straits, narrows, winding canals, all lined up with Sitka spruce and hemlock. On the road we met very few boats beyond the many fishing vessels, seiners, long liners, crabbers, That where friendly and curious to listen to our story in every harbor we pulled in. everywhere The nature filled our eyes, ears and nose with the sight of bald eagles, sea lions, seals, whales, dolphins, sea otters, muskoxen, Cariboos, salmons, bears, albatrosses, and an unlimited hmmingbirds number of sea birds, all uttering Their peculiar noises, not ever disturbed by our boat and motor. The rich scent of the forest reached us any time we anchored and the green scenery, ever present after we passed the island of Kodiak, gave us the direct feeling of the enormous space of the American real Wild West. Sailing was not so easy, despite the calm waters protected from the ocean swell. Currents, some times really fast, With Their Overfalls and eddies, big tides differences, Anchorages deep, murky waters, large patches of kelp, seaweed of the special gigantic North Pacific, where, all presenting us new and difficult challenges. Nothing That a reasonable though well prepared and careful sailor could not afford. We left the continuous daylight of the Arctic to get back to a much milder weather, though some times pretty wet, and the dark nights of the temperate latitudes, not too sorry to dismiss the warm garments we were earlier used to wear. Our protected cockpit has been and still is a major bonus for our comfort, sheltering people on watch from cold, wind, rain or drizzle and making our passage always comfortable, notwithstanding the harsh climate we encountered . Now we are exploring the peaceful Anchorages and the maze of channels of British Columbia and are going to relax a bit after this very long voyage, before affording further the long run to Baja California. Next spring!