ACTIVITY: Boating
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For an end of summer trip Scott and Becky Hauser invited us out on their parents sailboat - the 42' Contagious. On friday Scott, Becky, Becky's sister Rachel, Yvonne and I drove to Whittier on Friday night and spent the night on the boat in typical Whittier weather - hard driving cold rain. We fully expected a miserable wet weekend. However - we awoke the next morning to a beautiful fall morning with crisp clear skies.

By 10am we pulled out of the Whittier harbor and were sailing east along passage canal. Whittier is tucked in at the far western end of Passage Canal. For the most part the winds do not pick up very often - which means you have to motor quite a ways before you can break out the sails.

We sailed east across Passage Canal and then crossed Port Wells to reach the eastern shore of Eshter Island. Along the way we witnessed the high Chugach in all it's glory - again it was nice to get another perspective of mountains wes we had climbed in over the winter. Along the way we dropped a couple shrimp pots and saw sea otters, harbor seals and a Steller sea lion.  Once we were in Port Wells the wind picked up enough for use to unfurl the sails for a while. This colorful genoa sail billowing in the wind is a beautiful sight.

After sailing north along the coast of Esther Island we entered Granite Bay where we anchored for the night. Surrounding the bay are huge granite cliffs - a rare sight in the Chugach.  It was a spectacular afternoon so we anchored the boat and took the dingy to shore. From the bay we hiked south through bogs and marsh to gain a bald granite ridge which we followed up and over a small hump and then down through a talus slope to reach the water again.

After a long slippery thrash back down to the valley floor we came across bushels of blueberry's. Luckily Rachel was smart enough to pack plastic bags for everyone so we split up and began filling our bags with huge and sweet plump blueberry's.

We should have known better but the picking was so good that each of us wandered off in different directions with dreams of blueberry cobbler in our heads. My bag was about a quarter full when we heard this guttural scream and looked up to see Rachel slowly moving backwards with her hands up screaming "HEY BEAR! HEY BEAR!"

Rachel had been moving through the woods when she stumbled upon a large black bear that charged towards her. Becky was near Rachel so she ran down next to her and started screaming as well. Within seconds all five us us were screaming at the top of our lungs and moving towards Rachel with our hands up. The bear, upon seeing and hearing five people, climbed a tree, checked us out and then dropped to the ground and disappeared into the woods.

We were stupid to be silently picking berries in dense woods and luckily the bear didn't come any closer or Rachel could have gotten seriously injured.

After regrouping we opted to get out of there. Rachel is on the US Olympic Biathlon team, but when a bear is near she is no match for Scott who flew down the mountain at record speed.

We got back down to the dingy without any more incidents (we were yelling and screaming the whole way down). The evening was calm and beautiful without a cloud in sight.

After dinner we retired to the deck where the aurora danced above us for hours. A solar flare had passed over Alaska on Thursday and we got the see the lingering traces. Scott and I were curious to see what fish came out during the northern lights so we dropped our rods over the railing. Scott caught two China Rockfish and I caught a huge (15 inches across) Sun Starfish.

 The next morning brought cloudy but clear skies. We left our anchorage around 10, headed across Port Wells to pick up our shrimp pots, and by 7pm were back in the harbor.



Gallery
  •  Leaving Port Whittier
  •  Passage Canal
  •  Shotgun Cove
  •  Looking towards Port Wells
  •  Manning the Helm
  •  Dropping the Shrimp Pots
  •  Unfurling the Genoa
  •  Chugach Mountains
  •  Sailing Across Port Wells
  •  Sailing Across Port Wells
  •  Chugach Mountains
  •  Yvonne at the Helm
  •  Sailing Across Port Wells
  •  Nearing Granite Bay
  •  Nearing Granite Bay
  •  Esther island
  •  Entering Granite Bay
  •  Granite Bay
  •  Hiking above Granite Bay
  •  Hiking above Granite Bay
  •  Hiking above Granite Bay
  •  Hiking above Granite Bay
  •  Granite Slabs on Esther island
  •  Granite Bay
  •  Hiking above Granite Bay
  •  Hiking above Granite Bay
  •  Chugach Mountains and College Fjord
  •  Chugach Mountains and College Fjord
  •  Chugach Mountains and College Fjord
  •  Pool on Esther island
  •  Pool on Esther island
  •  Pool on Esther island
  •  Granite boulder on Esther Island
  •  Blueberries
  •  Bears
  •  Granite Bay
  •  Heading back to the boat
  •  The Contagious
  •  Granite Bay
  •  Contagious Aurora
  •  Motoring Around Granite Bay
  •  Headed Home
  •  Shrimp


Downloads



(425 KB)
Whittier to Granite Bay
Description: Map of sailing route from Whittier to Granite Bay.

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