Come in Blog Reader this is Michael at the blog. The admiral has handed the blog to Carol and I on this last day of our trip and appears to have gone fishing! These are Michael and Carol’s blog notes and commentary. We boarded the Domino, Captained by Andrew Adams [AC] with the Admiral being Tamny Adams [TEA], in Juneau, Alaska on July 6, 2015 about 4 or 4:30 pm, after missing the Delta connections with Alaska Air in Seattle due to mechanical issues on Delta out of Minneapolis. Though two or three hours late, we still had plenty of daylight—indeed, in Alaska in July, that is all there is—daylight 23 hours a day. We had nice bite to eat at the local fish and chips shop and then headed back to the boat to unpack and take our safety walk through on the Domino.
The Domino is a very comfortable ship, and plenty seaworthy, as we found out in some occasional rough waters. It would take a small book to tell all our adventures and our reactions and feelings about those adventures. Let me just sum it up; the accommodations, the hosting, the sights, the anchorages, and the company were all top-notch. AC and TEA went out of their way to welcome us and consider our abilities and lack of abilities.
So what about Alaska and Alaskan waters? After boarding Domino July 6, we spent the night and the next morning in Auke Bay harbor moored at a marina. Auke Bay is a busy harbor and marina about 10 miles north of Juneau. We were going to leave first thing in the morning, but, alas, as is the case with a boat and a cottage, something was wrong. It was the alternator, and to our amazement AC replaced himself in just a few hours. After our first of many amazing whale-watching experiences consisting of many breaching humpbacks and many flukes high up in the air, we boated southward below Juneau to Stephens Passage and pulled into a small cove or bay called Pearl Harbor. The salmon were jumping by the 100s and there were no fewer than 50 eagles on the stony beach or in the trees fronting the beach it was amazing. The fishing fleet, upward of 25 boats, were anchored outside the cove waiting for the announcement on the VHF that salmon season had opened and they could start to fish. On our cruise to Alaska with family members a couple years ago, we saw only one or two eagles the entire time. On this trip we’ve seen hundreds of eagles, hundreds of majestic humpback whales, jumping salmon, halibut and sea lions. We have seen only a handful of Brown (Grizzly) bears…but bears close up and looking back at us while we sit safely on the boat snapping pictures, often just a couple hundred feet from the bear on shore, is a site to hold your interest for many hours. Thank goodness for digital photography; many photos at little cost! So, we spent the last ten days exploring wild Alaska, anchoring in quiet protected coves, waking to the sound of a nearby waterfall or the slap on the water of jumping salmon.
One of the natural highlights of our 10 days on Domino was a huge, brilliant blue iceberg. We were in Tracy Arm, about 1 mile from the end of the arm and the South Sawyer Glacier. We actually could not get to the glacier itself, because of the ice flow out of that glacier, including this beautiful 200 foot long, 25 foot high and 35 foot wide iceberg. It was the most amazing blue I think I have ever seen in nature. AC piloted the Domino totally around this massive and stunning piece of ice.
Tammy has taken to the fishing aspect of this wilderness, She is has provide amazing amounts of wild seafood catching 80 shrimp in one pot, several Dungeness crabs on most days and capping our culinary excitement with a lovely king salmon which as I understand it are not that easy to catch. Food and drink on board were without compare—good thing since we’ve not been near a town, a store, or a restaurant for ten days. We motor a bit during the day and find a lovely spot to anchor overnight. Andrew did most of the navigating this segment but Tammy is perfectly capable at the helm. We also took our turns at the helm and helped out whenever we could. Andrew is also our resident repairman, replacing an alternator, dropping and picking up the anchor for the last week after the motor that usually does the work failed, repairing the switch that drains one of the toilets, rescuing the anchor and chain from the ‘middle of the ocean’ when the anchor lock failed, rigging up a pot puller on the dingy for Tammy’s crab and shrimp pots, and various smaller projects demanding his attention every few hours it seems.
Admiral Tammy keeps careful records of their travels and of the boating data they learn from each day. They’re storing lots of info because they are determined to make this trip again, and other boating trips around the globe. She also is the ship stores officer having devoted many hours to provisions and many hours to the creation of sumptuous meals. There’s no deprivation on the Domino. We’ve had weather that some would call disappointing (and some would call lousy) and yet the experience has been wonderful. You just learn to wear your rain gear and not let it keep you indoors. It’s the host and hostess that have made it so, plus the pristine and wild side of our country that is magical to behold. Exploring the beauty and the peacefulness of nature by boat is more effort than by car, cruise ship, train or RV, but the isolation you get when you’re the only boat in a spectacular little cove makes you feel like Nature has presented her glory there just for you. We embarked on our little part of their adventure with some trepidation, not knowing what to expect, and can now endorse the experience without hesitation, and boy, are we glad we came!
- Carol’s Homemade Ice Cream Topping- We loved our time in the galley and thought you might enjoy this handy recipe. We learned that on the boat fruit and veggies only last so long and it is important to come up with ways to use them allow you to enjoy them longer. This is a quick and easy recipe to suit the galley of a great boat. The good news is that the Alaskan wilderness is filled with wild blackberries, blueberries and salmon berries are they are abundant this time of year. We also used this recipe for leftover cherries but those were store bought. So a quick walk on the shore and you can pick more but careful of the bears because they like them this time of year as well.
How I used the ‘aging’ fruit on board and made delicious sauce for ice cream or fish:
- Rinse off your fruit and pick out anything that has gone bad
- Cut up your fruit. I like to cut them in half.
- Put the fruit in a sauce pan.
- Fill pan with water just enough to cover the fruit.
- Add sugar according to taste.
- Boil down to soften fruit and make the fruity syrup around it.
- Add a tablespoon or more of cornstarch to cold water in small dish and stir to dissolve.
- Add cornstarch-water mix one teaspoon at a time to hot fruit mixture, stir, repeat until desired thickness
- Refrigerator and allow to thicken
- Use to marinate and grill fish or pour over your ice cream. Yummy!
This is Carol and Michael packed up and ready to head to the Petersburg airport (which is a 6 minute ride from the marina because this is a very small town). Signing off and wishing Andrew and Tammy many more days of happiness and adventure. Turning the blog back over to Tammy and she will be standing by on channel 16.
- Dock to Dock: Ropes off in Juneau on Tuesday July 6 – Docked in Petersburg Thursday, July 16
- Cruise Log: Total trip 222 Nautical Miles
- Weather Conditions: Cloud, rain, wind and sunshine. You name it we had it bust mostly we saw light rain.
- Navigational Obstacles: Oliver inlet at low tide and Ford’s Terror waiting on the slack tide
- Wildlife Sighting: Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Salmon, Eagles, Sea lions, Harbor Seals, all kinds of birds and small Halibut
- Time @ the Helm for both Michael and Carol: 10 hrs
- Time @ the Dash spotting for the captain or helping to plan passages: 50 hrs
Fun Meals underway: Crab, Shrimp, Clam Chowder, Ribs, Burgers, Brats, Omelets! We ate well.