Long Distance Cruising

Ketchikan for the Winter?

Lone Eagle standing watch

Saturday, Nov. 21

It’s six days to Thanksgiving 2020. Caroline and I are still in Ketchikan. It’s not too bad, really, as the view from the boat is nice and changes a bit every day. Ketchikan, like the rest of Alaska, is now in a lockdown situation with most businesses closed and no social scene at all. I am pretty much confined to the boat except when weather permits me to take a walk or go to the grocery store or shipping office to check on mail etc.

snow at under 500 feet

The main reason I am still in Ketchikan is a continuing problem getting a working alternator from the Balmar dealer in Bellingham, Washington. Caroline needs a custom built front end (pulley placement and type) on the high output Balmar alternator. So far I’ve had the new alternator sent to me twice in an inoperable state. I sent it back again last Monday to be properly prepped for installation. I hope it will come back to me in a usable state this time, but I am losing faith in the dealer to even back up their work. They certainly don’t double check to see if they have addressed the problem. Maybe something of a spiritual nature is hinting that I should take a step back and wait out the winter, or spend at least a bit more time, here in Ketchikan before I head further into the Southeastern areas of Alaska. Maybe with the massive spread of Covid here I’m not supposed to go anywhere right now. The original plan was to winter base in Petersburg and spot cruise, weather permitting, to other coves, islands and villages throughout Southeast Alaska until heading to the west in late spring to the Aleutians and the Bering Sea before cruising back down the inland passages to Washington and the rest of the west coast in late summer and fall.

Caroline’s slip/end-tie

I have been given a monthly slip for as long as I need it, even though it’s a bit exposed to weather. The prevailing weather from the SE is fairly protected, but from the WNW it’s wide open. Today, for instance, the wind is gusting to 35 from the SE with heavy rain. Whithecaps blowing past the boat on the Port side but no real swell, so not too uncomfortable. Ketchikan is actually a picturesque little town. Under different circumstances it would be a nice place to visit for a while.

view from Stbd. side
looking down on Ketchikan

All in all, I am lucky to be here lucky to be poised to continue this cruise when it’s supposed to happen and lucky to be healthy enough to do it too. The parts should get here in another week or so, depending on shipping, and then I can install all the new pieces and hopefully get Caroline up and running again. In the mean-time I need to stay positive and keep busy. More from us soon.