S/V Hello World's Travel Log

Surviving Red Bluff Bay

July 13

You know what's fun?

Hanging out on deck in your bathrobe at 2:30am...

fending off a giant Bayliner...

who dragged down on you...

in 12 knots of wind.

Fortunately, we didn't have any damage. And it turns out that the owners of said powerboat were very nice and arrived with fresh apology salmon the next day (which is handy because we haven't caught any fish this entire cruise).

Besides that small hiccup, we had an AMAZING time in Red Bluff Bay. Starting from the sail there. We had to cross Chatham Strait, so we had about 20 knots on our beam as we headed towards Baranof Island. The fog obscured most of the snow-capped mountains on our way over, but once in a while they'd peak out.

As we got into the bay, we started to see the waterfalls

Every time we looked around, we saw more. At one point, I counted 29 waterfalls that we could see from one point in the middle of the bay. This was one of the more impressive ones.

As we dropped our hook, we spotted seven brown bears on shore, at the aptly named "bear meadow".

So we immediately dropped the dinghy and headed in for a closer look.

This one was in an inlet where a sailboat stern tied the next day. We decided not to stern tie.

We ended up in Red Bluff for four days as the winds blew 20-25 outside, but this place is so protected, it was hard to believe the weather forecasts.

The obligatory SUPing picture. I'm getting cocky enough to be doing yoga on the board when it's calm out. Expect to see a picture of Christy in the water pretty soon.

56° 52.302'N 134° 47.175'W

frederick sound

july 7th - thomas bay

After consecutive visits to Wrangell and Petersburg, we were ready to get out of towns for awhile and sit at anchor. Our first destination was just north of Petersburg. Thomas Bay is an inlet carved from two separate glaciers - Patterson glacier and Baird glacier. Neither is a tidewater glacier (Patterson Glacier has receded far enough that we never saw it) so no bergy bits or growlers in the water.

The only good anchorage in Thomas Bay is at the south end of Ruth Island. Most of the bay is deep enough that we could drop our anchor and all the chain we own and the anchor would never touch bottom. When we pulled into the anchorage, we discovered a commercial boat had carpet bombed the anchorage with crab pots. Cussing the Mad Crabber, we wound through the pots and found a enough room to get our anchor down and enough chain to hold us in place.

Hello World anchored amongst the Mad Crabber's thousands of crab pots littered around the southern end of Ruth Island.

Hiking the Cascade Creek trail.

Checking out our first glacier - Baird Glacier at the north end of Thomas Bay.

The big news as we exited Thomas Bay was an encounter with our first bergy bit. This one had floated north from the LaConte glacier farther south.

july 9th - portage bay

Portage Bay was our next destination. The primary feature of Portage Bay is that it is almost entirely landlocked and has acres and acres of water that's 30 feet deep with a nice mud buttom. After months of trying to find a spot to anchor in 90 feet of water, this place was awesome. We can't remember the last time we only put 150' of chain out. Nothing much else to report, though. We laid over a day and mostly sat around the boat reading books.

Anchored in Portage Bay.

There were no commercial crab pots in Portage Bay. My best guess is that they aren't interested in hermit crabs which is all Christy to managed to catch in our crab pot.

Laundry that we never got around to doing in Petersburg.

july 11th - cannery cove

We'd heard some good things about Cannery Cove so we left Portage Bay on a beautiful day and headed across Frederick Sound. We'd also heard that you have a good chance at seeing humpback whales. What they didn't tell us is you have a good chance of running into one. They're everywhere in Frederick Sound. We never got close enough to get a decent picture though so you'll just have to take our word for it.

We pulled into Cannery Cove and realized the "good things" we heard perhaps understated it a bit. While anchoring we saw six brown bears on shore so as soon as we were done, we lowered the dinghy and headed to the shore to check them out.

The mama bear didn't like how close we were. The cubs knew something was going down but their directional awareness still needs some work.

A place as cool as this must be investigated by paddle board.

Now that we have a waterproof camera, we can take some photos from the paddle boards.

This is the view we woke up to. Makes for a nice start to the day.

57° 18.382'N 134° 09.167'W

The police blotter

Petersburg - July 5

No, no, don't worry Mom and Dad, we didn't make the police blotter.

We got a recommendation from some fellow sailors to pick up a local newspaper in the small towns we visit. I have to say, it's been a great way to get to know some of the issues these towns face, but also provides a bit of entertainment. Here are a few of my favorites from the weekly Petersburg paper just around July 4:

June 27
A report was made of three lost keys on a white Arima float tag lost approximately three weeks ago.

Kids were reported playing in the library construction site on 1st Street and Haugen

A vehicle was reported speeding up and down Lumber Street

June 29
A warning was issued for speeding on Sandy Beach Road

Loud music from the bar was reported on Chief John Lott. Offers contacted them to turn the music down and shut the door.

June 30
A hole in the bridge on Sing Lee Alley was reported

An individual driving an electric vehicle onto the bike path to allow vehicles to pass on Mitkof Highway was reported. Driver continued to drive on path.

July 2
A lost silver iPod was reported. Individual last had the property approximately one month ago.

Two individuals looking as if they were about to fight was reported on S. Nordic Drive. Officer responded and spoke with individuals involved.

July 3
Adults allowing kids to shoot off firecrackers was reported on S. 2nd Street. Officer responded and only sparklers were present. They agreed to stick to sparklers.

July 4
Juveniles lighting fireworks in the harbor that scared the caller and caused them to fall in the water was reported at North Harbor

We spent 2 days in town, but had come directly from Wrangell, so we were ready for some anchoring by the time we left. The town itself is adorable - set amongst a really impressive set of mountains.

And we did get to wonder around our first muskeg! For those of you unfamiliar with muskegs (as I was), it's basically a bog with very acidic soil, so all of the trees and shrubs are very stunted.

56°48.804'N 132°57.671'W

wrangell throws down

The town of Wrangell, Alaska is serious about the Fourth of July. We'd heard from lots of folks to go check it out so check it out we did.

No self-respecting Fourth of July party is complete without a brass band.

Better than Halloween!

I'm actually not sure if they were part of the parade or just running down to the post office to pick up mail.

The logging competition went for five hours and we couldn't pull ourselves away.

Every time we thought: "There's no possible way they can come up with yet another way to chop wood!", Wrangell proved us wrong.

The logging competition ended with an ax throw. I really need to learn how to do THAT.

The whole town lines up for a *massive* egg toss. "Remove your rings", one experienced local told us.

Kids in Wrangell are raised in a small town on a small island so they're pretty much unleashed. Unleashed children do things like make a rocket powered Big Wheel.

The grown-ups do a little of their own unleashing.

We also noticed a few other things about Wrangell. They will construct anything out of shipping containers. Seriously. Anything.

There doesn't seem to be a car wash in town.

Parking can be hard to come by at the fish processing plant.

We also noticed they are the friendliest people we've come across yet. So many strangers started up conversations with us. Everyone looks you in the eye. They smile. They say hi.

We really liked Wrangell. It's high on our list of places to leave Hello World for the winter so it's likely we'll be back.

56° 27' 54.4"N 132° 22' 54.28"W

Whales and prawns and bears, oh my!

June 27 - Tolstoi Bay

We finally extracted ourselves from Ketchikan though we decided against going into Misty Fjords because it was probably going to be SO misty that we couldn't really see the mountains, so we'll just have to wait until it's sunny there. Maybe next year. Or 2052. Also, we had big plans to head to Wrangell for the fourth of July and rather than hurry through MFNM, we decided to take a leisurely pace to Wrangell - we're on vacation, right? No need to hurry.

So we wandered over to Tolstoi Bay - on the way, saw our second breaching whale and watched him breach from a few miles away, towards Hello World and well past us.

Once in Tolstoi, we broke out the stand up paddleboard (SUP) for the first time and tried it out. Turns out this is a very fun toy!

Although Jason got a big nervous on my "small" board. This is about as far away from the boat as he was willing to venture.

June 29 - Santa Anna Inlet

Off to Santa Anna Inlet we went, where we did more SUPing and did a whole lot of crabbing and prawning. We attempted salmon trolling on the way with no luck. Apparently not too many other people are catching salmon either, so clearly it's the fish, not us.

July 1 - Berg Bay

Yet another spectacular anchorage. No icebergs, but the mountains were phenomenal. I was hearing highway noises as I was SUPing around the anchorage in the morning and realized that the static I was hearing couldn't have been cars - they are nowhere to be found. I was hearing waterfalls.

On our way to Berg Bay, we stopped by Anan Bear Observatory. Maybe "stopped" is a bit of an overstatement. There is almost nowhere to anchor, so Jason did circles in Hello World while I dinghied in and got to see 3 brown bears and a black bear.

I got to talking (as I do) to some other people, taking pictures and just generally enjoying myself and poor Jason ended up circling for 3 hours.

(can you see him all the way out there?)

The observatory is fantastic with a protected deck right over a river in which that salmon spawn. Sadly, the pinks are late this year and weren't running when we arrived, so the bears weren't fishing.

Apparently sometimes you get to see them up close and personal grabbing up to 40 salmon an hour out of the stream, eating the brains and then going back for more. The black bear I saw? He was eating grass.

56.1865°N 131.8943°W

self reliance

We like the places that are more wild and remote. Places that don't have internet connections, mechanics or Qwiki-marts. Those are the places that are more interesting to us. This means we have to learn to be self-reliant. We have to troubleshoot our own problems and carry with us what we need. To that end, we consulted the ultimate in self-reliant sailors - Ken and Susan on s/v Bint al Khamseen, recently back from a two-year tour of the Pacific Ocean including Mexico, the south Pacific islands, New Zealand and a 40-day passage back to North America.

Along with fashioning an AIS receiver from a bear tracking device and hand-crafting a new rudder for their self-steering gear while anchored in an atoll in the middle of the frickin' ocean, they happen to brew incredibly good beer. Not good as in: "wow, that's really good for home brew". More like: "holy crap, that's better than beer any beer I can buy".

Having experience with Canada's sky-high liquor prices, mediocre beer and lack of civilization from which to buy said beer, we decided brewing our own was a better option. Before we left Seattle, we invited Ken and Susan over to teach us their brewing witchcraft. With their gracious permission, we're re-posting their boat-friendly, hop-a-liscious beer recipe.

Ken transferring the wort into the fermenter.

Making Beer Aboard Sailboats

Once you’ve got all of your ingredients, it’s a matter of making the wort, letting that ferment for 3-5 days, then bottling and letting it sit for another 2 weeks. Then drink up!

Shopping list (for a 1.5-2 gallon batch)

3 lb amber dry malt
1.5 oz hops (pelletized)
½ package Nottingham or Ale yeast
¼ cup corn sugar
2.5 gallon collapsible water jug
vapor trap
One step cleaner
Growlers or plastic jugs (that can hold pressure) for bottling and caps

Making wort

In a large pot, bring 1/2 gallon of water to a boil for a few minutes (kill off any microbes). We use our pressure cooker without pressurizing it.
Add 3 lbs. dry malt to simmering water
We use amber malt for a Manny’s knock off
Use light malt for a pilsner beer
Use dark malt for a more chewy beer (porter…)
If you use liquid malt, need 20% more than dry and less water
Stir while malt dissolves (don't scorch the bottom!)
Add 1oz of hops
Many varieties of hops...for a basic IPA use anything that starts with a C (Cascadia is a great one)...try different types for different types of beer
Use pelletized hops (non-pelletized versions make a total mess)
Simmer until hops are dissolved, turn off heat and add another ½ oz hops (for a good, hoppy aroma – skip if you don’t want it too hoppy)
Allow the wort to cool
You can do this quickly by submerging most of the pot in an ice bath or sea water

Decontaminate fermenting container

We use one step food grade cleaner – it’s a white powder that isn’t harmful if some is leftover
Mix one step cleaner with water and clean the heck out of the 2.5 gallon jug, funnel, vaport trap, nozzle, etc – anything that the beer will come in contact with while transferring or fermenting


In a 2.5 gallon jug, add ½ gallon of water
Add in the wort (get all of the hops!)
Add in another ½ gallon of water
Make sure this watered down wort mixture is at room temp (about 80F) before adding yeast
Add ½ of a 0.3oz pack of brewing yeast
We use Nottingham or an ale yeast
Different yeasts will change the flavor, so play around with them
Give the container a good shake to mix in yeast and oxygenate the wort, then burp out most of the leftover air
Add vapor trap and ensure air can escape
Leave the mixture to ferment until it stops bubbling (3-5 days depending on your temp – shorter in warm areas)


This amount of beer fits nicely into 3 ½ gallon growlers
Can also use old soda containers – anything that was built to take pressure (so don’t use water bottles because they’ll explode under the pressure)
Clean your bottles, funnel, etc with the TSP solution mentioned above
Mix a solution of ¼ cup corn sugar with ¾ cup sterile water (sterilize by boiling then allow to cool a bit)
Add this sugar solution directly to the fermenter and mix around a bit for equal distribution
Pour into bottles (leave an inch of head in each bottle)
We use a funnel and strainer to try to get rid of some of the sludge
Allow to sit in bottles for 2 weeks – then refrigerate and enjoy!

cuisines of ketchikan

We started noticing a trend in Canada that restaurants would double up on two ethnic cuisines, like Canadian and Vietnamese. I’m not sure what “Canadian” food is, but they probably had poutine on the menu.

Anyway, we’ve noticed the same thing happening in Alaska. For your viewing pleasure, here is a sample of the restaurant options available in Ketchikan.

And my personal favorite...