For those CBYA members who don’t know me, I left the Costa Blanca in January 2015 to follow my dream and sail the world as crew on a variety of boats.  Hugh has asked me to share my latest adventure with you.

Captain Chris, a retired pilot, and his dear wife Pam, invited me to join them for this four-month adventure aboard their very comfortable motor cruiser, a 62ft Tollycraft. We will sail the entire inside passage from Olympia Washington to Skagway Alaska, and back (a journey of about 3000 nautical miles).

We stop at some beautiful anchorages with waterfalls, hot springs, fjords, icebergs and ancient rain forest, the scenery is breath-taking and constantly changing.

 

I like to kayak in cold, but crystal-clear, water with the sea lions and sea otters. Star fish and anemones of all colours, too cold for me to dive. I have seen black and grizzly bears along the shore and watched bald eagles soaring above looking for jumping salmon.

We have a lot of success with crab and prawn pots, we catch salmon and halibut, we collect and grill wild oysters in garlic butter.

We pull into sleepy native towns with totem poles standing proudly and busy fishing ports with pool tables and ‘duck farts’ (Alaska’s cocktail).

We spent some weeks with Chris and Pam’s son anchored in front of his logging camp on Prince of Wales island: it was a great insight to a fascinating way of life.

 

We were lucky enough to see a pod of 13 humpback whales bubble feeding, truly amazing, and we have had seen killer whales, and had dolphins on our bow more than once.

Sailing up to a glacier has to be a highlight of the trip, to listen to them creak and see them calve. I cut blue glacier ice from a floating iceberg for cocktails. I took my first float plane in Juneau Alaska, over five glaciers to a place called Taku Lodge, where we ate a salmon lunch before flying back: this was a very, very special day.

The whole trip so far has been incredible, but for me personally, Skagway will always be special. This town is the furthest north that we go, it was the gateway town to the Klondike gold fields. In 1898 thousands of young men made the harrowing journey through White Pass to the Yukon. My great Grandfather was a gold prospector and I was blown away to see his name in the registry, dated 1899. We took the beautiful narrow-gauge railway journey through White Pass which follows the trail these brave men made on foot – it was quite surreal.

We pass the odd sailing boat but none have sails up, I am very happy to be on a power boat for this trip. Alongside the wonderful experiences that I have written about are the usual cruising challenges: the very strong currents, navigation, oil changes, repairs, fuelling, docking, anchoring, provisioning, dealing with health issues, making water and maintaining batteries, 20ft tides which expose uncharted rocks (one of which we hit and needed to be hauled out for repairs).

If any of you get the opportunity to visit this coast, take it, I promise that you will not be disappointed. I love my way of life and hope you have enjoyed reading about this chapter of it.

Vicky Power

August 2019