We left Hole in the Wall just after 11:00 a.m. Two small communities are within just a few miles: Port Protection and Point Baker. We decided to make a quick stop at Port Protection to see what was there, then continue on to Point Baker and perhaps spend the night.
Port Protection has an Alaska state float (well, it’s barely floating), but it’s not connected to land. Most of the boats looked like they’d been there for awhile, but we found some dock space and dinghied a couple hundred yards to the Wooden Wheel Cove Trading Post.
Port Protection has about fifty residents, but we only saw two or three of them. The buildings are connected by boardwalks through the woods. The Wooden Wheel Cove Trading Post is at the top of the dock. Inside is a small market with some fresh produce, an abandoned diner with no immediate plans to reopen, a post office, a laundry room with showers, a small liquor store, a tackle/boat shop, and and an office of some sort. Gas and diesel are available on the float below.
A few guys were installing a new internet system (well, HughesNet Gen 4, so not the newest generation) on the roof while we were there, but that’s about all the action we saw in Port Protection.
Point Baker is just three miles away and promised the last floating bar in Alaska as well as a restaurant. The entrance to Point Baker is a bit intimidating—narrow and rocky and kind of winding—but well charted.
We found Point Baker far more charming than Port Protection. The outside of the float has lots of free transient moorage, though no power or water. We moored right in front of the Point Baker Community Building and quickly explored all three hundred feet of dock, aka Main Street! Point Baker is all docks and walkways, no roads. The Community Building houses a post office on one end, a fire department on the other end, and a shared space in the middle with a radio, a television, a small exchange library, a fridge, and quite a few photos on the wall of the Point Baker area at different times in history, along with notable locals and some fish stories.
Further down the dock is a small laundry facility (cold water only), some showers (not sure on the cold/hot part of that), a fuel dock with gas and diesel, a small convenience store (beer, chips, snacks…mostly geared toward fishermen heading out for the day), a nice bar, and a cafe. We stopped in the bar for a cold beer and spent an hour or so chatting with the owner, Judy. She’s a neat lady who escaped Ketchikan 30 years ago when it got too busy! She had some great stories (and seemed to like ours as well). A fun afternoon! The bar and restaurant are both open until 6:00 p.m. unless there are hungry fishermen in town, though the bar is open later on Friday nights when it has live music.
Later, we hopped in the dinghies to explore the narrow waterways between Point Baker and Port Protection. A nearby bay appears to be where sad boats go to die:
We visited with a few locals, and before the cafe closed we went in for an early dinner of good diner food: jalapeno poppers, burgers, and fries. Just as we were finishing dinner, the “HughesNet Dinghy” arrived from Port Protection, with another load of satellite internet gear to install (Point Baker is getting new internet as well)!
Back out on the dock, we met up with two other boats we knew (Norm and Beth on S/V Sarah Jean II who we last saw in Taku Harbor, and Tom and Caroline on their Nordic Tug 42 called Silver Bay, out of Wrangell) and had a fun, social evening on the dock.