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Airship | Hoonah and Flynn Cove

Yesterday (Saturday) we cruised from Trap Bay in Tenakee Inlet up into Icy Strait and around to Hoonah. We got in on the later side, so we just hung out and had dinner aboard. Dan cooked up some chicken souvlaki and a greek salad for dinner, and I brought over kimchi pancakes with a spicy gochujang dipping sauce (recipe below).

In the morning, we headed up to have breakfast at Fisherman’s Daughter only to discover that Sundays are the one day a week that they are closed. So sad! However, right next door was the Hoonah visitor center. This building used to be just four posts and a roof underneath which they carved canoes, but it’s a full-on building now, with a small gift shop and a bunch of cool information about Hoonah and the Tlingit art and culture.

We met a woman named Jolene who was a wonderful, enthusiastic and animated storyteller. She gave us a great talk about this almost-finished totem that will go over to Glacier Bay in a couple months. It tells the story of the history of the relationship between the native peoples who call Glacier Bay their home, and the park service that now manages Glacier Bay National Park. (Hint: the relationship has had a rocky past, as you might imagine.) 

We also met Owen, who had great stories and showed us his gorgeous woven hat with the frog painted on it. (The painter needed money to travel to Juneau to Celebration earlier this month, so Owen hired him to paint this hat — half the money up front, half when he was done.) 🙂

We hung out here for an hour or so chatting with Jolene and Owen and hearing stories we hadn’t heard about the Tlingit history. Afterwards we were still really in the mood for breakfast out, so we walked the half a mile or so down the road to the Icy Strait Lodge. French toast, breakfast burritos, omelettes…the food was great, and had a funky atmosphere to boot! Our waitress was so funny and matter of fact. Example:

Kevin: “I’ll have the huevos rancheros please.”
Waitress: “We don’t have that.”
(He orders something else.)

Dan: “I’ll have the Spanish omelette.”
Waitress: “We don’t have that.”
Dan: “Okay then, what about the (whatever his second choice was)?”
Waitress: “Don’t have that either.”
(Third choice was a charm.)

She told us she and her husband were commercial trollers and would be heading out on July 1st and she couldn’t wait. Ninety-one days out on a boat she said “needs a ton of work and leaks, but we’re going anyway.” We asked her how she liked trolling, and she said “I don’t know, I’ve never done it before.” 

After breakfast, we walked back to the marina, then the rest of the way (1.5 mile or so) out to Icy Strait Point. We wandered around a bit, then headed back through town, stopping for a couple groceries at the market, a few things at the hardware store, and then of course a beer at the new location of Icy Strait Brewing. They just reopened a week or two ago (and are still waiting for their new brewing license) so they had Alaskan beers on tap, rather than their own local craft beer. They also serve food, and their Alaskan smoked meat and cheese board sounded fabulous, and were we not still full from breakfast we’d have been all over that!

Collette’s Cupboard (or as we call it, “Tiny Expensive Costco” is still here and going strong!)
The path out to Icy Strait Point
Hoonah Harbor
Low tide in Hoonah

We left Hoonah around 3:00 p.m. with the idea that we’d do a little halibut fishing out at the islands near Crist Point, then anchor for the night in Flynn Cove. We didn’t catch anything, and ultimately just went and anchored in Flynn Cove by about 6:30 p.m. or so. The weather was a little gray and drizzly, and we had pizza night aboard Fortunate.

In the morning we went out for more halibut fishing near Hoonah Island. The weather was gorgeous and it was so nice to be drifting around in the sun, wearing t-shirts and flip flops while we crossed our fingers for some fish.

Fortunate, fishing for halibut in Icy Strait

Eileen caught the first fish — a small halibut (7 pounds or so…what is referred to as “a chicken” because of the size). We had a few nibbles on our bait earlier, but no luck, until then we had luck and hooked a 77 pound fish! What fun! As Kevin was reeling him in and I was readying the harpoon, we heard a humpback spout nearby. Of course we’d be catching a halibut while whale-watching. Eileen and Dan came over to see the fish before heading back to Flynn Cove. Here they are with the humpback (whale on the far left):

And here is our fish, coming up from the deep:

We harpooned the halibut and gaffed its gills so it could bleed out before we brought her aboard. (Most larger fish are female, smaller ones are male. I learned this from Dan.) We pulled her up onto the swim step and tied her to cleats, thanking her for all the future meals she’ll provide for us.

The view from Flynn Cove when it’s clear is so beautiful with poofy Harry Island and the mountains of Glacier Bay in the background. (Also, there were two humpbacks hanging around the entrance to the cove when we returned, of course.)

The view across Icy Strait from Flynn Cove

We each filleted our halibuts and Dan gave us some help with ours and some great tips! (Warning: a little fish blood in a photo or two that follows.)

For dinner we grilled up some fresh halibut, Dan made rice pilaf, and we made a Caesar salad with homemade dressing and croutons made from the leftover sourdough bread that Dan and Eileen baked the other day. Not too shabby!

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Kimchi Pancakes

1 cup kimchi
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 green onions, finely chopped
A little avocado or coconut oil for frying

Drain the kimchi, reserving the juice. Measure the juice and add water if need be to make 1/2 cup of liquid. Coarsely chop the kimchi.

Mix together the flour, rice flour, salt, and kimchi juice/water and let it sit for 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped kimchi and scallions.

I bought a griddle to cover the two burners on our Force 10 stove top and this worked really well for making the pancakes. I used avocado oil to coat the griddle, and made small 3-inch pancakes, about two minutes per side until golden.

Serve the pancakes warm or at room temperature with dipping sauce on the side. The sauce I made was about ½ gochujang and half ssamjang (Korean chili and bean pastes) plus a tablespoon or so of vinegar and a little soy sauce.

The original recipe comes from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street cookbook.