Airship | Juneau, Funter Bay, Pavlof Harbor

We spent a week or so in Juneau after the flotilla ended…visiting with friends and family (Laura’s brother Jason flew down from Anchorage with a friend for a visit), and made good use of the rental car we reserved (used the Turo app for the first time…will definitely do that again!)

Mendenhall Glacier

We took a couple trips to Western Auto & Marine, Jerry’s Meats & Seafood (smoked salmon, double smoked bacon, salmon and crab dip), and also to the Sand Bar & Grill for the BEST fresh Alaskan Halibut fish & chips. I should have taken a photo of the beautiful fish and chips, but here’s one of the wall decor instead:

Decor at the Sand Bar & Grill

Harris Harbor was full-ish when we arrived, but after a few days there were many empty slips. This is the slip next to Airship, full of sticks and greenery that wandered in with the tide.

Our friend Brian Peterman connected us with Ed Page, the founder of the Marine Exchange of Alaska, in the building just up from our slip in the harbor, which was super interesting and warrants a separate post. But real quick, for those of you who don’t know about MEAK, definitely check out their website, specifically take a look at all their real time weather reporting stations for SE Alaska. Super helpful!

Marine Exchange of Alaska
Leaving Juneau, passing the old pump house ruins on Douglas Island

Once on the backside of Douglas Island, we started scanning the VHF channels for anything interesting, and settled on the channel the whale watching boats were using. There were SO MANY whale watching boats out, and we saw a few humpbacks, but the real excitement seemed to be close to shore near Middle Point on Douglas Island, where there was a pod of orcas having a bit of fun (and probably lunch) with some sea lions. We actually heard a gal from one of the whale watching boats call someone on a different boat to tell him a sea lion was on his swim step and an orca was coming in between his two outboards trying to get at it….he hadn’t seen what was going on and said something like “Wow. I don’t even know what to do with that information!” She said she’d taken photos and would send them to him. Wish we could have seen that, but we were already quite a ways past where they were. We continued to hear more boats calling back and forth asking if the orcas were still in “carnage mode.” We’ve seen it before, and it’s interesting, but not pretty.

Whale watching boats in Saginaw Channel

We were originally thinking we’d go to Swanson or Couverden, but the wind was blowing pretty heavy over there so we changed plan and went into Funter Bay. It was still a bit choppy, which happens frequently in Funter…you think you should be protected from a west wind, but it manages to wrap around and get you anyway.

Coot Cove in Funter Bay

We decided to stay another night in Funter Bay and do some fishing and crabbing after breakfast, which was sourdough french toast, double smoked bacon from Jerry’s, and blueberries. Yum!

Julie and David on Dog Star were leaving Excursion Inlet (after catching four coho, yay the fish are in!) and decided to come join us. They rafted to Airship and we had some fun visiting and cooking together. They gifted us a filet from one of the salmon they caught, and I made some bang bang sauce, asparagus, and rice to go with it. This sauce is SO GOOD.

Bang Bang Sauce
(makes about a cup)

½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Thai sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha, or more
chives, for garnish

The first recipe I found has honey in it, but I left it out because it’s sweet enough without it. Another recipe had a teaspoon of rice vinegar in addition to the above, which I might try next time. But it’s great, and probably good with crab or shrimp as well.

Bang bang salmon with asparagus and rice
Sunset at Funter Bay

In the morning we had a couple of keeper Dungeness in our traps. Finally! More crab! Kevin went out fishing for a few hours and came back with a couple of coho…he was pretty psyched about that.

I used the rest of the bang bang sauce by mixing it up with some fresh crab meat, some chopped cilantro and scallions, and then spreading that on a piece of sourdough toast….super yum!! I forgot to take a photo, but Julie had me covered with this one she took.

Crab salad on sourdough toast

While rafted/at anchor David put out a halibut line and not too long later he had himself a perfect sized halibut — that he pulled in wearing slippers. Awesome. Guess what’s for dinner?

David (wearing slippers) with the halibut he just pulled in

Julie used one of the halibut filets and made One Pan Roasted Fish with Cherry Tomatoes — we can’t seem to stop making this recipe every time we have halibut…SUCH a great flavor combination. I sautéed some spinach and zucchini to go with the halibut and we had a delicious dinner! The forecast for aurora borealis was high for our area, so I got up every hour or so after it got dark to take a look toward the north, but it just didn’t seem like it was ever dark enough, and we never saw ’em.

The next morning David and Julie de-rafted around 7am and headed back to Juneau to pick up their son. I slept in and woke up to two cleaned crabs in the sink and no sign of Kevin or the dinghy. I wonder where he could be! Pretty soon, he returned to Airship with another beautiful coho. We are rich with fresh seafood right now!

We headed south late morning for another visit to Pavlof Harbor, which is where we are now. There were two boats anchored in here when we arrived, a 60-something foot Canadian-flagged Outer Reef, and a Ranger Tug called Left Bank…whose owner and his grandson came over in their dinghy for a chat…super nice folks who knew of us from the blog, etc. By dinner time there were maybe 7 or 8 more boats, and the owner of the Outer Reef called at least one of them on the radio to warn them not to anchor too close to him because he had 350 feet of chain out. 350 FEET?? It’s only 40-50 feet deep where he anchored (in the best spot with the view of the falls/fish ladder)…that’s a ridiculous amount of scope to have out in a crowded anchorage in calm conditions. Maybe he’s originally from the east coast…or someone scared him with the 7:1 scope “rule.”

After dinner we spotted a brown bear on the shore opposite the falls.

This morning, we were the only ones left here, so Kevin took the drone up for some gorgeous aerials.

Another beautiful day in a beautiful place! We think Dog Star may join us again today, so we opted to stay another night!