Airship | Takatz Bay and Red Bluff Bay

Tuesday: We left Basket Bay and cruised about 35nm south to Takatz Bay. We’ve been seeing very little other traffic which seems a bit odd, considering it’s late July and typically one of the best times to be boating in SE Alaska. The salmon are here, the bears are out, the weather is usually mild…oh well. We’ll take it!

Nice and calm on Chatham Strait as we left Basket Bay this morning

The further we went, the fewer clouds and more blue sky we were treated to!

Looking south in Chatham Strait — clouds starting to clear…yay!
Blue skies, Baranof Island
Entering Takatz Bay
Looking toward the head of the Takatz Bay

There was one other boat in when we dropped our anchor, a Willard 40 called Lilliana. After a while one of the UnCruise boats arrived (Wilderness Explorer). They anchored and set free a bunch of kayakers, paddleboarders, and a couple of skiffs full of guests to go explore the bay. They were super nice and we took turns looking at the bear on shore at the head of the bay.

Bear on shore at head of Takatz Bay (only had my iPhone with me)

A little before dinner, one of the skiffs from Wilderness Explorer came over to Airship with a bottle of wine and a tray of cupcakes as a thank you for sharing the anchorage with them. This company is AWESOME. This is not the first time something like this has happened (sharing food/wine/liquor with us and other boats in an anchorage they are occupying), and it’s very clear they have a company culture that promotes doing this…pretty much every single boat from UnCruise that we’ve shared an anchorage with has gone out of their way to thank us for “sharing the anchorage them them” and/or brought over a gift of some sort (usually wine). It’s  a successful way to make friends and keep pleasure boats from being annoyed (as we certainly know some folks get) at having a charter boat in the anchorage with them. We asked if they liked hot sauce (all four of them gave an enthusiastic YES!!) so we gave them three bottles of my homemade hot sauces — 68 El Camino (smoky chipotle), Green Machine (jalapeño, tomatillo, serrano), and Eastside Afterparty (fermented chiles de arbol). They were psyched and said the whole crew loved hot sauce (yay!) It felt good to trade something back!

Cupcakes from the pastry chef on Wilderness Explorer (UnCruise)

Wednesday – This morning, we pulled anchor just after 8am and headed for Red Bluff Bay (about 25nm south). Another calm day on Chatham, with gorgeous pastel skies.

There were quite a few humpbacks along our route today, both in the distance and close by. Some breaches, fin slaps, and just general hanging out on the surface.

Clouds making way for a quick peek at the glacier-topped mountains on Baranof Island:

I love the way these clouds are covering the southern end of Admiralty Island!!

We entered Red Bluff Bay, put our two shrimp pots down on the way in, and anchored inside.

This is such a beautiful place! We haven’t spotted any bears on shore yet, but the birds are chirping and there’s a little hummingbird that keeps circling Airship…I’m wishing I had a little feeder for them!

We have so much crab from the other day, so tonight I made crab enchiladas. Previous dinner was crab risotto, breakfast yesterday was (left0ver) crab risotto made into a risotto cake, topped with an over-easy egg, more crab, and chives. We’ll probably end up freezing some of our crab (in milk) because we will likely have prawns to deal with after this visit to Red Bluff!

After dinner we took the dinghy up both sides of the estuary to look for bears. One bear on shore, but we didn’t see any more up either side.

The clouds had lifted a bit so we could see some of the higher peaks now.

We ran into Mike and Sarah from Fellowship (a beautiful Grand Alaskan in the anchorage with us) in their dinghy while exploring the head of the bay. We killed the outboards and chatted for a while…super fun meeting these guys! Soon a skiff with crew from the “very large sailboat” anchored out toward the entrance popped over to see what we were doing (bears? bears?).

The M5 is the largest single-masted sailboat ever built at 255 feet, its mast almost 300 feet tall. The crew said not only can it not fit under the Golden Gate Bridge, it can’t fit under any bridge in the world. (Note the float plane on the stern, for scale.) Its tender, rafted to its port side, is over 100 feet!

They crew we met said they’d been working together on M5 for 8 years and have been all over the world in it, but this was their first time in Alaska, and they were loving it!

Mike and Sarah from Fellowship.

Thursday: Gorgeous morning! Blue skies and very few clouds.

Fellowship at anchor in Red Bluff Bay.
Looking toward the head of the bay, Red Bluff Bay
Moody fog on the water behind Airship

We pulled up 25 spot prawns yesterday evening, and on the way out we pulled the traps and got 113 more.

Kevin and Craig pulling the prawn traps
113 more spot prawns!

Dinner tonight will be squid ink pasta with spot prawns, tomatoes, & chilies. We’ll probably freeze the rest, because we haven’t had much opportunity yet to dig into the salmon we have in the freezer (or anything else we planned for meals) because we keep catching so much good fresh stuff! Not a bad problem to have.