Airship | Ford’s Terror and Wood Spit

Monday – We left Tracy Arm Cove this morning on the late side (for us – 10am-ish) to get to the entrance to Ford’s Terror by 1:30pm (high slack in Juneau). It’s been a few years since we took Kevin’s brother to Ford’s Terror, and he’s psyched to see it again.

The flood current was rippin’ as we crossed the Tracy Arm Bar…maybe 4-5 knots against us. It was very squirrely in spots, and this shot of the red buoy will give you an idea:

We crossed over into Endicott Arm and had current with us, so we throttled back and just sipped fuel all the way to the entrance to Ford’s Terror, arriving precisely at 1:30pm.

Iceberg in Endicott Arm
Another iceberg in Endicott Arm

Right outside the entrance to Ford’s Terror, there was a single humpback just hanging at the surface with some smaller icebergs. Fun! I don’t think we’ve seen a humpback back in this far before!

The waterfall just outside Ford’s Terror:

Kevin and Craig took the dinghy in and played around for a bit while the current was still flooding 4-5 knots and as it started to mellow, they returned to Airship. There was quite a bit of ice outside and inside the entrance, so we figured we’d have some to dodge as we went through. The tidal exchange today and for the next couple days is about 20ft, and the timing for slack at the narrows of Ford’s Terror changes a bit with a larger swing…last time we were here slack was about 30 minutes after Juneau high slack…this time, just over an hour after Juneau, and actual “slack” at the narrows is probably 5 minutes or less…seemed like it changed to an ebb AS we were going through.

Dodging ice as we transit the Ford’s Terror narrows

We are the only boat in here today…score! We dropped shrimp pots on our way in, then anchored and launched the dinghy to go over to the east arm while the tide was on the higher side.

East arm of Ford’s Terror
Heading up river as far as we could go, which is pretty far when the tide is this high
We spotted this lone Snow Goose back in the east arm
Airship all alone anchored in Ford’s Terror

Tonight for dinner I made rigatoni with a creamy chorizo and spinach sauce, topped with some fresh basil from the supermarket basil plant I have managed to keep alive in water on the galley counter. There’s a recipe I really like that I make occasionally — I modified it a bit to substitute chorizo for Italian sausage, added a whole bag of spinach, used Half-n-Half instead of cream, and added sautéed tomatoes and a little roasted red pepper. Turned out great!

After dinner, Kevin and Craig checked the prawn traps and we had about 70 coon-striped prawns in the first pull. Sounds like we’ll be having prawns for dinner tomorrow night!

Tuesday – Well it’s August (also known as Fogust), so no wonder the fog didn’t go away but instead intensified. Luckily, it’s still gorgeous in here in the fog.

There are seals in here, and some harbor porpoises, but we still haven’t spotted any bears. The barn swallows are flying all around Airship today and I just looked up “What do barn swallows eat?” and guess what??? Horseflies!!! And mosquitos, and wasps, and a lot of other insects hated by humans. At the rate of 60 insects per hour! That’s 850 bugs per day. I wasn’t sure anything ate horseflies, but barn swallows are our new BFFs. 🙂

Update: Finally. A bear.

We took the dinghy out this afternoon and out to the entrance around high slack…lots of ice inside the entrance, and not really small ice, either.

Icebergs inside the entrance to Ford’s Terror
Looking out from inside the big notch waterfall
A little bit of sun this afternoon
Airship at anchor
It’s pretty rare to have this place to ourselves…and for two days now!!
Kevin and Craig in the dinghy
So many more coon-striped shrimp!!

Dinner tonight was another round of risotto (with prawns)…I’m getting it dialed in now — making risotto in the instant pot — I’ve added more and more broth each round and I think the 3:1 liquid to arborio rice ratio is almost perfect, 4 minutes pressure cook and fast release. This time I used some of the shrimp heads to make the stock. At the end I added the shrimp (they cook in the hot risotto in about a minute as you stir), chopped spinach, lemon zest, parmesan, a little butter…delicious.

Ford’s Terror at dusk

Wednesday – Another (or the same?) bear on shore this morning…right down at the edge of the shoal some of the time, as close as it could be to our boat, but not giving us even a glance as we watched it turn over rocks and crunch on grubs and barnacles.

We’ve actually got some sun today! Kevin took the Mavic up for more aerials:

Looking into the East Arm:

This is looking up the valley behind where we’re anchored in the West Arm:

The aerial shots seem to capture the magnitude of this place better than anything else. The scale of things really doesn’t translate in photographs normally, but seeing the tiny dot of Airship in the shot below…I think this gets close!

Kevin captured the bear in a few shots as he returned to Airship:

We pulled anchor around 3pm and headed for the exit…dodging a bunch of medium sized icebergs on our way out with about 3 knots of current still against us. There were a few boats anchored outside of Ford’s Terror…sending only kayakers and tenders inside.

We continued back out Endicott Arm and dropped the hook at Wood Spit.

We were all alone for about 15 minutes, but now there are a few larger yachts here with us, along with super-duper yacht Artefact.

We have a great view of Sumdum Glacier and conditions are calm. We’ll head north to Juneau in the morning!

View of Sumdum Glacier from Airship, anchored at Wood Spit

Beautiful sunset from anchor at Wood Spit tonight: