Airship | Swanson Harbor, Hoonah, Flynn Cove

We left Juneau on Tuesday morning and are headed out to spend some time in Icy Strait, and hopefully south down the outside of Chichagoff Island if weather permits. We’ll be buddy boating for a bit with friends Missie and Russ on their Selene 53, Melissa Lynn. (Always nice to have another boat nearby when you’re boating in the boonies!) šŸ™‚

Things got a bit busy as we transited Saginaw Channel…many many fishing boats and tour boats!

This is our radar and AIS, showing a whole bunch of boats (whale-watching, mainly, and a few others) in a circle around one humpback

After we rounded Point Retreat, we had some Dall’s porpoises on our bow for a bit.

Dall’s porpoises surfing our bow

We entered Swanson Harbor and found room at the north dock where we tied up for the night. Kevin and Russ went out for some fishing, and Russ brought back a nice sized greenling.

In the morning on Wednesday, we headed for Hoonah (just 16nm from Swanson/Couverden).

Melissa Lynn at the public float at Swanson Harbor

Two cruise ships at Icy Strait Point when we arrived…Celebrity Summit (about 2000 passengers) and Norwegian Bliss (about 4000 passengers). Town’s gonna be busy!!

Icy Strait Point cruise ship terminal, Hoonah
Passing Pitt Island on our way into the harbor at Hoonah

No slips with power were available, but no big deal. There was plenty of space on the transient dock for us.

Hoonah Harbor

We walked up to Fisherman’s Daughter for lunch (delicious, as usual). Yellow eye sandwich, salmon bites and broccoli salad, halibut and chips/tots, and a shake to go!

Fisherman’s Daughter, always our favorite place to eat in Hoonah
Curved ladder at the grid, Hoonah Harbor
Wandering through town

We stopped at the carving shed and listened to carver Gordon talk to visitors from the ship about the fishing-themed totem pole currently being carved from yellow cedar…one benefit of ships in town is that the carving shed is open! It’s great to hear stories about the totems or canoes or whatever they’re working on at the time. We were here back in 2016 or 2017, when Gordon (and other carvers, of course) were working on the main walls and totems for the Huna Tribal House in Glacier Bay.

Gordon at the Carver’s Den, Hoonah
Carving tools, Hoonah carving shed

We continued our after-lunch walk through town.

House shape on the side of this building
At first we thought these whale-watching-tour boats maybe stopped to watch a whale, but it turned out they were (1) empty of guests, and (2) waiting for the fuel dock.
Public dock, Hoonah
Looking south toward the boat harbor. Long pier/white building is the hardware/housewares store, with grocery store on the left

We walked along the waterfront and out to Icy Strait Point after the first cruise ship left (minus its 4000 passengers).

We rode one of the gondolas over to the (recently vacated) cruise ship dock, and wandered through the gift shop and cannery exhibits before heading back to the harbor.

What a beautiful day…shorts and flip flop weather!

Back on our boats, we sat up top and had a cold beer, and then Missie cooked up the fresh caught greenling and we made some yum fish tacos.

In the morning (Thursday), we walked back up to Fisherman’s Daughter for breakfast.

Calm morning in Hoonah Harbor

When we returned to our boats, we spotted three Sitka black-tailed deer out on the uncovered shoal. They waded in the water, poked at each other a little and seemed pretty playful. Two young males and a female.

Back on Airship I grabbed my long lens and snapped a few closer photos of them.

We left Hoonah around 10am for our 9nm cruise around the corner to Flynn Cove. There’s usually good fishing outside of Flynn Cove, and we were in the market for some halibut.

Flynn Cove shoreline

After we were anchored, Kevin and Russ both went out fishing…Kevin came back with two nice-sized chickens (halibut under 10 lbs) and we cleaned, filetted, and vacuum-sealed it. Russ caught halibut as well, but we already had plans for dinner tonight so halibut for dinner tomorrow night!

After fishing, Kevin took the drone up for some aerials of the area:

Tonight we had grilled tri-tip with homemade chimichurri (recipe below), baked potatoes, and roasted asparagus…super yum dinner. And the weather is still beautiful!

After dinner we spotted a brown bear walking on shore.

A gorgeous sunset to end a wonderful day.

Chimichurri Sauce

2 cups fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 medium jalapeƱo, chopped into several pieces
2 large cloves garlic, chopped in halves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Put the parsley, oregano, jalapeƱo, and garlic in a food processor with about half the oil and a pinch of salt. PurƩe/chop, scraping the sides of the food processor as necessary. Add the rest of the oil gradually, and then the vinegar and blend well. Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate for up to a day (but return to room temperature before serving). Great on meats, veggies, and potatoes. (And probably eggs in the morning the next day!)