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Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24, 2011 - Heading South

July 24, 2011
Underway Lisianski Inlet
Position: 58°02.7736N 136°22.5623W @ 1:30PM

Surround by pristine wilderness, we watched otters and dolphins through mist covered windows this morning as we sipped our coffee. Calm conditions in our Graves Bay anchorage spoke nothing of the drubbing we got just a few hours later. The first order of business was to check our shrimp and crab traps. We'd been busy trying for a Tanner crab and after checking the pot last night around 9PM I moved the pot out to a new location off Graves rocks about 4 miles from our anchorage. The days are still pretty long up here with sunrise around 4:30AM and sunset around 9:45PM. Excited about what might lurk in the chilly waters below we got underway in the morning and headed to pull the traps. Winds, mist and fog shrouded the surrounding peaks and the low cloud ceiling left little contrast between grey blue waters and the low clouds. Straining to spot the pot floats I relied heavily on the GPS as the 6 to 8 foot swells would only allow an occasional glimpse of the floats. Around 1/4 mile from the float I spotted the huge tail of a hump back whale as he plunged into the deep and momentarily my imagination considered the possibility of all nature of whale encounters. Grabbing the float in the now 20 knot winds and driving rain took an extra try as the boat blew off at the last minute leaving me to scramble to get back on station. Meanwhile Kathy was heroically scrambling eggs in the galley making a delicious kale egg and cheese omelet as the building swell and wind chop did it's best to deter our continuing interest in breakfast. Pulling the trap with our power halyard winch makes setting the pots in 350 of water possible as under these conditions it would have taken two very motivated men to haul in the line with the boat being blow by the 20 knot winds and hammered by the swell. At times the power winch would even give out a groan as the boat lifted on a extra big swell. Hauling the line requires quick hands to coil the 450 feet of line into a tub as it spools off the winch in mostly tidy coils. The shrimp trap was a bust with only one pink shrimp. My modified dungeness crab trap (with a new bigger door for tanner crab) held an unlikely catch, a 10 pound halibut! He made his way into the trap, so despite my disappointment in failing to catch a tanner crab we did score a nice halibut. With the fish bled and lines coiled and secure we spent the remainder of our morning and well into the afternoon getting hammered by Southerly winds as we made our way South across Cross Sound. The Gulf of Alaska bared it's teeth and gave us a little growl of wind and waves that slapped us around pretty good putting more green water on our decks and over the house than our rounding of Point Conception last summer. Kathy and I alternated watches as we exchanged stints lying on our settee with our eyes closed to combat the feelings of sea sickness. Yes it was rough! Now in calm waters we are motoring down the Lisianski Inlet toward a town by the name of Pelican. We understand there is a colorful bar there that's not to be missed.

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