Many of our members are aware of the long standing relationship between the Sound Sailing and SCS. SCS has partnered multiple times with Captain Blain and Monique Anderson, the two-person crew of Sound Sailing’s S/V BOB. Over the last few years, SCS has worked with Blain and Monique to draw awareness to the wild and magical places that surround SE Alaska. Just in case you forgot, here is a refresher from one of the BOB’s sunniest trips in 2014:
On our way to Surprise Lake
From July 31 through August 6, 2014 the S/V BOB set sail to retrace the route of a previous trip that was featured in the film “The Meaning of Wild”. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the epic 265,000 acres of the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness, all from the comfort of the BOB. The BOB is a 50’ sloop sailboat, complete with all the creature comforts of home and queen sized sleeping berths.
I had never been on a sailboat before, and it was a trip beyond my wildest dreams, and also coincided with my birthday (zing!). I showed up on the morning of July 31st and got to meet my sailing companions. In addition to Blain and Monique, I was joined by Mary Therese and Peter, residents of Sitka for over 35 years who possessed some of the most impressive facts, stories and knowledge about gathering local foods in Southeast Alaska that I had ever experienced. Our other shipmates were Brenda from Alberta, Canada and Lynne from New Zealand, friends who met up for the trip and their first visit to Southeast Alaska.
The covered cockpit and miles of deck space
As if all the excitement of being on an amazing sailing vessel and meeting people from around the world wasn’t enough, we had perfect weather. Not unheard for a day or two in these parts, but a solid of week of it is pretty rare. This allowed us to go on long, breathtaking hikes. We hiked to Surprise Lake while in Kalinin Bay, and because we had worked up a sweat we donned our Alaskan bathing suits and took a dip. We spent evenings and mornings eating outside and watching bears cruise the beaches while we dined on fresh seafood caught from the BOB, including a king salmon that Peter reeled in for us one day. At night we anchored up in sheltered bays and were lulled to sleep…after a rousing game of cards. There is a wonderful tradition on the BOB, nightly card games with the winner’s scorecard displayed on their cabin door. I don’t mean to brag, but I should note that my cabin door was adorned with a scorecard on two nights of the trip.
The crew checks out an old WWII cannon on George Island
That was a typical day on the BOB during our trip, just change some details, rinse (in a lake, a hot spring, or the ocean) and repeat. We visited White Sulfur hot springs, hiked to them and had a nice soak. We hiked to an amazing waterfall at Goulding Bay, dodging bear scat at every turn. We stopped by George Island and visited WWII remnants. We jigged for halibut, we set crab pots and had lots of conversations about wilderness, Southeast Alaska, and the rich history of this place. Between all of my traveling companions I learned so much about what was around me and how different people value wilderness, solitude, and the landscapes that are so special and unique to Southeast Alaska.
Peter working hard for our dinner
Among the numerous wildlife we saw, I tried to jot down a few. Many of these can be viewed from home in Sitka and other places around Southeast, but the thrill of viewing them from the BOB and in a seemingly faraway place made them all the more exotic: Brown Bears (at least 9), Humpback Whales, Sea otters, Sea lions (swimming solo, and in a massive wailing group on Sea Lion Rock), Harbor porpoises, Tufted puffins, Chestnut Chikadees, Sitka Black Tailed Deer, and my favorite - the Banana Slug (aka King of the Tongass).
My amazing, homemade birthday cake aboard the S/V BOB
To start your adventure, contact Captain Blain and Monique by emailing them at: [email protected]. Here are a few quotes and quips from a week’s long trip through the wilderness:
Blain: “There are a lot of layers to SE, it’s easier to play Lewis and Clark here, but it’s still nothing like it once was.”
Monique: “I love to forage in and through the wild. We had great weather this trip which is always great, but when the weather is rough boy do you realize how small you are out here.”
Mary Therese: “It’s amazing that you can experience and see so much packed into this tiny, narrow corridor of the world, but the wilderness, to me, is when I get into the woods”
Peter: “ I’m struck by the poignancy of the people that lived here. The remnants of a different time, the isolation and the human interface. It was truly wild then and untouched”
Brenda: “Wilderness is nature at its basics. It’s never scripted and always fascinating”
Lynne: “I love the mountains connecting to the sea, going places where there aren’t a lot of people…makes you want to take your clothes off!”