During the time we were in town our boats and gear were kindly stored by Juneau Outdoor Centre.

Butch at Alaska Discovery was kind enough to receive and hold a care package (NZ chocolate!) sent by our parents.

We left Juneau on June 30th but badly timed our departure out through Auke Bay via Gastineau Channel. After 20 mins paddling we were high and dry. Laying out the tarp on the wet bank we took a 40 min nap, making the most of the situation.

We called in at the Point Retreat lighthouse on Admiralty Island to visit Matthew Brock - one of the anthropologists we had met at Alava Bay near Ketchikan. He was spending time over summer helping restore the lighthouse and convert it into a B&B and museum.

 
 
   
 

Arriving in the afternoon we were able to help Matthew and co-worker Fred with some paint scraping for a couple of hours, gaining a huge appreciation for their efforts and the task they had assigned themselves.

After leaving Pt Retreat our route took us south along Chatham Strait but only as far as Funter Bay we gave up battling strong headwinds. Making the most of the shelter within the bay we explored Funter Bay before setting up camp on a small islet at the mouth of the bay. We remained pinned down there for the next 2 days as southerlies continued to blow.

Ken, Erin and Kevin took pity on us and invited us to an awesome dinner and much appreciated sauna at Ken's beautiful holiday home/retreat on the south side of Funter Bay. Ever the generous hosts they even provided taxi service to and from our little islet.

Eventually we gave up waiting for the south winds to die and set out for Tenakee Springs. After nine hours of paddling along the Admiralty shoreline we set out across Chatham Strait on the seven mile crossing to North Passage Point on Chicagof Island. For 2 1/2 hours we quartered through 5-6 ft toppling and hissing wind waves before finally reaching Chicagof Island. Our hearts were in our mouths when a large cruise ship approached from the north, bearing down on us before eventually passing safely in front of us. Looking back we then saw an Alaskan ferry had been passing unobserved behind us. We had to wonder - did they see us?

Tenakee Hot Springs was a neat town to visit. With no roads the only means of transport around town are by foot, bicycle and ATVs. The hot springs appealed to both natives and early pioneers as an ideal spot to wait out the winter. Although now a popular retirement spot Tenakee is still relatively untarnished by the hustle and bustle of the tourist trade - the type of laidback and friendly town we were expecting to find in Alaska.

We enjoyed hanging out in Tenakee for a couple of days, a place where no one batted an eyelid at two hairy/scruffy kayakers and we met many interesting locals and visitors. A particularly enjoyable evening was spent over dinner and coffee with Bill and Maureen Eberhardt where we learned a lot about local history and Kev got to paint a calling card on their visitors wall.

We left Tenakee mid afternoon on >>>>>. It was our intention to make the most of a high high tide at 1 am to have a short portage at the end of Tenakee Inlet.

Well so much for good intentions, headwinds delayed our arrival until after dark (11pm) and we were unable to locate the portage trailhead and opted instead to set up camp on a small inlet. The next morning brought a low high tide but the portage was incredibly obvious and we embarked on what eventuated to be a four hour ordeal of unloading, portaging, loading, paddling away, running dry, unloading, portaging, loading, paddlig away, running dry, carrying fully loaded boats and finally paddling away into Port Frederick !

At Eagle Point on Chicagof Island we were treated to an awesome display of orca acrobatics as a large pod of transients battered a sea lion to death. We watched this awe-inspiring and intimidating display of nature for over an hour but had to leave before they finished playing with their food. Ominous skies and the earlier forecast heralding an approaching squall had us rushing across Icy Strait. Once again "Riders of the Storm" became lodged in our mind as the winds increased at our backs and heavy rain and hail began to fall.

Landing on "Pleasant" Island we took shelter under some rocky outcrops as the squall passed. Clear skies and calm winds then accompanied us as we made our way on to Gustavus. Adding to the sense of occasion a large humpback rode shotgun with us as we rounded Pleasant Island and approached Gustavus Harbour. A magical day!

Attending a public meeting on the Tongass Forest Initiative we there coincidentally met up with Michelle Sebern from Glacier Bay Kayaks who had agreed to store a food drop for us.

While camped at the Gustavus dock we met up with Benson Isley, a young kayaker from Bellingham who was doing a solo trip along the Inside Passage. With Garth being forced to take time off the water due to ill health, Kev was able to team up with Benson and the two of them set off to explore the West Arm of Glacier Bay.

While wandering the spread-out Gustavus township, Garth had the good fortune to be hitch a ride with local resident Tom Warner who then offered him a comfortable home to recuperate in. Thanks to Tom, Jose and Delphine and ..... for their kindness.

One of those "who would have thought" moments - a Kiwi resident in Canada playing scrabble in French in an Alaskan town with a Quebecois local and the schoolgirl she was tutoring.

Kev and Benson had a great time exploring the West Arm, encountering bears, moose, humpbacks, and viewing the majestic, calving Lamplugh & Johns Hopkins Glaciers.

Meeting up again at Bartlett Cove, Benson left us and headed for Sitka while we explored the East Arm, the highlights being the wildlife encountered in the Beardslee Islands, the birdlife in Adams Inlet and the beautiful scenery of McBride Inlet.

 
No way through! Douglas Channel
     
   
Campsite on islet at Funter Bay
     
   
Main Highway at Tenakee Springs
 
     
   
Ahhh, the joy of portaging. Tenakee Inlet - Port Frederick
 
     
 
Bull orca at Eagle Point, Chicagof Island
 
Sunset on Fairweather range, Glacier Bay
 
Johns Hopkins Inlet, Glacier Bay
 
McBride Inlet, Glacier Bay
       
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