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Alaska Homesteading Update #3

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Our little guest cabin now has quite a sweet outdoor space with its fire pit, benches, serving counter and cowboy hot tub (heated by the fire pit). It’s very inviting and we spend as much time there as we can.  The house itself got new stain and an arctic entryway, which helped during the cold winters that we spent here during Covid isolation times.  We bought a tractor last fall and a mill this spring so we could use the trees on the property to make our improvements.  Doug dropped a few trees and milled a bunch of lumber while I was recuperating with my broken arm. We are now in the process of building a pole barn for all of our equipment. Next spring we will work on an addition to the house. It’s really fun to watch our little Homestead grow!

The Art of Helming

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Because of my injured arm, I have been at the helm this season and not pulling any fish out of the ocean. Driving is not quite as easy as it sounds. The main thing is to stay in the right water depth - I don’t want to get too shallow or we will drag gear on the bottom and lose gear. But I also don’t want to be too deep, especially when we’re king fishing, because we want to be as close to the bottom as we can. I’m always looking for the path through the right water depth, usually between the 20 fathom and the 50 fathom lines. That’s number one.  Secondly, and just as important, I don’t want to hit anything. There are always logs floating around and you don’t want to hit one or have it hit your gear. Most frustrating is the kelp. Kelp is everywhere and if it gets tangled in the gear it can impact the way we fish so you want to get away from the biggest clumps. Even one or two stragglers can get stuck in the gear and it’s a pain when you’re trying to pull the fish in to untangle it from

Where are the King Salmon?

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The very first pull of the first day of summer fishing season was a big King Salmon! It looked like it was going to be a good start to the season, but then the lines got quiet.  It’s been unusually slow everywhere from what we’ve heard. There just aren’t many kings around and the troll fleet is dispersed everywhere looking for fish. Usually the July opener is only a few days for kings but we are almost three weeks in and rumor has it we are only at 50% of what they expected us to catch.  9pm Bay of Pillars Doug and I have been cruising around looking for fish. We’ve found a few here and there but we’ve also seen quite a bit of southern Chatham Strait, lower Sumner Strait and into Davidson Inlet and Sea Otter Sound.    Through the Spanish Islands Into Sumner Strait

What a Whale Show!

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Our first day of fishing there were whales everywhere on the grounds- bubble feeding, breaching, slapping their tails.  There were bait balls of fish all around us and lots of activity, but the whales were the real show.  It led to one of the most exciting and/or scary events I’ve had in a long time. Doug was in the pit fishing and I was driving the boat, watching a group of whales bubble feeding off in the distance. Suddenly two whales surfaced heading straight for the boat on our port side. I immediately turned to the starboard and slowed the boat so that they could cross in front of us, as obviously they hadn’t seen us. Two more surfaced, and then two more! They were moving quickly, straight across our bow. I had to throw the boat into neutral to avoid driving right into them. They crossed about 10 feet in front of us! One lifted his head, took one look at us and immediately dove recognizing how close we were to a collision. Basically when I looked over the bow, it was just whale -

Magical Ice

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We had a beautiful ride down from Juneau through Stevens Passage. I love going by the Tracy Arm / Holkham Bay area. There were so many icebergs and they’re so beautiful! Their blue color is so multi-faceted and unique. I love how surreal they look and all the different shapes. It was sunny and lovely and a really nice way to start our season. Good weather, beautiful surroundings and magical chunks of glacier floating by.

2022 Season Begins and a 2021 Recap

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A Good Morning in Haines Alaska  We left our beautiful mountains-to-sea town of Haines, Alaska this morning and headed out for our 20 22  summer fishing season. It was a glorious sunny  morning and the all-day trip to Juneau was smooth and  lovely.  Both Doug and I were looking forward to  getting back out on the water and pulling up those big  King and Coho salmon – especially after the 2021  season we had.  2021 Recap 2021 was a good year for most trollers – there were fish to be caught and a nice price point per pound. Unfortunately, Doug hurt his ribs right before the start of the season so we didn’t fish as hard as we usually do. We started late and had to take a couple weeks off mid-summer for healing. It was a different kind of season for us but still delivered spectacular sights and long days of wilderness fishing. We often spend much of the season fishing in the Gulf of Alaska – from Cross Sound south along Baranof Island. Due to our adjustments for the season we chose to stay

Salmon Season Closes – Let's Fish for Halibut!

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Salmon season closed on September 20th, so we decided to go long lining for personal catch halibut. Doug is pictured here with our catch. Our salmon season wrapped up nicely in that we actually saw the sun for several days outside of Cross Sound. The wind was cold, but this year was so grey and rainy that having sunshine was a welcome change. We stuck it out fishing the outside waters to make a season out of it (after our delayed start due to Covid). Again, we were comparatively lucky in that fishing is a socially distanced lifestyle so although impacted, we had a more “normal” summer than many in the US this year. We aren’t sure what winter holds for us this year. Our original plan was to drive thru Canada to the Lower 48, buy a sailboat and sail it to Mexico for some warm weather – but currently neither Canada nor Mexico want US citizens in their country due to our poor ability to control this pandemic. We’ll likely stay in Alaska unless things improve down there. Winter can be harsh