Tenakee Springs to Pavlof Harbor

We were back at the Party Time Bakery precisely at 8 am when the doors opened. They promised me pancakes today and that was what I had on my mind. Our timing was mostly driven by the fact that the fuel docks open at 10 and we wanted to be there when they turned on the pumps, because the tide would be going down and we wanted all the extra “tide” we could get to avoid the aforementioned bolts and stuff. Karen had the same egg, ham and cheddar breakfast sandwich and my pancakes were just what the doctored ordered for a rainy morning. I ordered a bowl of the corn chowder to go and Karen took a piece of chocolate torte back to the boat. We also made a quick 2nd stop at the Mercantile to grab a few more items.

Arctic Star getting ready to cast of from Tenakee Springs

Tenakee Springs docks sits behind a floating breakwater, but the fetch can still get in.

The fuel docks at Tenakee are not floating. The fuel hose is dropped over the side of the pier. Depending on the tide, that can be a long drop. Opening time, 10am, was only two hours from low tide so not only was the distance from the pier to our decks on the order of 20 feet, but the pilings that are revealed at low tide are barnacle-encrusted with a few protruding metal bits exposed.

In anticipation of the hazards on the pilings, we lined the port side of Arctic Star with every fender (9) on board. As it turned, out the wind was such that we were held off the pilings for most of the 45 minutes it took to take on 400 gallons of #2 diesel.


Bob fuels Arctic Star in the rain

Eve, the fuel mistress at Tenakee, is a doll and helped us through the process, calling out target fuel quantities as we approached our limit. Luckily, we got to the fuel docks just at 10am, and I felt sorry for the boats that were hovering just off the docks as we took on our large load of fuel. However, the $1400 sale probably made the day for the economics of this small town.

I had been admiring the hoodie sweatshirts worn by the staff of Alaskan Seaplanes during our stay at Tenakee. At the Bakery, one of the staff came in for coffee, so I asked if they sold the hoodies. They did and both Karen and I came away with a practical reminder of our pleasant stay at Tenakee.

As you walk the “path/road/main street” on Tenakee, you’ll pass a number of resident dogs lying along the path, each in front of their masters’ doors. Most of they are grey haired older dogs, and most are friendly and are happy if you reach down and pet them because getting up is almost too much for these senior citizens. On our stroll back to the docks, I noticed a large fellow I had seen a couple of times. He looked just like the others I have petted, large, old, part wolf and a bit forlorn. I bent down and as I started to let him give me a smell, he tried to take a bite out of my hand. I was quicker than he was as he bared his teeth and growled, but he was not able to muster the energy to stand and pursue the attack.

We were cold and wet from being out in the rain, as we left the boat for breakfast and then spent the whole time on deck for the fueling process. Once the fenders were stowed and we were underway to Pavlof, we turned up the boat’s heat in an attempt to feel warm and dry.

Pavlof Harbor is a short (15 mile) trip to the northwest of Tenekee, in  Freshwater Bay. We did spot a humpback making his way SE as we rounded the point into Freshwater Bay. Pavlof is known for bear, so that influenced our decision to make it an overnight stop. We arrived at low tide, perfect bear viewing time. However, we never did see any of these elusive critters. There is also an interesting waterfall at the head of the stream that runs into the bay. Normally we would launch the dinghy and go exploring, but the previous time we spent out in the rain earlier today dampened our desire to brave the wet and cold yet again.

As I was preparing dinner, I spotted Northern Songapproaching the Harbor. I made a call to the bridge and we exchanged greetings with Mike and a few updates on travels and bear sightings. We had not talked with them since we visited the boat in Port McNeill last September.

Northern Song sits in Pavlof Harbor

The rain finally stopped as we went to bed and the harbor was flat. About 2:30am, I was awaked by the sound of the wind blowing. I made my way to the helm and checked the wind direction and speed. It was south at 10 to 12 knots. We were holding well and the winds were as forecast, so it was back to bed.