North Bight, Neka Bay to Hoonah

(Karen writes) We arose to see that our “neighbors” were up and going early. The black Nordic Tug Augenblick had already departed. Some of the others (Pursuit and In Search Of) were headed out of the bay. We had breakfast and watched as the folks from Miz Giz (of the broken generator) and his friend on Xanadupulled up their crab pots before departing for Juneau and repairs. Luckily for us, they didn’t want to deal with fresh crab while headed to Juneau…so they dinghied over to us and offloaded 6 large and lovely Dungeness crab. We were really happy about that. The crabs were really fresh…we offloaded them into a bucket and one tried to make an escape before Bob could shell them. Bob won the battle, of course! Bob’s new name is “Crab Slayer”, which he earned dealing with these crab. Despite being from the East Coast, neither of us has ever caught or “slayed” a crab. It was pretty funny to watch. Nonetheless, Bob did a great job (should I say “killer job??”) and soon the crabs were boiling away as we weighed anchor and decided to snoop a bit around Neka Bay before we headed for Hoonah.

Now What?

Bob about to dispatch another crab

Chimney Rock Island is just outside North Bight. You'll see this formation a lot in this area if you look close.

We left the North Bight and saw spouting near where we had seen it the day before, so we headed over to take a look. The whale was fairly shy, so we didn’t spend too much time trying to watch. It was a bit misty as we headed for Hoonah.

The good news was that a Celebrity Cruise Lines Ship was anchored at Icy Strait Point, which meant that if we got to Hoonah in a timely fashion, we could head out on foot to “ISP” and see what the cruise ship people get to do when they disembark. As we entered Hoonah, we were assigned a slip from Harbor Master Paul and we quickly got settled and headed off to see ISP.

There is a shuttle to ISP from the inner harbor – you buy tickets ($5 one way! Ouch!) at the Misty Bay Lodge. Still, because we wanted to get to ISP before the cruise ship departed, we gladly hopped aboard for the 1.6 mile ride. When we arrived at ISP, the cruise ship mania was winding down…it was about 1:45 and the last tender back to the cruise ship was at 2:30. This meant that we could look around without encountering large masses of people which suited us just fine. ISP was fun to walk around, and we saw the zip line (the world’s longest they claim) and though about it for a few minutes before the high price tag (Over $120) turned us off. It’s nicely done, ISP, and there are lots of shops and things to entice cruise shippers to part with their hard earned cash. We helped the Hoonah economy when Bob bought a frozen yogurt. We sat outside and watched the people returning to their ship, and saw a whale quite close bubble feeding. Bob thinks this whale is hired by the cruise ships to be part of the planned entertainment. Me? I’m not so sure. Still, it was fun to watch.

We take a stroll along the ISP boardwalk

The ravens are everywhere. These guys are looking for handouts.

Tourist time

As the last of the Celebrity Cruise folks from the Millennium were leaving, we started walking around.  Another Celebrity Cruise ship, the Mercury, came in before the Millennium left, ensuring that ISP would remain open until 9pm or so. We timed it perfectly, between the crowds from either ship.

About as close to a cruise ship as we're likely to get

Only one road in town, but the bureaucrats placed a sign just in case

We walked back to town and stopped to pick up a few provisions at the Hoonah Trading Company. It was well stocked other than with protein.  Then we headed back to Arctic Star to “pick” the crab that had been boiled earlier. As the mist was pretty much done, we put two chairs on the back deck and grabbed crab “crackers” and “picks” and got to work. It took us 1 hour and 2 beers to pick all the crab.  We filled a large bowl with the succulent meat.

Time to pick the crab

Then we went back to Misty Bay Lodge to enjoy the famed Halibut Pizza, which was good but outrageously filling. We walked the docks and talked to the folks aboard the Nordic Tug Augenblick, Sherrie and Bill from Anacortes, WA. They were super nice, and we enjoyed meeting them.

Misty Bay Lodge is the home of the not to be missed Halibut Pizza

The docks at Hoonah

Fisherman are a breed to themselves and they are proud of it.