It rained all last night with and occasional wind gust to 17 knots, but Telita’s ground tackle held us both in place.
The morning greeted us with low ceilings and continued rain. No complaints. We cast off from Telita at 7:48, after having told Lance we were headed for Bettles Lagoon rather than with the fleet to see the College Glaciers unless the day became sunny.
About 6-7 Dalls Porpoise played in our bow for 10 minutes as we rounded Eaglek Island. Karen donned her foul weather gear and made her way in the rain to the bow to play with them. The pass was a bit tricky so I stayed at the helm, much as I wanted to take the GoPro camera and get some more footage of the Dalls from water level.
The seas were choppy until we entered Ester Passage. There we passed a handful of fishing boats, mostly seiners, making way to their next port of call. Many bow pickers were at the narrow exit of Exter Passage into Port Wells.
The fleet is planning a 12-14 hour day going up to see all the college glaciers. We’re both tired and given the reduced ceilings and visibility, as we entered the lumpy sees of Port Wells with wind on the beam, we made the call to take the day “off” and go directly to Bettles. Telita decided to follow our lead, and we watched Deception and Patos’ AIS signals disappear up College Fiord. The fleet may join us at Bettles tonight, or we will meet up with them tomorrow to go see the Barry and Harriman Glaciers in Harriman Fiord.
The narrow entry into Bettles was a nail biter due to it being so shallow. We saw 1.6 feet on the sounder. It may have been eel grass, but we were on high alert and decided that we would never enter Bettles again on anything other than a +4.5’ tide (we were at +3).
Inside we found a lovely round basin – a very picturesque spot, with hanging glaciers to the Southwest and mountain meadows to the North. Very nice 360 degree views. The constant rain this afternoon made the waterfalls come even more alive. Everywhere you looked there was another rush of water from the mountains into the bay.
I worked on photos for the blog and Karen took a nap on the settee. We enjoyed our peaceful afternoon. Our departed was planned for 4pm to catch the high tide. We've been experiencing minus tides, so if we did not get out of the bay this afternoon it would be either 5:30am or 12:30pm before we could safely pass over the shallows at the entrance. Our plan is to make a 9 mile run over to Granite Bay (a different one than from a few days ago) and stage for tomorrow trip to the Harriman glacier.
Bettles is still a bit of a conundrum. We left Bettles on a +11 tide, and saw 9.9 feet on the sounder. It’s definitely a place to be careful about entering.
It was still gray and rainy as we entered Granite Bay. There were two boats at anchor already, the Nordhavn Samba that overwinters in Kodiak, and a Nordic Tug. We found a decent spot and just chilled out in the calm but uninspiring weather. A very calm night.