Riding blissfully free at 60 degrees north

Sitting on a broad, sun-warmed pebble beach, I gazed out at sweeping mountains with glaciers hanging in their valleys. Yahtzee sat just offshore in a sea so clear I could pick out every rock and piece of seagrass below. The boys splashed and swam in the water, jumping in and out, laughing, and I couldn’t help but revel in the moment. It was perfect in so many ways.

When we thought that Southeast Alaska was about as good as it could get, we were wrong. Over the past two plus weeks, Kodiak Island then the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound have upped the ante. Days like these have made us feel as though we’ve shed our Alaska cruiser’s training wheels and are riding blissfully free now, unencumbered with the wind in our hair. Life is here and now.

Getting here

After landfall in Kodiak City and then spending a week enjoying the fruits of town and a few incredible anchorages, our sights got set farther north towards the Peninsula. With summer at this high latitude (60 degrees north) beginning its unfortunate downward spiral, we decided to keep moving 160 miles to the north to the Seward area and then into Prince William Sound to the east.

Sailing north of Kodiak Island on a grey day.

A fight with a wicked and unexpected northerly in the middle of the night was a hurdle along the way, but we finally decided on an anchorage when we entered Resurrection Bay near Seward. Hours later and with tired everything, I stood behind Jill and the boys on a beach in Thumb Cove. Our fire crackled with warmth and they laughed and played in the evening light. It was a beautiful end to an up and down Monday.

Thumb Cove in all its beauty.

Seward was another chance to do laundry, take showers and provision, but we didn’t know much about the town when we arrived. Wow is it breathtaking! Mountains shoot straight from the sea on nearly all sides. Glacial waters run through the marina and the picturesque city of over 2,000 residents is anoutdoorsman’s paradise. That and it has a quaint downtown, good brewery and friendly locals.

The town of Seward nestled under tall mountains.

Onward to Prince William Sound

It took some coaxing, but we finally ripped ourselves from Seward Harbor and headed south to another nearby anchorage. After some fishing and deliberation about the weather, we dropped the anchor to the north of Fox Island Spit and backed in near shore. Jill and Porter found a huge dead stump half buried in the gravel and creatively slung a shore tie through the roots. We were set.

Yahtzee settled in at Fox Island Spit.

The sun was out in full force by then and, bobbing just boatlengths from shore, we made for the beach like cruisers possessed. To be sure, it had been a while since we’d had this much warm sun and we were raring and ready to take full advantage. Between swimming (in wetsuits), playing catch with the football, paddling the crystal clear waters and making up games with driftwood — all in the shadows of tall mountain peaks, mind you — it was a day that we’ll long remember.

Porter takes a dip.
Beach Boys.

From Resurrection Bay, we turned east to make our way towards Prince William Sound. The sun continued its splendid residency over the area and not but five minutes after dropping a hootchie (fishing lure) in the water, the reel was zinging, I was yelling “FISH ON!” and Jill quickly had a decent sized coho salmon in the net and then filleted on deck . Dinner for days.

If the previous day had been our idea of paradise, this one was poised to give it a run for its money. Finding a similarly tranquil and scenic anchorage, we once again headed for shore. With the afternoon warming, the water was all too inviting and we made many mad family dashes into the icy yet refreshing water.  Dinner was soon on the mind and when the thought of leaving the beach to cook on board came up, I said, “Why don’t we just get a beach fire going and cook the salmon over it.” That’s all it took to cap off yet another magical day in Alaska.

A perfect evening for a salmon dinner on the beach.

We woke the next morning to a thick blanket of fog and I instantly knew our gorgeous weather had turned. With thoughts of sunshine and crisp mountain views still on the mind, we motored through the gloom into Bainbridge Passage. And when it lifted enough for us to not only see where we were going, and other boats if there had been any, but to catch glimpses of immense glaciers emerging from tall peaks, meandering down to the water, orcas spouting and a blanket of tall islands spread out in front of us, I knew we’d made it. The weather didn’t matter. This is Prince William Sound.

4 thoughts on “Riding blissfully free at 60 degrees north

  1. Looks and sounds beautiful Andy. My Brother in Homer always talks about these places. The water sounds like it is unbelievably clear.
    You’re so lucky and blessed. Hi to Jill. Northward you go.

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