Thursday 31 July – Trident Bay

Position: 54 08.57 N 165 33.15 W
At anchor Trident Bay
Wind: North west F3 gentle breeze
Weather: mostly foggy

Once again I answered the call of the five o'clock alarm, and once again I
ignored it. I looked outside and we were surrounded in a shroud of thick
white fog, and there was no wind. At this early hour I needed little
convincing that the bunk was the right place for me and RC.

I arose for a second time second day running, at a very civilise hour which
I will not divulge, enjoyed a hot breakfast, or perhaps I should say brunch,
of baked beans and two fried eggs, while contemplating the plan for what was
left of the day. As I pondered it occurred to me that I could give the Akun
Strait a shot on the second slack water period in the day, and there was an
advantage in so doing in that once through to the other side the tide would
be flooding rather than ebbing which would set Sylph up the Avatanak Strait,
which was indeed the direction I wished to proceed in. The timing was such
that I needed to be at narrows of the Akun Strait at 1515 precisely. The
narrows were four and a half miles away, an hour of motoring, so allowing
half an hour to recover the anchor, that meant starting to weigh at 1345,
much more civilised than a five o'clock start.

Which is what I did. Once aweigh I found I was a little ahead of schedule
and as a light breeze was blowing I stopped the engine and sailed to the
northern entrance to the Akun Strait. We had departed Akutan Bay in sunshine
but out of the bay fog rolled in obscuring everything. Thank goodness for
GPS. We held a light breeze but as we approached the shallow and narrowest
part of the Strait I found that the flood was already against us and that we
were not making any headway. The current was only going to get stronger so I
thought it best to flash up the BRM in order to get us through the narrowest
part of the strait and into deeper and slower moving water on the other side
before we felt the full strength of the flood stream which was likely to get
up to over five knots.

Thus we motored through the Strait without seeing any hint of the shore. In
the thick fog all we could see were nervous tufted puffins that would swim
quickly away, casting an anxious glance over their shoulders, their large
orange bills flashing in the foggy light as they tried to decide what it was
that was intruding upon their territory, whether to keep on swimming, to
take off and fly, or to duck down and dive. Most chose the last of the three
options as the best means of escape, presumably the safest and also
requiring the least expenditure of effort, a criterion with which I am very
sympathetic.

Once clear of Akun Strait the current eased as expected, the wind freshened
just a little and we were able to stop the engine and sail some more. We
managed to sail over to the other side of Avatanak Strait and approached
Rootok Island by which time the wind had veered into the north east, a
headwind that required us to tack. The current was helping us by this time
but the wind was fading and it was clear that we were not going to make the
goal I had hoped for for the night, namely Welcome Bay on Tigalda Island,
still some twenty miles away. Not to worry, our bows were pointing towards
Trident Bay on Akun Island. I had read up on Trident Bay in the "US Coast
Pilot" and it had recommended the western most cove within the bay as a good
small craft anchorage. It was only five miles away, so I decided to make for
there instead. The wind and tide was initially favourable so we continued to
sail for a little while, but as we approached the entrance the wind faded so
it was on with the BRM and down with the sails and we motored through the
fog into the bay. Once inside the bay the fog cleared and the western cove
could be clearly seen. As we got closer I was surprised to see a house, a
large shed, a tractor and two white horse on the shore. It must have been a
farm and thoughts crossed my mind of paying the household a visit on the
morrow. As we got closer in to the cove however, I could also see what
looked like dense kelp. This had not been mentioned in the pilot, nor was it
marked on the chart. I ended up motoring into it to see how thick it was and
Sylph came to rest amongst its thick ropey fronds. Clearly this was not
going to be secure holding. There were two more coves to choose from so I
motored clear of the kelp and turned towards the northern part of the bay.
As we passed the rock off the headland in between the western cove and the
middle cove I could see into the middle cove and that it appeared free of
kelp, so I decided to try there instead.

As we entered the bottom shoaled rapidly down to five meters. I brought
Sylph to dead slow and we crept in a little ways more, stopped, then dropped
anchor. It was completely calm and the water very clear so I was able to see
the anchor sitting on the bottom with its chain all laid out. The bottom was
dark sand with just the odd bit of kelp. Kelp likes to attach to rocks and
is often a clear warning of dangerous reefs in these cold waters. It looks
like it should be a good anchorage for the night.

All is well.