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Just 12 months ago Sharry, Sam, Celeste, and I crossed the Pacific to Japan and then continued back to Seattle via the Aleutians. Sharry with Debbie and Andy Howard just before departing for Guam About to leave Honolulu for Guam and Japan Sharry’s Alzheimers was identified in 2019 at the UW Memory and Brain Wellness Center, but I now know that the disease began years before that.  Since her diagnosis, there has been a steady (but not linear)...

After a calm, uneventful two-day Gulf of Alaska crossing, we arrived in Pelican, at the northwest corner of Southeast Alaska. When people talk about cruising Alaska, most are talking about Southeast Alaska. This is the part of Alaska that is easily accessed from Washington State via the Inside Passage--a calm-water route filled with sheltered anchorages, narrow channels, and relatively numerous settlements. Southeast Alaska is also an area where Don, Sharry, and I have spent a...

After a few days in Kodiak, the weather forecast for the 24-hour run to Seward looked nearly perfect. Along the way, many anchorages--particularly those in Kenai Fjords National Park--tempted us. Alas, the calm winds, gentle two-foot swell, pea-soup fog, and eternal daylight enticed us to motor onward to Seward. It's good to leave some anchorages unexplored so we have reason to return, we figured. And the fog would have made it hard to see any...

After leaving spectacular Castle Bay we headed for Geographic Harbor, about 170nm away. This is too far for a single day. We have no cruising guide for this area, but a place called Port Wrangell looked good on the chart--reasonable depths and good protection. It turned out to be a beautiful anchorage: After one night we continued towards Geographic Harbor. We could spend years cruising this coastline, exploring the many anchorages along the way, but we've...

The Alaska Peninsula stretches 500 miles from the mainland to the Aleutian Islands. Scattered along it are several small communities. We don't have time to stop at all of them, but wanted to see one. King Cove was closest to our route, so that's where we stopped. The harbormaster was friendly and the harbor facilities are good. On shore, there's not much--a boatyard to support fish boats, a grocery store, a single restaurant, and a...

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]After a blustery day sitting at anchor in Bay of Islands, we took a break from overnight travel and made a "short" 75 mile hop to Atka Island. The weather was much calmer than the day before, but still moody: Along the way we passed Great Sitkin Island. We'd hoped for clear weather to see 5,710 foot Great Sitkin Volcano as we passed. The weather wasn't perfectly clear, but it brightened enough for us to enjoy...

May 20th was a special day in Hakodate. Baru-Gai was finally back!  Conceived by a local (university assistant turned chef) from Hakodate, this bar-hopping seasonal event occurs across Japan. Please click on the link to learn more: https://www.nippon.com/en/guide-to-japan/gu014051/ Baru-Gai (aka Bar-Gai) posters announcing the event popped up on storefronts and kiosks along with colorful brochures with a map of participating establishments throughout town. It had been 3 years since the last event and Baru-Gai 2023 has...

The passage from Kushiro to Attu, the westernmost point in the USA, is about 1350nm, which takes about six and a half days. Our previous passages were in the trade winds, where the weather is generally quite stable. This passage is most definitely not in the trades and has potential for challenging, variable weather. We watched the forecast for weeks. Once or twice each week, a low pressure system with seriously bad weather--winds in the 50 knot...

Hakodate turned out to be one of our favorite stops in Japan. A big part of that was our moorage, which was right in town. It wasn't at a marina--there was no power, no floating dock, no amenities at all, really. But it was in a charming neighborhood, touristy in a good way. The formerly-industrial area where we moored was full of historic brick buildings that had been carefully restored. Restaurants were just steps away....

After a week in Tokyo, I returned to Starr via train--four trains, to be exact. As I got further from Tokyo and transferred to progressively slower, smaller trains, the other foreigners disappeared. By the time I got to Mikuni, only the conductor and I were aboard. The transition from bustling city to nearly-silent fishing village couldn't have been starker. The next morning we departed Mikuni at first light, not entirely sure where we were going. The...