Irene exploring “Birthplace of the Winds”

Peninsula scenery 2

As we’ve been exploring the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutians, we’ve learned that around here, it’s all about weather, weather, and weather. Small, fast moving, but intense lows barrel through the area every few days. And this is nice summertime weather, we can imagine the winter storms are fierce!

Low pressure drop FP

Here our barometer is showing a nasty 5.62 hPa drop in 3 hours. It’s very windy during these drops, and depending on exactly where the low tracks (always W to E, sometimes more northerly or southerly) a wind shift of 90 degrees or so can be expected over the course of the blow. If you are in open water, a very confused nasty sea will quickly build up, combining waves from all the different sectors the wind blows from with whatever swell already exists in the area. In islands or close to shore, there will be protection from waves but not the wind– the treeless vegetation and steep hillsides just don’t stop the wind.
These facts dominate many aspects of moving a sailboat through the area. We’ve adopted the local strategy of motoring daily and anchoring (or sometimes docking if a harbor is handy) mostly every night.
When a low approaches, which is announced by the barometer even when we can’t get a weather forecast on the radio, we stay put for a day or two until the worst of it blow overs.

King Cove Harbor

False Pass Harbor

Irene at False Pass

departing FP harbor

The harbors are interesting, sometimes full of fishing boats in between “openers” and sometimes almost completely empty of boats. The docks are always nice and strong, and villages are friendly and picturesque.
The locals at one village, False Pass, warned us not to walk without a firearm – apparently a couple of young dangerous bears were frequenting the area.

False Pass walk ready

King Cove boardwalk

False Pass hydrant

We never saw bears in town, but at the next anchorage we saw quite a few. Whales and seabirds abound.



Whale sendoff Kodiak

On clear days we’ve seen the great volcanoes this area is famous for. No eruptions during our time here …


As sailboat plans are written in sand and subject to tides and wind:
We’ve had a change of plans for this season – False Pass is a turnaround point for us. We’re heading back up the Alaska Peninsula. The offshore hops and open ocean have revealed an engineering issue (hydraulic cylinder) that needs addressing before venturing into wilder country.

9 thoughts on “Irene exploring “Birthplace of the Winds”

  1. Just checking in again and see Kelvin and I missed seeing you in Homer by about a week! For fun, stop in at the Salty Dawg (on the spit) for a beer! 🙂

  2. Hey Peter and Ginger! Just checking in to see if we would be trying to see you in Nome. Thanks for the update and great photos! It looks like, whatever change of plans have to occur, you have had an amazing trip so far. Gorgeous pics 🙂 And we are glad you are being safe with yourselves. Julie and Kelvin

  3. Your photos are stunning!! What camera are you using? And is it you, Ginger, who is taking them all?
    Keep the info coming, very fascinating!

  4. Sorry you hear you must change your plans. Where to now after you have solved the engineering problem? We leave this Friday with Ed and Jean Norton for six to seven weeks in the Broughtons. Very tame compared with your adventure. Safe sailing and we all miss you at F & G docks.

  5. The photo of your boat next to the Julia Sue is intensely beautiful. It brings home that wonderful feeling of sailing in Alaska, so enticing; but potentially so harsh and unforgiving…and S/V Irene looks like it belongs there with that great new doghouse. Good for you guys!

  6. That was quite a bomb you dropped at the end! Maybe we are just out of the loop, but we weren’t prepared for the decision to delay the plan. Tough, but we know you’ll make the best of it. Let us know when to meet you in Glacier Bay. We will help you eat some of those stores!

  7. Hi you two! So good to hear from you and see where you are. Wishing you lots of flow/happiness which you have “earned”.
    Much love,

  8. Gorgeous photos!!! Love the beautiful scenery, wildlife, and the Big Game Hunter! 😉 With all that wild weather, it’s good have strong docks and safe harbors. I have seen so many scary shots of that area in the winter. Glad you are enjoying it’s “softer side”. Thanks for making multiple hikes to share photos and blog. xoxo Love, E

  9. Great photos, what camera and lens are you using ?? Nice to hear form you, keep the postings coming when you can and hope the Hydraulic fix is easy.

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