Up earlier than one would ever like after the previous days lengthy travel. We have rallied for our next leg of the journey. The hotel van takes us to the ferry docks, where we will catch the Chenega ferry to Angoon. Angoon is located at the mouth of Mitchell’s Bay on Admiralty Island, which has the highest bear (as in Grizzly) to human ratio of any place in Alaska…awesome! My father has been fishing out of this shrinking Indian village for at least a quarter century and has made good friends with the locals, and fishing lodges. He has his own boat, an 18′ Boston Whaler that he likes to tell us time and time again that if you sawed it in 3 pieces the boat would still float (in pieces of course). Why you would want to do this to a perfectly good boat, and/or how this became the test and selling point of this vessel I will never know. It is however, a strudy and great boat to fish off of, as we did for so many years out of Santa Cruz when you could nab salmon a plenty. The best part of having access to your own boat, is that you can go out where and when you want. Without fail, we tend to out fish most of the commercial boats, whose customers pay a pretty penny for the opportunity to fish for Alaskan salmon and halibut. As a result, the commercial guys tend to keep an eye on the ‘White Whale’ (our boat’s name) when the bite is on.
We purchase our tickets (RT) and board the ferry. Today’s trip will take about 2.5 hours to Angoon, as this is the first stop on the Chenega’s route. Our return trip will take nearly 4 times as long. As we sit in the lounge area sipping our coffee and eating out Hostess crumby donettes it feels as if we are slowly meandering our way down the Chatham Strait, when in fact we are charging right along at an amazing clip.
Four roaring engines accompanied by massive props push us through the steely cold blue water leaving a bright white frothy trail that can be seen for miles, the Ferry’s snail trail. Scatted throughout the passenger compartment, the kicks dejour appear to be gumboots and hikey shoes. The locals, or seasoned ferry travelers have come prepared with quilts, blankets and pillows and stretch out across the seats and floor space in blissful slumber passing the time whilst being delivered to their intended port O’ call. While outside on deck, we observe pods of dolphins surface and exhale.
We arrive unceremoniously in Angoon where my parents pick us up. Then it’s off to the general store for fishing licenses with Just enough time to drop our bags and head out for a half day on the water.