Tolstoi Bay and Exchange Cove

Ketchikan Harbor during the day.

We left Ketchikan and the epic rain Tuesday morning after fueling up, heading for Tolstoi Bay on Prince of Wales Island. We had to cross Clarence Strait to get there, and conditions were just a bit snotty, with 15 kt winds from the southwest creating a bit of swell up the long fetch of the strait that was right on the beam. As we got across into the lee of Kasaan Peninsula, the wind dropped and seas flattened out. Did I mention that it was raining? Rounding Tolstoi Point, we saw several fishing boats working the banks, and also saw several shrimp pots dropped along the bay. This was looking promising. Entering the West Cove, we found a couple of cabins on floats in the NE corner, but still plenty of room to anchor.

The floating cabins in Tolstoi bay – taken near sunset when the sun came out!

We set up the shrimp pots and took them out. The other pots around seemed to be in really deep water, more than 400’, and we weren’t sure that we had enough line. So we dropped ours in slightly shallower water. By this time it was raining hard, and we wound up getting pretty wet, despite our foul weather gear.  

We had a very nice dinner aboard, serving up the King salmon that was given to us by a local commercial fisherman that bought our previous boat. He paid us a visit to Ketchikan and told us a bit about the area and his experiences over decades as a fisherman.  We later heard that it is the custom that the first King Salmon caught in the season is not too be sold – it is shared with friends, and the carcass fed to an eagle.

Anyway, early the next morning, I went out to check the pots, and… nothing. Well, not quite. I think there were 2 in one pot, and 1 in the other. I re-baited, moved them to different spots, and hoped for the best. Not much luck… half a dozen in one, bone in the other. Fortunately, Sarah and Ted did better… landing a couple of dozen.

Low tide shoreline in Tolstoi – I love the layer cake look of the shore at low tide.

Meanwhile, it was a beautiful day. The sun was out, and there was no wind. We left Tolstoi Bay around noon and headed up to Exchange Cove off Kasheverof Passage. It was a big, beautiful bay, empty save for one other boat.

Looking into Exchange Cove, you can barely see the one other boat off on the right
Seal checking us out as we anchor in Exchange Cove

After a pleasant evening, we headed out in the morning to try our hand at fishing at the North end of the Passage before heading around to Point Baker. We use our wing engine, otherwise known as the get-home engine if our main engine fails, to troll because we can go 2 knots or so easily with it. We had no luck trolling for Salmon, but it was good to get the gear out and re-orient ourselves with all of it. Along the way, we saw a couple of whales in the distance and enjoyed another sunny, calm day.

We arrived at Point Baker to meet one of Gwen’s work colleagues. More to come on the next post on that terrific experience!

Leftover picture from Dixon Entrance crossing on way to Ketchikan -the Green Island Lighthouse Station.

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