Blain & Monique Anderson, aboard Alaska yacht SV BOB, are lifelong friends of mine. We met when I was 18 years old working in Colorado on a trail crew for the US Forest Service in the Holy Cross Ranger District. We immediately became adventure buddies.
They’ve spent a decade sharing Alaska aboard their 50’ Catalina sailing yacht BOB. BOB can sleep up to six guests in three staterooms, all with en suite showers/heads. Blain and Monique also have a sought-after permit for Glacier Bay National Park and offer 10 day trips from Juneau exploring the Park.
They came to Haines for the month of January looking for a bit cooler climes in comparison to their home in Sitka, to get in some skiing and winter weather. As always, it was great to have them as house guests and I took a chance to chat with them about Springtime Alaska yacht charters in Southeast Alaska.
EB: May & June are my two favorite months to be on the water in Southeast Alaska, yet they are considered “shoulder season” by the Alaska travel industry. What are some of your favorite reasons to be cruising aboard SV BOB in the Spring?
Captain Blain: Well, it’s traditionally been the driest two months in Southeast Alaska. Generally, the weather patterns in Southeast tend to be more stable, creating relatively calm seas.
Humpbacks have returned from Hawaii to feed on the spawning herring, bears are readily seen feeding on grasses and sedges on the shorelines, shore birds are seen in mass as they return to their Arctic breeding grounds, and the king salmon fishing, particularly off of Sitka, can be exceptional. Shrimping and crabbing are typically really good as well, since it is before the commercial seasons have started for the summer. It’s the return of abundant life to our region!
EB: One of my favorite things about May is the abundant bears. You can often see them at anchor in calm bays cruising the beaches and shoreline. I also love the still-snow capped mountains in juxtaposition to the turquoise fjords, before the snow melts by mid-summer.
Captain Blain: It also is before the peak cruise season, so traffic is a bit lighter. We tend to get anchorages to ourselves, and some of the regional highlights you can truly get to yourself, which wouldn’t be possible mid-summer.
EB: We had such an incredible display of gray whales feeding on herring eggs outside of Sitka, last year in May, when we were aboard BOB. What did we see, 20 gray whales?
Captain Blain: It’s an interesting time of overlap with both gray whales and humpbacks around Sitka.
EB: It can also be a great time for fly fishing with steelhead in the rivers, and salmon fry just starting to hatch which attracts dolly varden and sea-run cutthroat.
Without giving away any secrets, do you have any favorite locations to travel to during May?
Monique: The little Norway Festival!!
Captain Blain: Haines Brewfest! Sitka Summer Music Festival!
EB: It’s also the time of year where you try to run the outer coast around Chichagof Island, right?
Captain Blain: Yes- Given the right offshore weather conditions, it can be a great time to head north out of Sitka and visit a remote hot spring, that typically is pretty inaccessible.
Monique: It is also some of our longest days of the year, giving plenty of time for activities, as we get closer to Solstice.
Captain Blain: Yes – the long daylight hours allow for a lot of just about everything: fishing, kayaking, hiking, SUP, beachcombing. The length of days also make arranging floatplane flights to meet the boat en route much easier. Floatplane transfers are a great way to shorten a trip, if you can’t make the full 8 or 10 days.
EB: Thanks to Blain and Monique for taking the time to discuss Spring in Alaska, personally, my favorite time to be on the water along the Inside Passage. Maybe you’ll see Chris and me in Baranof Warm Springs again this May waiting for a pick up from BOB!
If you are interested in exploring a Springtime Alaska charter yacht experience aboard SV BOB or any of our many options for Alaska yacht charters, contact us and begin planning for this Spring!