Alaska Wandering Part 1- Juneau to Couveden

We left 100 degree weather in Bend, spent a beautiful day in Seattle and arrived to drizzle in Juneau Alaska.  The plan is to spend 12 days with my Dad on his boat traveling from Juneau to Sitka.  There we will depart and my nieces will board the boat for their trip with Grandpa.  While not in the RV we are still seeing the similarities.

Our accommodations for the week - 50 foot DeFever

Our accommodations for the week – 50 foot DeFever

Prior to our arrival, my step-brother and a friend had been aboard fishing.  They caught hundreds of pounds of Halibut and thankfully left some behind.  I am not the greatest fisherwoman – no patience.   I took a survey of the pantry and taxi’d off to the store.  After leaving a small fortune in Juneau we pushed off.

Prior to leaving the dock the Captain had plotted our course (using navigational charts instead of maps), checked the weather (marine radio) and made sure everything is safe and ready for travel. Engines started and away we go. On board we have several navigational computers that show the course we are on, depth and area landmarks and hazards.  The depth sounder continual monitors the depth of the water we are in.  Shallow water is a hazard and alarms will sound – but it is usually too late by the time that happens.  The radar looks an awful lot like a sonogram and requires a little education to interpret.  We listen to channel 16 always which communicates any problems and is coast guard monitored (nothing we have ever had to use).  The auto pilot makes it easy to stay on course, though you still have to monitor and make corrections for water hazards (floating logs, boats, seaweed or sea life) or currents which push you off the desired course.

One thing of note is almost all our navigation is done with charts and books – no apps, no online computer to chart the path for you.  Everything is put in by the captain – no Siri telling you where to go and no speed limit signs.  But the optimum speed for the engine is known and maintained.  Our 800 gallons of fuel will reach 1,000 miles – yes those 2 engines are only 120 horse power to move a 60,000 pounds or 30 tons of boat.  Compared to our RV holding 55 gallons, moving 14,000 pounds and giving us a 400 mile range.  Of course the captain did mention that he doesn’t have to wait for stop lights.   The boat also has a 3rd engine called a ‘bow thruster’ which allows the boat to go sideways.  This is great for docking and I wish the RV had this on occasion.  Of course how often do we parallel park?

A little bit about our accommodations – we are on a 50 foot DeFever pleasure cruiser.  A beautiful old boat with 2 staterooms, 2 heads (that’s bathroom in RV talk), a galley style kitchen — yup the name really does come from a galley.   The boat sleeps 6 comfortably and room for 9 in a pinch.  There is lots of room in the galley for storage.  Two refrigerators/ice box style cover 1 wall with the old commercial hinges and a freezer box out back.  The pantry is so big I could get lost — I think it is the same size as the bathroom in our first RV.  A Pilot house, salon, laserett and upper deck fly bridge (for steering as well as lounging outside).  On board we have every toy imaginable from kayaks, sailing dingy (dingy is a small boat) and motor dingy.  The boat is large, comfortable and safe.

Cooking is very similar to in the RV. Propane 4 burner stove and oven and microwave.  One of the luxurious on board is the amount of water.  400 gallons — really!  I am trying not to break my conservative ways since our RV has only 33 gallons.  But this is pretty nice.

Alaska Day 1

After pushing off from Juneau we headed to Couverden.  A small anchorage with a floating dock.  The dock does not access land, just a free place to tie up.  On the way we saw;

Orcas – We think it was the nursery of a larger pod as there were more babies than adults.  1 baby, a couple of adolescents and 1-2 adults.   The male following behind the with the largest dorsal fin.  They were feeding on the salmon which we saw jumping out of the water all over the place.


Orcas – a matriarchal society and the only animal (other than man) where they live beyond breeding age. Language and behavior are taught and passed on to each generation. Different pods in different locations are known to have their own language and vary their behavior, including what they eat. This appears to be a nursery as there are more youths than adults. The pod was followed by a large bull.

We saw several Humpback Whales at a distance. Not worth printing the pictures – while excited to see them we had much more exciting encounters coming…


Nice view at the end of the evening. This dock floats out in the middle and does not connect to the shore. Price – free!


Follow the leader

The trip over was nice and leisurely with beautiful weather.  Dinner was crab salad with home made dressing.  Did I mention that my Dad had caught and cleaned a ton of crab before we arrived – luxury!

4 thoughts on “Alaska Wandering Part 1- Juneau to Couveden

    1. wanderer Post author

      Thanks Iain – we are certainly having fun! But at the end of the day this is an EXPENSIVE lifestyle with much more freedom and the risks are higher. If we have bad weather in the RV or a mechanical, just pull over. Bad weather or mechanical can mean sinking…. Of course no black or grey tank and unlimited water!

  1. Joyce

    Enjoying every word! Love crab too. From Maryland so blue crabs we ate by the tons. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip for us who cannot go ourselves………we can go with you via internet! “Winner!”

    1. wanderer Post author

      Thank Joyce! I loved sitting at the tables with the mallet and cracking crab in Maryland. What a great way to spend a meal with friends.

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