It took over 14 hours for the restored Bristol Bay fishing sailboat Libby 76 to cross Cook Inlet with smooth sailing past a steaming Saint Augustine volcano.

Like the sockeye salmon, the Libby 76 needed to wait out a whole day for the high tide to reach its crew’s desired location – the haul out at Williamsport. Unlike salmon the historic fishing boat needed a lift to power over the mountains and on into Lake Iliamna.

Skipper Dave Seaman, who restored the double-ender, noted his biggest worry about this journey was how the hull would hold up on the 15-mile rough gravel road to Pile Bay.

With great relief, the boat was re-launched into Lake Iliamna at midnight, with no damage to the hull.

Loading the Libby 76 onto the trailer at the Willamsport haul out. Kate Troll photo.

The following day, the winds picked up enough for a steady sail into the village of Pedro Bay where villagers in skiff came out to meet the arrival of the Libby 76.

While the sockeye run is just now reaching the set nets of Pedro Bay, the fishery is roaring on the west side of Bristol Bay with a strong harvest of over 22 million sockeye salmon in the Nushagak district. The total harvest through July 7 now stands at 46.6 million sockeyes, well on its way to a forecasted harvest of 60 million salmon.

The Libby 76 crossing Cook Inlet with Saint Augustine volcano in background. Kate Troll photo.

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