Day 23 | Flotilla to Alaska | Le Conte Glacier

“You made it across the entrance bar??” a fellow cruiser asked incredulously. For some reason, Exploring Southeast Alaska, the most popular cruising guide for this area, makes it sound difficult, even dangerous, to go up Le Conte Bay: “We do not recommend it, except for expeditionary-type excursions…you must favor the north shore to avoid the large drying mud flats that flow out of the Stikine River North Arm, while at … Read more

Day 22 | Flotilla to Alaska | Wrangell to Petersburg

Today’s route from Wrangell to Petersburg took us through beautiful Wrangell Narrows. Wrangell Narrows is one of the trickier parts of this trip. It’s winding, shallow, and….narrow. Traffic can be heavy, with little space for ferries and barges to pass boats like ours. Currents run swiftly. Fishing boats zoom erratically. In 20 nautical miles, the Coast Guard maintains about 60 aids to navigation. Just north of the mid-point, near a place … Read more

Day 21 | Flotilla to Alaska | Meyers Chuck to Wrangell

Day 21 began with the delivery of Cassie’s famous cinnamon rolls to the boats in Meyers Chuck. With pastries securely on board consumed, the flotilla cast off lines and headed for Wrangell. Clarence Strait was calm again. As we motored northwest in Ernest Sound the sun briefly appeared and winds remained light. By the time we got to Zimovia Strait the sun was gone, but we still had views of snowcapped … Read more

Day 20 | Flotilla to Alaska | Ketchikan to Meyers Chuck

We left Ketchikan around 9:00 a.m. and had a beautiful, calm cruise up Clarence Strait: Clarence Strait can be a nasty body of water. It’s 100 nm long and four miles wide. Current runs to several knots. When the wind blows, it gets ugly. Any day of calm water is appreciated! Our destination was Meyers Chuck, a community of about 20 people on the northwest corner of Cleveland Peninsula. There’s … Read more

Day 19 | Flotilla to Alaska | Lay Day in Ketchikan

Today was a lay day in Ketchikan. We figured people could use a day of rest (or chores or exploring) since we’ve been moving swiftly since meeting at Roche Harbor a couple weeks ago. Now that we’re in Alaska we can reset the pace a bit. Yesterday we were lucky enough to see some sun, but today was mostly rainy and gray (because…Ketchikan). The morning started with a bit of excitement. A small boat … Read more

Day 18 | Flotilla to Alaska | Foggy Bay to Ketchikan

This morning in Foggy Bay was still and quiet. We worked on the flotilla plan early, and then took the dinghy out (quietly) to look for bears and explore the bay before meeting with each boat to go over the plan for the next two days.   Kevin took the Mavic up for some aerials of the anchorage before we took off toward Ketchikan. The cruise from Foggy Bay to Ketchikan was … Read more

Day 17 | Flotilla to Alaska | Crossing Dixon Entrance

We fell asleep feeling optimistic about the weather. Environment Canada forecast winds from the southeast at 15-25 knots – windier than we’d prefer, but the best forecast in a week. The day before they’d said 20-30, and it was calm. And conditions would be right behind us, the most comfortable angle. looked better. Light and variable winds. Windfinder, too. And the observations all looked good. The breeze was dying, … Read more

Day 16 | Flotilla to Alaska | Kelp Passage Cove to Prince Rupert

After a breezy night at anchor and with Environment Canada still predicting 20-30 knot southeasterly winds, we were expecting a bumpy ride over to Prince Rupert. But as departure neared the wind died. Somehow we lucked into a calm trip across Chatham Sound and into Cow Bay Marina. Several of us caught a glimpse of the humpback hanging out in Bloxam Passage on our way out (awww, no photos), and … Read more

Day 15 | Flotilla to Alaska | Lowe Inlet to Kelp Passage Cove

The forecast today was for strong southerly winds (30-40 knots), and we weren’t totally sure how they would affect our trip up Grenville Channel. We departed Lowe Inlet a little after 10:00 a.m. in calm conditions and took advantage of the end of the flood to give us an extra few knots of speed. As we continued north the wind built, but we never lost the current. By the time … Read more

Day 14 | Flotilla to Alaska | Butedale to Lowe Inlet

We left Butedale early this morning — just before 6:30am — to beat the current in Grenville Channel. Grenville Channel floods from both sides, and currents run to several knots. Ideally you ride the flood in, and the ebb out. Theoretically, the current was supposed to turn against us about an hour before we reached Lowe Inlet. Instead, we had over a knot of current with us the entire trip. We’ll … Read more