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2013 Sail Alaska

The Summer Solstice and Jeanneau Rendezvous will kick off Sail Alaska again this year; we will be leaving from Bedwell Harbor on Sunday morning, June 23th after the rendezvous. There will be a skipper’s meeting and slide show of the 2012 trip Saturday morning, the 22rd, and coffee and doughnuts on the dock before the Sunday morning departure.

This is the tentative itinerary for 2013, subject to change of the weather, or at the whim of the cruisers involved:

After we leave Bedwell harbor (45.35N 122.21 W) it is a quick 42 miles to
Nanaimo BC(49.11N 123.57W). There, you can stop for fuel and supplies, or continue 29 miles to False Bay on Lasqueti Island where we will spend the night. 50 miles later, we arrive at Campbell River (50.02N 125.14W), which is the most convenient fuel and grocery stop before Ketchikan.
At 8:00 pm Tuesday June 25th, the tide is slack going to ebb at Seymour Narrows. We should hit this no problem and continue 18 miles to anchor at Kanish Bay for the night.
Wednesday June 26th, we will have to get an early start at 6:30 am to make the 75 miles thru Johnstone strait to Booker Lagoon on Broughton Island. If the weather cooperates, we will make the trip in 9 hrs. and the reward will be a two or three day rest in the Broughtons. Port McNeill (50.35N 127.04W), Telegraph Cove, and Alert Bay can be alternate stops if the weather kicks up and we don’t make it to Booker Lagoon.

At this point we will be watching the weather for a safe passage across Queen Charlotte Sound. We will most likely stop at Port Hardy and stage the crossing to Calvert Island 73 miles, http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/cnsrvncy/calvert_is/ but if the weather is right and the wind is behind us, we could make the 86 miles from Booker to Calvert Island in one long day. There are possibilities for some alternate anchorages along the way.
Broughton Island, Booker Lagoon (50.46N 126.44W) 86 miles to Calvert Island (51.39N 128.06W) , then 42 miles to Bella Bella (Shearwater) for a fuel stop and an overnight stay at the dock.
Bella Bella to Bottleneck Cove: 52 miles
Bottleneck Cove to Butedale (the abandoned cannery) for a quick stop if the weather is good. The dock is rough and not much of an anchorage, but it is interesting and there is a chance we might see a Spirit Bear. Then off another 25 miles to Bishop Bay Hot Springs for a soak and to spend the night.

Bishop Bay Hot springs (53.28N 128.50 W) then 48 miles to Lowe Inlet.
Low Inlet to Baker Inlet (53.48N 129.57W) is only 26 miles; if the weather is in our favor we will stage at Baker Inlet before crossing Dixon Entrance. If the weather is against us we will head to Prince Rupert instead, which will shorten our crossing. At this point , we are only 80 miles from Ketchikan AK. In 2011, we had a great sail from Prince Rupert to Ketchikan, 25 knots out of the south west and an incoming tide, 80 miles in 8 hours.
Prince Rupert (54.19N 130.18W) 31 miles to Dundas Island (54.36N 130.50W), 39 miles to Alava Bay on Revillagigedo Island 23 miles to Ketchikan (52.21n 131.41w). Dundas Island has good holding if we need to cut the crossing in half. But the bugs will eat you alive if you do not have protection. Alava Bay is a nice spot to anchor for the night, but we will have to call customs and let them know we couldn’t make it into town to clear.

Ketchikan; I talked to the harbor master and they will try to get us in Thomas Basin Marina when we arrive. After you have had enough of the tourist attractions downtown, we can move to Bar Harbor, to be close to the Laundromat and Safeway. There are good hardware and marine supply stores there, also. Plan on 3 nights at the marina; with shopping, laundry, and sightseeing it goes fast. We will also stop in Ketchikan on the way back south.

After Ketchikan, we have some options depending on the weather. The route I would like to try this year is from Ketchikan west across Chatham Strait to Prince of Wales Island. There are so many great anchorages to choose from: Aiken Cove, Fredrick Cove, and Johnson Cove are all in Moira Sound. We could spend a week exploring Moira Sound. Hidden Cove will most likely be the jumping off spot to Cape Chacon. If the weather cooperates we will head south around Cape Chacon. We can see the Pacific Ocean from there, but it is only about 20 miles until we are back in protected waters. (I have done part of this route in 2012, but from the north.) The options here are endless, the idea is that we will meander north looking for whales and salmon. The early King salmon run should be in full swing, the reason for the westward course is to meet the wildlife coming in from the ocean, and then migrate with them into the straits and sounds.
From Hidden Cove we will round Cape Chacon, the southern tip of Prince of Wales Island, just inside Dixon Entrance and head for Kassa Inlet (47 miles), or if the weather will give us a good window, we could go another 12 miles to Dall Island, and explore some new territory . (New to me, anyway). This route is a little further off the beaten path, but if we need to make a pit stop at Hydaburg, we can. Datzkoo Harbor is the first anchorage on Dall Island.
If the fishing is good, we can fish for Kings along the steep walls of Kaigani Strait, or halibut around the rocks and sea mounts on the way to our next anchorage at Ham Cove, 12 miles away.

From Ham Cove it is 46 miles to our next destination of Port San Antonio on Baker Island. There are a lot of coves along the way to poke into, so it will be easy to get distracted if we see a spot we just have to stop in for the night.

Port San Antonio: Don’t let the name fool you; there is no port, just a great anchorage with lots of exploring and fishing to do. Last year we caught our limit of salmon, smoked them on the beach, and had plenty for the rest of the trip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsZCPAJjYgU 5.25 into the video. If we do as well this year, we could send some home when we get to Craig, as it is our next stop 23 miles from Baker Island.

Craig, this leg will put us about 10 days out of Ketchikan. Craig has a good fuel dock, grocery, hardware, and sporting goods store. We will be tied up with the fishing fleet, so depending on the openings, be ready to raft up. The harbor master does a great job of getting our fleet together on the dock. If you have guest flying in or out, there are some options. There is flight service into Craig, a ferry from Ketchikan to Hollis with a taxi to Craig, or float plane from Ketchikan to Craig. http://www.interislandferry.com/.

We will spend at least 2 nights at the dock in Craig, stocking up on food and fuel, and maybe hit the local restaurant or pizza parlor.
Leaving Craig early in the morning will get us through Tonowek Narrows on a flood. It is a 50 mile run to Devil Fish Bay, not a lot of current behind us, and should take 6.5 hours to get to the anchorage for the night.

Our next stop is just 6 miles to El Capitan Cave, a nice trail and 367 stairs gets you to 1,100 feet in elevation and the cave. It is a guided tour; we can call on VHF the day before for reservations, and it is about a 2 hour round trip.

From the anchorage at the cave it’s a 20 mile trip through Dry Pass to Hole in the Wall for our next anchorage. We should arrive in the evening on a rising tide. There is a shallow spot (7’ at low water) and Ruby Slippers draws 8’. I have not been into Hole in the Wall, so I will be going slowly through the entrance and hang back a little in case I have to stop suddenly. http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aspunits/marinepark/holeinthewall.htm
If we can’t get into Hole in the Wall, just around the corner is Labouchere Bay, a nice anchorage with lots of exploring, fishing, and a view of Sumner Strait.

From Hole in the Wall, it’s 36 miles, and about half way through Rocky Pass to our next anchorage. I don’t know the name of the anchorage (if it has one) but the coordinates are (n 56. 46.194 X w 133.41.813). We should be able to catch a halibut along the way and maybe do some beach combing, as I still have not found a geode in the pass but continue to look.

From Rocky Pass, we can run into Kake for fuel if need be; there is a small store there, but not much in the way of fresh food.
Or we can make the 40 mile run across Frederick Sound and Clarence Strait to Warm Springs Bay for a couple of days of hiking, and sitting in the hot tub. There is a dock at Warm Springs, however we might have to raft up until there is room.

From Warm Springs, depending on weather, we will have to make the decision whether to run the 72 miles north up Frederick Sound to Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier. If the weather is out of the south (witch it usually is) it will be a nice run. The only thing that will slow us down might be the whales - it seems they all want their picture taken.

Once in Tracy Arm, we will anchor at Holkham Bay for the night. The next day we will go the 20 miles up Tracy Arm to Sawyer Glacier for the day, returning to the anchorage at night. This is an easy day if the weather cooperates, and we will get together for the ice party on Ruby Slippers afterward. There will be an ice carving contest, and the one million and ten celebration. (One million year old ice and 10 year old scotch.)
For the next leg, we hope to get lucky with the weather to do it in one day. From the anchorage at Tracy Arm to Petersburg is 76 miles. That nice southerly we had to get us north will now have to turn from the north to make it an easy run. If the weather does not cooperate, we can cut the leg in half and do some halibut fishing along the way.

Petersburg will be a rest stop for food, fuel, hardware stores, and a nice town. No cruise ships here. I talked to the harbor master, and we will be going into the new marina about 6 blocks from downtown. Our third night at the marina is free. There is a grocery store downtown, and the big store, Hammer and Wikan, on the way to the airport has a shuttle service from the marina to the store. Petersburg is on the Alaska Air Lines “milk run”, so from Seatac it is an easy flight daily. Ketchikan, Wrangle, Petersburg, and Sitka are all good places to pick up or drop off guests.

Leaving Petersburg, we will be headed south through Wrangell Narrows. The trick is to catch the current, and get a big boost for the 20 mile transit. The tide floods in from both ends of the channel and meets between North and South Flats. We will leave Petersburg late in the flood to catch the ebb at Finger Pt. 62 buoys later we exit into Sumner Strait and head east towards the town of Wrangell. There is a good halibut hole south side of Sumner Strait if we are running low on fish. We can make a pit stop at Wrangell or keep going south to Berg Bay. But the total mileage would be 60 for the day.

Berg Bay (N 56.21.802 X W 132.00.523) is a nice anchorage with good shrimping just outside the entrance. There is a large river estuary to explore with the kayaks, and last year we watched brown bear feeding along the shore. From Berg Bay, it is 12 miles to Anan Creek, where we will stop for the day and hike up the trail to check out the bears feeding on salmon. http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r10/specialplaces/?cid=fsbdev2_038752

Anan Creek is not a great anchorage but holding is good. If the weather is settled or from the south, we can anchor for the day and visit the water falls and see the bears and eagles fight over the salmon. After the day with the bears, we will move 15 miles south west to

Santa Anna Inlet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhpSaA_aYKY 4:00 minutes into the video
Santa Anna Inlet is a nice quite anchorage and last year we caught a boat load of crab. Our hearty crew in a too-small dinghy hooked a very big halibut. The battle was won by the fish - a good thing because it was too big to fit into the dinghy.

From Santa Anna Inlet, it is 56 miles to Naha Bay. If the weather is out of the south, we will make a pit stop at Myers Chuck and do some salmon fishing along the way.

Naha Bay is a quiet bay with a forest service dock. This has been our first stop after Ketchikan on the last two trips. Easing our way into the cruising life, we can anchor and stern-tie the boats to the dock. This year, it will be one of the last stops before heading back to

Ketchikan, and south towards home. There is a trail around the lagoon with a trout stream at the head. It’s a good trail, 5.4 miles to Jordan and Heckman lakes, with not much change in elevation. The trail dead ends at Heckman Lake there are two Forest Service cabins if you want to spend the night. Last year, there was a 60 lb. halibut caught just off the dock; Chef Roy gave us a lesson on how to handle very fresh halibut. He managed to cook about 15 lbs. in the galley of Ruby Slippers for the pot luck on the dock. Maybe it had something to do with our surroundings, but that was the best halibut I have ever had.

26 miles to Bailey Bay and a 2.2 mile hike to the hot springs at Lake Shilokum. This is my favorite hot spring in Alaska. The hike in is a bit rough - rocks, roots, and mud, but well worth the effort. An easy climb (1 mile to the water fall) then another 1.2 miles either on foot or use the forest service canoe; see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsZCPAJjYgU for details on Naha Bay and Bailey Bay.

From Bailey Bay it is 46 miles back to Ketchikan for a rest stop, provision and prep for the trip home.

Bedwell Harbor to Bishop Bay Hot Springs
Bishop Bay to Tracy Arm