We are trying to
take a few routes we
have not used before and stop in at places
where we have never anchored.
While we have been to Wrangell before, it has
been about 10 years since our last visit. I
was very curious to see how it has changed.
Well... not much. Unfortunately, we managed
to arrive right at the start of a three-day
fishing derby. There was not an inch of space
available as this is a very serious fishing
area. So we just toured through and then left
and anchored at Sokolof Island.
Here is the entrance to Wrangell's harbor,
looking at what is called Reliance Dock.
boats were truly wall to wall. Here is an example
of boats rafted five deep.
is building a new much-needed
marina just south of the main harbor. Here
is a picture of the under-construction Heritage
Harbor. They hope to have it operational by
have heard from a number of people
that the ice is especially thick this year
and it is not yet possible to go up Tracy Arm
to see Sawyer Glacier. Some of the charter
vessels have tried, but they can only get about
a third of the way up and no further. So we
decided to change our initial plan of a counter-clockwise
route through SE AK to one that is clockwise.
We'll go to Tracy Arm on the return leg of
our summer trip, hopefully after the ice has
done a lot of melting and we can get up to
That change in routing meant to me: ROCKY
PASS. Yeah. So we went west from Wrangell along
Sumner Strait and entered Keku Strait / Rocky
Pass for a south to north transit. Fun again.
(The last time we did a north to south passage.)
While anchored at the south end of Rocky Pass
we noticed one of the markers in very open
water was completely tipped over. Obviously
it had been badly damaged by something. Here
is the CG Elderberry steaming on its way to
fix it. Clearly the Coast Guard is taking good
care of the Rocky Pass markers. There was a
period of time when that was not the case,
but things have definitely changed.
we were approaching an anchorage at the south
end of Rocky Pass (to await the
best timing for the transit) we noticed a familiar
boat anchored in the bay, also waiting: Abyssinia. Kim
and Eric are delightful folks (they live aboard
at Shilshole Marina in Seattle) and
we usually cross wakes with them while we are
up here. They use their vessel as a mothership
for chartered kayak trips up here every
summer. This was their second transit
through Rocky Pass, a place they now consider
a great kayaking location for them.
of the questions I frequently get from boaters
is how big a boat can make it through Rocky
Pass. Well, the picture is the best answer:
Abyssinia is 65 feet long and has a 6 foot
draft. Here they are passing through the
north leg of Devil's Elbow. After clearing
the shoal you see, they will turn to port and
head west towards green marker # 17.
commented on watching my zig-zagging routing
through here and said he was glad to see
me heeding the rocks noted on the chart.
He said he reconnoitered the tricky places
by dinghy before going through the first
time. He said emphatically that those rocks
are really there. Anyone who is tempted to
just do a straight line from one marker to
the next is going to get into trouble in
Rocky Pass for sure.
After a quick stop in Kake for a few groceries,
we headed west in Sumner Strait and this is
what we saw. Glorious snow capped mountains
on the east side of Baranof Island.
is truly glorious country.
a privilege it is to be here.
M/V Royal Sounder