Petersburg is one of our
favorite stops in SE AK. It is still a true, active fishing
community. At the same time, everyone there makes
cruisers like us feel welcome.
The vessel below is off-loading its catch at the
Cruisers who moor at the
North Harbor have to anticipate being moved around
because we are actually parked in a fishing boat's
temporarily vacant spot. If the fishing boat needs
to get back in, we are asked to move to another
spot. That's called "hot-berthing." In
our three days at Petersburg, we were in three
different slips. Not a problem. Good docking practice.
While some were working, however,
some of us were just lounging. Weird foot rests.
But comfy... This is the
best spot on the boat for looking around during
Purse seiners getting their
nets ready to go out fishing.
When you leave Petersburg,
the very fun 18 mile passage through Wrangell
Narrows awaits you. Although passage isn't
restricted by current patterns, those currents
can sure affect your speed. Here's a marker in
the water showing the current running at about
3.5 knots. We wanted to make our move that day,
so we just lived with going against this
current and having our speed markedly reduced.
This passage is really
well marked with stationary markers (as above)
and buoys in the water. It is so well marked,
that looking down the waterway ahead of you can
be a little disorienting. That's a lot of markers!
You need to keep track of which marker is next in
line and make sure you remember which side of
the boat you leave the reds on and which side
you leave the greens on. It's not hard; it just
means staying alert and keeping track.
Here are some markers showing
up on the radar screen. The single line to the
top of the screen is the direction our boat is
moving. The blobs in front of and to the right
of the line are the markers and buoys. As helpful
as radar and electronic charting are, Wrangell
Narrows is a place where boaters have to be looking
out the window. Traffic is a real issue here. There
are some spots that are narrow enough that cruisers
like us have to move to the side so the larger
commercial vessels can pass through the bottlenecks first.
Most of our attention during this passage
is outside the window. (With quick checks
of the depth sounder.)
Range markers are also
very helpful along the way for staying in the
center of the channel. The idea is to get these
two red and white boards to line up with
each other, one below the other. When they are
lined up, you know you're in the channel.
Now, we're in the channel!
Here's the prize at the end of the narrows. More
glorious country to look at.
M/V Royal Sounder