Cruising Southeast Alaska - 2009

By Linda Lewis


16. Wrangell to Ketchikan to Prince Rupert, B.C.


After our adventures in Wrangell Narrows we were ready for a quiet night's anchorage in Deception Point Cove at the south end of Wrangell Narrows. Then we had an easy cruise over to the town of Wrangell.

In years past we have been unable to find dock space here. One year we found fishing vessels rafted five deep. Not so anymore. The new harbor south of town now is home for many of the local folks. It's big - and has water and power. It's a bit of a walk to town, so we hoped to get in to the main harbor.

Not a problem. The Wrangell-Reliance dock had plenty of room for us. It's the long side-tie dock to the left of the fairway in this picture.

We left Wrangell to head south in Zimovia Strait. Zimovia is a really beautiful passage and I was hoping for some pictures. But they weren't likely to happen (and didn't) because it was so rainy.

However, as I looked back towards Wrangell I gasped, then grabbed the camera. I was seeing a HUGE ghost cruise ship headed for Wrangell. Well - yes - it doesn't look real. And it wasn't. But my imagination was in high thrall and having great fun with the vision.

OK, so I'm into ghost-like ships. But this one was real. I caught it slipping by while we were docked at Meyers Chuck.

There was nothing ghost-like about these ELEVEN purse-seiners fishing like mad at Niblack Pt (on our way to Ketchikan).

Here's what one looks like up close. They stay fairly close to the shore. That and their large size (50-60') along with their highly visible boom and accompanying skiff makes them fairly easy to spot. And to avoid.

We made our usual overnight at Bar Harbor in Ketchikan. Groceries, laundry, dinner at Ocean View restaurant, and a haircut. The weather sounded good for an o-dark-thirty start across Dixon Entrance. I looked back at Ketchikan to say my goodbyes to Southeast Alaska and guess what I saw? More ghost ships. They were real, just masquerading as mirages to give me a special farewell treat.

The weather was holding for our Dixon Entrance (open ocean) crossing. Off we went into the lowering skies and the multiple, long stretches of fog.

The trade-off for the fog was the flat, flat calm seas - an unusual condition in Dixon Entrance.

Much of the time we had only 1/8 mile visibility, but things lifted for just a bit as we passed Green Island Lighthouse, just off Dundas Island.

The fog persisted right up to the entrance to Duncan Bay where the "North Shortcut" and Venn Passage start. Once we were in Venn Passage we saw that strange color up in the sky. What was that hue called again? Oh yes, sunny blue!

We also saw an unusual looking charter boat.

On our passage northward in July we weren't even able to get in to the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club even though we had tried making reservations two days ahead. It didn't look promising on our way back down either. But we managed to get a spot. However, we were really dismayed to see that the moorage fee has almost doubled. The service was poor (the dockmaster has changed) and things looked messy and broken down.

Verizon service finally works in Prince Rupert for most people. We heard again, however, that some phone instruments (with Verizon service) won't work. It's not a phone-age issue; I was able to use both my new smart phone and my husband's five-year-old Samsung. No one seems to be able to explain what the issues are.

Before we left Prince Rupert I was able to get a few fun turns in the Green Devil.

We listened again to weather and especially to the wind and sea-state conditions at Holland Rock. It's an ugly old thing, but it's right in the middle of the important jump from Prince Rupert to the north end of Grenville Channel. We're glad it's there.

Grenville Channel - or "The Ditch" coming up.



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