Wrangell to Petersburg:
Our destination today is Petersburg, located on the north end of Mitkof Island. We must transit the 21 mile long Wrangell Narrows which is one of the more challenging passages. This is a narrow channel and contains over 60 navigational aids and five sets of range markers. All traffic including cruise ships and Alaska State ferries pass through this narrow waterway. Sunchaser V has made this trip many times so we decide to follow them. The currents will also be a challenge today as we will have a two knot current against us at several narrow spots. We want to reach Petersburg at slack tide so we back calculate our departure time. We would have needed to leave at 3 am to get a favorable current in the Narrows and slack at Petersburg. Our 9 am departure is the next best option.
The water has now turned milky green from the glacier runoff. We carefully navigate the the Narrows checking off each channel marker from our list as we pass it by. There is no traffic today other than a few small fishing boats. As long as you pay close attention, these Narrows really aren’t near as bad as the guide book had warned. Our timing worked out perfect and we arrive to Petersburg at slack tide.
Petersburg is home to a large fishing fleet. There are only a handful of pleasure craft here nestled amongst the many beautiful fishing boats. Several large canneries flank both sides of the marina. Petersburg is known as “Little Norway”. Norwegian, Peter Buschmann, selected this site for a cannery in 1897 due to its close proximity to glacier ice from the LeConte Glacier. A sawmill was constructed for building the cannery. This is a real SE Alaska working town off the beaten path of the cruise ships. The town still maintains a very strong and close Norwegian heritage and identity.
With the LeConte Glacier only 12 miles south of here, we join Jan from Sunchaser V on a four hour excursion to the glacier. It is much better to let someone else do the driving and Scott, our tour guide and owner of Tongas Kayak, does an excellent job maneuvering around hundreds of ice bergs calving off the LeConte Glacier. The ice with its many shapes and colors is changing almost by the minute. Resting on top of numerous bergs are mother seals and their newborn pups. Scott maneuvers his thick walled aluminum boat to within a mile and a halve of the glacier. We certainly could not push through these ice bergs in our fiberglass boats. We had a fabulous day and this was the highlight of our stay in Petersburg. If anyone is ever in Petersburg, we would strongly recommend doing this tour with Scott.
Total Miles This Year: 1160