Leaving Petersburg, we are heading south today thru the Wrangell Narrows. This 21 mile long passage connects Frederick Sound to Sumner Strait. It is a busy waterway with almost all South East Alaska traffic passing thru these narrows. The 400 foot long Alaska Ferries and barges use this route. Meeting some of the big guys along the narrow and intricate portions could be challenging. Additionally there are several fishing lodges located on the banks of the narrows. Several dozen small skiffs can be out on the water trolling for salmon. We have spent most of our cruising time exploring the waters north of the Wrangell Narrows. Today we are excited to be heading south to explore some new anchorages.
With over 60 navigational aids and range markers to keep track of, we must keep a constant watch. In addition to the navigational challenges, the currents run up to 6 knots and switch directions half way thru the narrows.
This week we have king tides to deal with which make the currents even stronger. We must time our passage to take best advantage of these strong currents. We choose to leave about one hour before high tide today. That should put us to Papkes Landing, where the currents switch, at slack tide. We can then take advantage of the ebbing current and it will give us a push the remainder of way. The passage is not as difficult as it sounds but you do need to keep a constant watch.
It’s a little sad to be leaving Petersburg today knowing that we won’t be back until next spring. We are heading to Sidney,BC to have some boat maintenance and varnish work done and will overwinter there. We are especially going to miss our two favorite restaurants. The Salty Pantry cooks up some amazing pastries each morning. We have some in our freezer for the trip south.
We will miss Ware’s amazing Thai food at Ingas Galley.
Before pushing away from the docks, we did find time to finally hike up to Ravens Roost Cabin. It was a beautiful 8 mile hike.
The Forrest Service did a great job on rebuilding the cabin at the top.
It’s a beautiful day for our trip thru the narrows. Just as planned, the current gives us a push to Papkes Landing. Other than a few fishermen, we have no boat traffic to contend with. We are soon exiting the narrows and entering Sumner Strait.
The water is a milky grey color due to the runoff from the nearby Stikene River. This water is glacial in origin and carries with it much debris and floating logs. We are on a constant lookout. Our destination for several days is Berg Bay.
Berg Bay is a beautiful anchorage with snow capped mountain peaks in the distance. There is a forrest service cabin at the head of the bay.
We hike the half mile boardwalk trail which brings us to a expansive tidal marsh.
Along the trail we are very bear aware as this is perfect habitat for both black and brown bears. Two years ago a child was dragged out of his tent here by a brown bear. We see no signs of bears but do see some moose tracks.
Back at the boat, a local stops by the anchorage after collecting his shrimp trap just outside the bay.
He has a bucket full of very big spot prawns and graciously gives us some for dinner.
We had heard that Berg was good for shrimping so we decided to set out our two pots. Shrimping is hard work as you put your pots down 200-300 feet. We don’t have a shrimp puller but have to manually retrieve the pot from the deep depths. After soaking the pots overnight, we go to retrieve them in hopes of many shrimp. Well, pulling our first pot we do find shrimp….4 shrimp. That’s a little disappointing but we still have hopes for the second trap. Problem is, we can’t find our second trap. After searching for almost an hour we give up. Our thought is it must have gotten pulled under in the strong current and swept into deeper water never to be found. That’s the first time we have ever lost a trap. Very disappointing.
Each evening a group of locals come into the Forrest Service cabin. After talking with them, we learn they are fishing the wall just outside our anchorage. There is a King Salmon derby going on for two weeks and they have rented the cabin. We head out in the dinghy one morning to join them. There are seven other boats fishing this spot. We troll for several hours without even a bite. We see a few of the other boats land a fish but they are few and far between. That evening the fishermen at the cabin bring us a huge king salmon filet. They must have felt sorry for us. We didn’t do well in Berg Bay fishing but the locals sure were nice to give us both shrimp and salmon!
Tomorrow we will head to the town of Wrangell. We have an appointment there to have the dinghy serviced and oil changed before continuing south down the inside passage. Thanks for following along.