Neva and Olga Straits
20 November 2011 | Southeast Alaska
Though it's called the Inside Passage, some of the waters we've sailed recently have been pretty open. Chatham Strait, where we began this leg, is 138 miles long and between 18 and 5 miles wide. Then, after Richard took us through the treacherous narrows of Peril Straight, we crossed the corner of Salisbury Sound, which is open to the sea and to prevailing conditions in the Gulf of Alaska. For us, this meant more strong gusts and wind-driven snow.
I took a turn at the tiller as we next entered Neva Strait, where the trees closed in around us, the island sheltered us from the gusts, and the snow wafted gently across the air. Together, Neva and Olga Straits would bring us to the outer waters of Sitka, with an average width of 0.2 miles along the way. The calm was amazing, with lofty walls of evergreen, lacy with snow, so close. Rocks and shallows dot the straits, so you can't daydream too much, but I imagine I saw reindeer flying ahead of me pulling a sleigh full of treats!