Our route and current location: [Note - I forgot to turn on tracking for a while - the track is discontinuous but does pick up later]
For those following along at home - and at work - the Sail Blog app is just a straight line, giving our anchored locations - where we end for the day. The Garmin track linked above, which starts in Powell River, gives a fairly continuous track of our travels; showing the ins and outs (and backtracking) we are doing. Also you will notice that the dates of the writing may seem a little off. Entries get written when there is a good internet connection and may reflect that date. We will try to start putting the date(s) we are at a specific location into the heading.
The stay in Wrangell had been very good. The boat had quite a bit of work done and we had made friends with several local folks there (thanks Bill & Donna for all the rides!). Kirsten had managed to help out our oldest son at his new business and give him a little respite from the daily grind of working for yourself. If you have never been your own boss, it is not an easy thing to do; not my forte` at all.
We were headed towards Petersburg, via Wrangell Narrows. The Narrows is a very small ribbon of water that runs between Mitkof Island and Kupreanof Island (all of you remembered that Alaska was settled by the Russians long before we bought it from them - right? right? 5th grade history :>). This passage is narrow (hence the name) as well as shallow in a lot of spots but is dredged to ensure that the Alaska State Ferry passage is not a problem - unless you happen to meet one coming in the opposite direction in one of the narrow spots!
Our first night out was in Saint John Harbour in Zarembo Island (ok - go look up the naming history yourself; it gets confusing). It has an active log deck - where logs get loaded onto barges - in the SW corner of the harbor so we avoided that area as we circled for a good spot. If you haven't already, zooming into a spot on the Garmin link above shows just how much we circle sometimes before we drop the anchor. We are trying to get a feel for the slope of the land and how much drop low tide will bring. It turned out to be a great anchorage, and so we dropped the hook and turned in early to get a good start on the next day's trip.
A lot of the success, if not most, we have had to date in running any narrows or rapids during our trip has been due to the timing. Going across a constriction, we mostly have tried to time it for high water slack. That is, the highest point in the tide when the water is neither coming out nor going in. In the case of Wrangell Narrows, the current runs both ways. About halfway up the narrows it turns around and runs the opposite direction. This meant that we had to time our entrance to the Narrows when the tide was pushing us in a little, but not too much. As an additional obstacle for us, the current in front of the three harbors in Petersburg are susceptible to strong flows as well and entrance to any of the harbors is best done at slack water.
We weighed anchor by 7:45 and were off. I'd like to say that it was touch and go or that we had several near misses, but our planning group (Kirsten) had done a good job and we got gently pushed along for almost the entire route dropping us gently at the entrance to the harbors with only minimal current to deal with. The Narrows does have many turns in it, with the accompanying channel markers on the right (starboard) or left (port) side. It reminded Kirsten and I of ski racing gates in some instances since the turns were so frequent. Nonetheless we successfully negotiated them and were on the dock at 11:40 am.