Voyages North

22 September 2017 | Posted in Seattle
08 September 2017 | Posted at Spencer Spit, San Juan Islands
18 August 2017 | Posted at Spencer Spit, San Juan Islands
17 August 2017 | Olympia
22 August 2016 | posted at Prideaux Haven, Desolation Sound
29 July 2016 | Posted at Hakkai, Fitz Hugh Sound
29 July 2016 | Posted at Hakkai, Fitz Hugh Sound
29 July 2016 | Posted at Hakkai, Fitz Hugh Sound
08 July 2016 | Posted at Ucluelet

Fords Terror. June 20-22, 2011

27 June 2011 | posted at Juneau
Elsie Hulsizer

Photo: entrance to Fords Terror

As I watched a small cruise ship steam by us in Fords Terror after it passed across the bar and through the narrows, I realized that Alaskan boaters don’t fear Fords Terror; it’s only us out-of-staters that make a big deal of it. I speculated that for Alaskan boaters, perhaps Fords Terror is just like Seymour Narrows: no big deal if you time it right

The best estimate of high-water slack at Fords Terror, as reported by Don Douglass, is about an hour after high water slack at Juneau.

In 2008 we got a good perspective on what happens when you go through at sometime other than near high-water slack. We arrived two hours after high-water slack at Juneau and just barely made it through. With the boat at full throttle (6.5 knots through the water) we were inching through the narrows. A few minutes later and we might not have made it at all. In the narrow entrance turning is impossible, we were lucky we didn’t end up on the rocks.

This time we were determined to be on time. We left Dawes with plenty of time to get to Fords Terror at high-water slack -- so much time we got there an hour early - exactly at high-water slack at Juneau instead of an hour after. We circled the outer basin wondering what to do. We could see the entrance, the current was running but it looked smooth.

“Let’s just go,” said Steve. “At least the current will be with us.”

We found the double waterfall (actually a quadruple waterfall on that day), lined up our stern with it, pointed the bow 290 Magnetic and headed in. We knew rocks were on either side of us but we couldn’t see them. Currents swirled around us but the ride was smooth. In a few minutes we were inside. It had been easy if a bit nerve-wracking.

We left the anchorage a day and a half later at the morning high-water slack. This time we went through almost exactly an hour after high-water slack at Juneau. But instead of slack water, the current had already turned and was ebbing. We had 2 knots of currents with us crossing the bar after the entrance.

We noted later that the cruise ship and a large fantail yacht that came in the second evening there appeared to be trying for about twenty minutes after high water at Juneau

So we didn’t ever hit the “right time,” but entrance and exit was still easy. Maybe that’s the secret -- knowing that you can’t possibly time it right but if you make your best guess -- between high-water slack at Juneau and an hour later-- whatever current you have will be something you can handle.
Vessel Name: Osprey
Vessel Make/Model: Annapolis 44 sloop
Hailing Port: Seattle
Crew: Steve and Elsie Hulsizer (author of Glaciers, Bears and Totems and Voyages to Windward)
Elsie and Steve Hulsizer have sailed northwest waters since arriving in Seattle via sailboat from Boston in 1979. [...]
2017: local cruising including South Puget Sound and San Juan Islands 2016:north up West Coast VI, across QC Sound to central BC coast 2015: trip to SE Alaska 2014: Seymour and Belize Inlets through Nakwakto Rapids 2013: SE Alaska and back. 2012: from Seattle up the west coast of Vancouver [...]
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Osprey's Photos -