May 15, 2007

Instructional Trip to Sitka, Alaska May 2007 on FV Home Shore

While True North was in commissioning, I went on an instructional trip on Jim Kyle’s FV Home Shore. 1,000 miles up the inside passage in 10 days. Very helpful.


My goals for this trip were to improve my navigation skills (chart plotter, radar and charts), expand my general boating experiences and increase my overall confidence in taking True North to Alaska in the Summer of ’08.  Each of these missions was accomplished.

Beyond having a skilled Captain with a helpful attitude, a 10 day instructional trip like this is primarily influenced by weather.  You want some variety of weather/seas and we had that. We experienced a number of runs where the ride was much less than comfortable and provided an opportunity to handle the boat in pitching bow waves, rolling aft quartering seas and through rapids and strong hydraulics unique to the NW.  The general weather was pretty typical for early May with low clouds, drizzle and occasional sun breaks.

Day 1 (Tue)

Bellingham thru Dodd Narrows to Nanaimo and then across the Strait of Georgia and the Whiskey Golf  Torpedo area (not active) to Secret Cove on Sechelt Island, north of Vancouver, BC which is where we anchored.

Dodd Narrows was fine with the current about ~5 knots and with us.  Crossing the Strait of Georgia was comfortable.

Day 2 (Wed)

North past Lund, past the “entrance” to Desolation Sound, up Lewis Channel to Calm Channel and thru Yuculta Rapids and Dent Rapids to Charles Cordero Channel and to Blind Channel Resort and docked there.

We went thru the Rapids when they were about ~6 knots and with us. These were larger and bigger in area than Dodd Narrows.  You essentially go from one to the next with a couple hundred meters in between.  The hydraulics are indeed something to see.  Perhaps like Deception Pass.

Day 3 (Thurs) 

Northwest thru Greene Point Rapids to Chancellor Channel to Race Passage into Johnstone Strait and then into Queen Charlotte Strait.  We stayed on the east side of Queen Charlotte Strait and went past the Broughtons and up Salmon Channel to Labouchere Passage. We went past Cape Caution and Egg Island and anchored in Millbrook Cove, north of Smith Sound.

I think it was Shelter Bay, about two-third up Queen Charlotte Strait when the north wind picked up and we bucked ~4 foot bow waves and wind the rest of the way. I think this is where you start feeling Queen Charlotte SOUND (vs. Strait). It was not very comfortable from that point. There were a number of places where one could pull over and we did so for 30 minutes at Miles Inlet and explored inside there for awhile.

Day 4 (Fri)

Up north thru Fitz Hugh Sound, turned left/west into Lama Passage south of Denny Island, past Bella Bella and up into Seaforth Channel, into Milbanke Sound and then up Finlayson Channel and docked at Klemtu (Indian Reservation), where we docked.  

Day 5 (Sat)

North thru Princess Royal  Channel, across McKay Reach and into Grenville Channel to Arthur Passage to Chalmers Anchorage on the east side of Porcher Island where we anchored for the night.

When we reached the north end of Grenville Channel around Watts Narrows the southerlies caught up with us and we had strong following seas which weren’t too bad.  

Day 6 (Sun)

North into Chatham Sound, past Tree Point, thru Dixon Entrance (east) and into Revillagigedo Channel to Ketchikan, where we cleared US customs and docked for the night.

Chatham Sound was rough with aft quartering seas, which is the worst ride on this round bottom old seiner we are on.  It was not pleasant. We enjoyed the lee coverage of Melville and Dundira and Dundas and Gnarled Islands – very nice places to explore. After stalling in those islands for a few hours we went into Dixon toward Revillagigedo and it was bumpy again with the same rear quarter seas – ~5 feet and somewhat confused. By the time we reached the lee side of Duke Island, we were protected thru to Ketchikan.

Day 7 (Mon)

North on Tongass Narrows into Clarence Strait, passed Ernest Sound and into Sumner Strait and just the beginning of Wrangell Narrows where we anchored for the night in Deception Point Cove.
~1-2 feet following southerlies came up around 1pm.  

Day 8 (Tue)

North up Wrangell Narrows to Petersburg, then north up Frederick Sound to Murder Cove on the south shore of Admiralty Island where we anchored for the night.

A comfortable day and Wrangell Narrows with all its navigation markers was interesting and we were boarded (while maintaining speed) by the CG shortly after leaving Petersburg.

Day 9 (Wed) 

West and then north up Chatham Strait to Warm Springs Bay and then west into Peril Strait and into Deep Bay where we anchored for the night.

Comfortable day with southerly ~2-3 feet following seas as we travelled north up Chatham Strait. Warm Springs was fun with some folks hiking thru the deep snow to reach the hot springs. Baranof is beautiful with waterfalls cascading from the snow fields to the sea and snow reaching all the way to waters edge.

Day 10 (Thurs) 

Continued thru Sergius Narrows (rapids) and then southeast thru Neva Strait and to Olga  Strait into Sitka where we completed our voyage.

Comfortable with flat seas except for the strong hydraulics at Sergius Narrows (rapids) which we took at ~6 knots with us.


aft-quartering-seas_01.MPG4.4 M
Coast_Guard_leaving.MPG8.6 M