Our Journey on Scolamanzi II
Our Journey on Scolamanzi II

Making our way to Petersburg via Wrangell in rough weather

On our way to Wrangell – Our first  really rough weather: (Blake Passage)

15th May 2016:



We left Yes bay for Meyer’s Chuck but with a very narrow and dangerous entry in pretty rough conditions, we have decided to push through to Frosty Bay – a somewhat insignificant bay but it provided great shelter. It was a very cold, grey rainy day and so was the anchorage. We had a tourist catamaran anchored in the same bay having canoes and rubber ducks out exploring. After 70 nm on choppy waters, we did not care much for exploring anything. In fact – a hot meal and a warm bed is just about what we all needed for now.


16th May 2016

The first rough ride – the faint warning from the captain got me up from my nap just in time! Things in the galley and saloon were starting to slide from side to side and the one after the other item was falling down! VHF radios, wallets, gloves and books came tumbling down from the pilot house! That got us all running around securing everything. To remain up upright was a challenge on its own and the golden rule of sailing became a life/injury saver: “One hand for the boat and one for yourself”!


Rainy and grey …slowly but surely the see was getting rougher


Almost the only other company we had on that stretch


Looking for whales only lasted a while … before even the spotter-scope tumbled down in rough seas


Humpback on our way

Just as I thought we had everything under control, I heard a bang – something falling down and bottles rolling around.  I was just in the process of trying to stay upright to secure the coffee machine with one hand and hanging on with the other trying to see what to grab next when and I’ve noticed Ben crawling on the deck trying to catch the rubbish from the recycle bin that was rolling around up and down past him! As soon as he gets up to secure the white plastic bin, another roll came along and toppled it again before he could find his feet to secure it. I had to laugh! Ben did not find it funny at all – he was already slightly green in the face and this was not the kind of fun he was up to! We are still giggling as I am writing this! It was good to find something to laugh about in amongst the chaos!

A very salty boat later, we hit some calmer waters as we turn north with the current and with the wind for a much smoother cruise! The 75 nm we have traveled only brought us to the other side of the peninsula with Yes Bay (where we have been last night) only 8 nm as the crow flies.


16th May 2016:

With 3 harbours (2 commercial and one for visiting yachts) it was a pleasure to dock for the first time at a dock with proper power! Heritage Harbour is a fairly new harbour and had plenty of space for big yachts.

Not even the duck weather could keep us from visiting this sleepy little fishing village that was established by the Russians in 1834. They built a fort to prevent encroachment by Hudson’s Bay Company traders but later (1839) leased it to the British who changed the name to Fort Stikine. After the US bought Alaska, was renamed to Fort Wrangell and used by the military. The Stikine (meaning “Big”) river is a designated wilderness area, abundant with wildlife. Wrangell is located at the mouth of this mighty river where it forms a vast delta as it empties into the east end of Summer Strait. Prospectors of two gold rushes passed through Wrangell on their way to the gold fields up in the Stikine river which made it an important service centre along with the fishing industry. Anan Creek is a popular site to find bears but we are a bit early to see any bears but hope to visit there on our way back.

Wrangell is not on the mayor cruise ship route and has therefore kept its small town vibe and still has the true feel of the Alaskan frontier. As the story goes – this is a town where passers-by on the street will still look you in the eye and greet you warmly – and we have experienced exactly that!

Weathered buildings, bear proof bins and the hardy pickup trucks with either a Husky or a Malamute on the back amongst the crab pots, give it the true authentic Alaskan feel. A stroll through town brought us to Chief Shakes’ grave site – the Chief of the Tlingit people that is the indigenous group from this region. Ramey’s Pub was our next pit stop in town – a great place to sit and have a true Alaskan beer, having a bowl of free popcorn and listening to the stories of the locals hanging out.

We met a young halibut fisherman on the docks who was bating about 3000 hooks for his sets of long-lines to catch the priced halibut. He gave us a good insight into the fishing industry from a young person’s perspective. That evening we watched Blue Planet of David Attenborough and then turned in for an early night. Tomorrow we had an early start to be at Wrangell Narrows at 0900 to catch the favourable tides going north to Petersburg.

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