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Our Journey on Scolamanzi II
Our Journey on Scolamanzi II

Our Navigational Challenge through Wrangell Narrows to Petersburg

Wrangell Narrows….. 

17th May 2016:

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The 21-mile-long Narrows is just deep enough and wide enough to accommodate ferries and has in certain areas a tidal range of 23 feet! You can just imagine what kind of tide that can cause! It is a piloting challenge with 60 port and starboard beacons and 5 sets of range markers to guide you thru.  Wrangell Narrows is one of the 6 listed narrows in Southeast Alaska and a great navigational accomplishment for any captain to achieve. It is a very beautiful passage.

Arriving at the harbour of Petersburg through the misty rain, the clouds lifted just enough over the mountain range in the distance, to shine a few rays of sunlight on the lovely snow white peaks to lighten them up!

Petersburg or “Peter’s Burg” is named after the Scandinavian founder Peter Bushmann who started a salmon cannery and sawmill in 1897. (A very unusual surname for a Scandinavian I must say!) Fishing and tourism are Petersburg’s mainstays even though no cruise ships come this way at all. One of Alaska’s largest fishing fleets is found here supplying salmon, halibut, crabs and shrimps/prawns to the several fishing processing and cold storage plants located in town.

Scolamanzi found her way into the harbour and settled smack bang in the middle of all these beauties! There are few vessels with more character than these big Fishing Boats and the Tugboats! They just always catch the eye and makes great pictures!

This town with 3000 inhabitants has retained its strong Norwegian heritage is certainly worth a visit. As we walked through town we became well aware of the upcoming Petersburg annual May Festival in 5 days’ time. Colourful painted walls and windows and banners makes me feel sorry we are going to miss it. It will mean we will stay for 5 days and the schedule we have would just not allow even a Scandinavian party to derail it!

We asked around where we could have lunch and the first person that we asked suggested to go to the Seafood takeaway, then just go to The Harbour Bar right next to them and have it there with your favourite Alaskan beer! It is totally fine with the pub and that was exactly what we have done! To make it even more worth our while is that they have good Wi-Fi to and it gave us just enough time to catch up with all our friends and family. We had time to dug into a few of the quaint little shops before heading back to the boat just to pick up our laptops and head back to town to find “fast” internet at the library. Alas it was not to be and we had to be patient to get out blogs updated.

The Town Library really is an amazing facility it is! A modern, well organised very user-friendly library.  I was spending a good 3 hours there to get up to date with the last week’s blogs and pictures.

As we came back from the library, we have witnessed an incident where a black camouflaged painted brand new 4×4 drove into a shopfront. Luckily they were busy renovating the building and the damage was not that major – not as bad as the damage that was inflicted to the ego of mucho-man that drove off a while later in his badly damaged pick-up truck.DSCN9313

Leaving the next morning, we realised how lucky we were to see all the snow on the mountains the previous day. It was overcast and rainy and hardly any snow visible.  Heading to Gambier Bay we had the current and the wind on our stern, which makes for a smooth passage.

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