Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Alaska Trip 2011: Crossing Dixon Entrance to Alaska!

Day 13:  On to Alaska!  Prince Rupert, BC to Ketchikan - 78 Miles

Prince Rupert, BC before sunrise.  A busy port!

We woke way to early this morning.  I listened to both the US and Canadian weather on the VHF and were happy to learn that the forecast improved overnight.  It is go time!

Dixon Entrance is the second of the open water legs on the "Inside Passage" and this far north can really get some weather.  Today was predicted for 1-meter seas (swell & waves combined) and 10-15 knots of wind, which is about as good as the forecasters ever say.  If the weather gets bad there are a few places to duck and anchor; on the Canadian side is Brundige Inlet on Dundas Island and on the US side is Foggy Bay which US Customs would like you to pre-register for if you have not cleared into the US, by calling the Ketchikan Border Patrol office the day before.  Our plan was to go all the way to Ketchikan. 

The log of Cinnamon Girl for June 8th, 2011:

4:30 am  Engine Checks OK.  Fired up "Oly".  Barometer 1025Mb.  Weather VHF improved, good forecast!
4:45 am  Depart Prince Rupert R&YC.  First light.
5:15 am  Entered Venn Passage. Cool passage, tight & well marked

Entrance to Venn Passage before sunrise, the narrow passage way from Prince Rupert to open water.

5:55 am  Exited Venn, turned northerly to Dundas waypoint.
8:00 am  Passed Green Island Light House.  Calm seas.  Wind 8.5 Southerly. 

Green Island Lighthouse off Dundage

8:55 am  Crossed USA/Canadian Line.  300-degrees, 8.7 SOG.  Smooth water, Wind 9 Southerly

That is Alaska off the starboard bow!

The Tanerlio heading south

12:15 pm  Passed Pt Winslow & Crowley Tug Tanerlio.  Smooth water, very overcast, wind 7.

Point Wilson with Tamgas Mountain in the backgroung

Many more boats active around Ketchikan than anywhere else we have been.

3:15 pm  Arrived Ketchikan.  Thomas Basin slip 5-30.  704-trip miles since leaving Bellingham.
4:00 pm  Cleared Customs.  Cindy remembered to take down the Canadian Courtesy Flag, we are back in the USA.

Cinnamon Girl at Thomas Basin.  

Our crossing was super smooth.  Best weather I could have hoped for. Cinnamon Girl has exceeded every expectation that I had for her.  She is a great passagemeker. 

The first hour between the Venn Passage exit and Dundas Island we had a beam sea and a little swell, I kicked the engine up by only 30-rpm (about .2 gph) and that extra little bit of speed put a bit more hydraulic pressure under the semi-displacement hull and she just locked down and rode great.  The American Tugs are beamy boats and that means stability under way, and stability at anchor.  The hull has a hard chine with lots of floatation out at the edges where the wide stance stops any rolling motion. A very comfortable boat.

The weather is really nice.  Short sleeves.  Mid 60's.  We took a walk around town.  Thomas Basin is part of the Port and located in the historic "downtown" part of Ketchikan.  We strolled the "Creek Street" boardwalk and enjoyed the evening.  No cruise ships in today, so many of the shops did not open, the "downtown" area is where the cruise ships berth.  We found a great shop on Creek Street named Parnassus Books, Cindy bought a moose Christmas ornament and I have a new book on Marine Mammals of BC & Alaska.  We had a fun evening. 

It is good to be in Alaska.  The people are very friendly and the scenery...well everything is just more grand.  This is big country.  Thanks for following along.  

Your hosts on Creek Street,  old "downtown" Ketchikan.

My personal favorite photo of the entire trip!  Tongass Trading Co., a cruise ship store.