Monday, June 11, 2012

Day 11-Prince Rupert to Ketchikan

We made it to Alaska!  After a night of tremendous rainfall in Prince Rupert, we awoke at 4:30, checked the weather forecast, and headed out Venn Passage for the trip across Dixon Entrance and into Alaska.

The weather was dreary as we left Prince Rupert.  Heavy rain and low clouds limited visibility to less than two miles and the radar was helpful in preventing unwanted contact with a fast moving cruise ship or freighter.  The wind was basically calm, and we hoped for calm seas as well.

After cruising through Venn Passage, a narrow, curvy, and intricate channel that leads from Prince Rupert Harbor to Chatham Sound, we emerged into 2 foot seas on the port aft quarter.  The autopilot made light work of the conditions and the ride was comfortable. Conditions remained much the same until we were made it north of Dundas Island and into Dixon Entrance, where conditions were actually calmer than they had been in Chatham Sound.

But they were not to last.  By the time we reached Cape Fox, the wind was still quite calm but big following seas had built.  5-6 footers, with some bigger, and white caps too.  Despite the big seas, the ride was reasonably comfortable, the boat stable, and the autopilot had no trouble keeping up as long as I worked the throttle to keep us from plowing into the back side of the waves too quickly.

It's hard to capture wave heights in pictures...this is my best try

The big seas kept us alert but not concerned, and we made good time surfing along.  By 8:30 we had reached calmer waters and we were cruising towards Ketchikan at 16 knots.  I called US Customs as we approached Ketchikan, they asked for lots of info, and instructed me to call them when we arrived in Ketchikan.

By 10:00 am local time (Alaska is one hour earlier than Seattle) we had tied up in Ketchikan and were waiting for the customs officer to check our passports.  A friendly customs woman (actually the friendliest US customes person I’ve ever dealt with) promptly appeared, checked the boats registration and our passports, and welcomed us back to the US.

We’re moored at the city docks in Ketchikan, right in the middle of the cruise ship area.  The 950-foot Diamond Princess’s stern is about 100 yards away from us and Seven Seas Navigator is a few hundred yards away.  They sure make Retriever look tiny!
A bit of a size difference

85.8 nm today and 700.3 total

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