Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 23-Tracy Arm Cove to Ford's Terror

Even though the inside of Ford’s Terror was apparently dangerous because of rockslides, the outer area is supposed to be scenic and easily accessible.  So today we decided to make the roughly 20 nm trip up Endicott Arm.  Dawes Glacier, 12 nm past Ford’s Terror, was apparently quite clogged with ice preventing boats from getting close to its’ face, so we opted to have a relaxing day at Ford’s Terror rather than a longer day trekking up to the glacier and back.

The trip up Endicott Arm was easy and we saw no other boat traffic.  The water was glassy, the wind nonexistent.  While the scenery was not as dramatic is Tracy Arm, it was nonetheless beautiful.  As with Tracy Arm, we had to fight a bit of current on our way into Endicott Arm, even entering on a flood.

This bald eagle was perched on an iceberg near the entrance to Endicott Arm
When we pulled into Ford’s Terror, a small cruise ship (less than 200 feet) was pulling anchor.  I called them on the VHF and they confirmed recent rock fall inside the rapids.  With this information confirmed, we proceeded to find a suitable spot for anchoring overnight.

Anchoring in the outer basin of Ford’s Terror wasn’t easy.  The walls plunge nearly vertically into the water, making most areas too deep or too shallow.  Additionally, a strong current rips through a reversing tidal rapid and a drying shoal sits right where anchoring would make the most sense.  After a few attempts at anchoring, though, we got the hook set in an appropriate spot and ran a stern tie to shore to keep us from swinging out towards deeper water and dragging anchor.

The weather was perfect and I quickly got out in the kayak.  Sunny and temperatures in the 80’s!  The outer basin is spectacularly beautiful, similar to Princess Louisa Inlet and Misty Fjords National Monument.  Lots of waterfalls, streams, etc.
Summer in Alaska
The rock walls are immense

Many waterfalls around the inlet 
This stream emptied right near our anchorage
An hour or so after we arrived a seaplane landed in the cove and taxied around for a while.  I couldn’t figure out why.  After another hour or so, a 70+ foot Viking yacht pulled in and anchored and the seaplane taxied to its swimstep.  I paddled over and talked to the captain of the yacht for a few minutes, and it turns out the owners are avid pilots who use the boat as a base for seaplane flights.  And I thought the Mokai was a cool toy!  They also had kayaks, a big inflatable dinghy, and a seadoo.

After dinner they dinghied over to us and invited us over for drinks.  There were 8 or 9 people aboard, all pilots except for the hired captain of the boat, up from California for just a few days.  Tomorrow some of the family is taking the boat to Juneau, others are taking the seaplane to Ketchikan where they’ll switch to another of their planes, fly to Juneau to pick up the rest of the family, and then fly to southern California.  They’ll repeat this shuffle several more times throughout the summer.  Certainly a unique way to travel!  The owner said he would have given us rides over the glaciers yesterday in the seaplane, but his wife had burned all the fuel in the morning and he spent the afternoon flying to Juneau to fill up the tanks instead.  Oh well.
Sunset on the mountains
22.2 nm today and 1,073.8 total

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