Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 25-Taku Harbor to Oliver Inlet

Originally I had planned to arrive in Auke Bay (basically Juneau) a day before Ben’s flight out and go hiking somewhere.  But when I looked through the guidebook, I noticed Oliver Inlet.  The entrance is complicated, since it is shallow, narrow, uncharted, and strong currents run through it.  But it sounded like an interesting spot and only 16 nm away from Taku Harbor.  The guidebook said bears frequent the area, making it even more intriguing.  So we decided to check it out.

High water slack was predicted around 6:00 pm, so that’s about the time we wanted to arrive.  It was still windy at Taku Harbor, and I thought that might slow our progress, so we pulled out around 2:30.  We ended up getting a nice boost from the current, and it was apparent that we were going to arrive way too early to get into Oliver Inlet.  To kill time I ran a bit on the kicker to keep it exercised.  It ran fine, but it does make a lot of noise and isn’t the most pleasant thing to be around.  So we ended up shutting down both engines and drifting for 45 minutes or so.  I figured we could go in around 5:00 pm and be fine, and headed in around then.

The current was still running about 3 knots, but the boat was easily controllable and the depths were more than adequate.  I saw a minimum depth of about 6 feet.  The entrance channel is about a mile long, then it opens up a bit with depths greater than 20 feet.  We made our way to the head of the inlet and dropped the anchor off the beach where a trail leads to a USFS cabin.  While the guidebook said the inlet was incredibly well protected from wind, we found about 20 knots of wind inside, although the fetch is minimal and the water was mostly calm.

We decided it was worth checking out the trail to the USFS cabin.  It’s a mile long and follows a boardwalk/train track that people use to portage kayaks and small boats across a peninsula (otherwise you have to take a 60 nm detour up Stephens Passage) or move their gear to the cabin.  Admiralty Island has a high concentration brown bears and we both carried bear spray and flare guns in case we had an unwanted encounter.  People up here tell me that a .44 or larger is ideal for brown bears…hopefully we won’t find out.

The walk was actually pretty interesting.  Most of it was through a kind of scenic swampland, with vegetation I haven’t seen before.  We got to the empty cabin, checked it out a bit, and then returned to the boat.  No bears.
The boardwalk/train track
View from the USFS cabin
The "train"
We’ll need to leave early tomorrow to make the roughly 6:00 morning high slack water out of here. 

17.2 nm today and 1,134.2 total

No comments :

Post a Comment