Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 53-St. John Harbor to Petersburg

Since dad has an evening flight out of Wrangell and I want to catch an afternoon flood going up Wrangell Narrows, there’s no rush to get out of St. John Harbor.  We had a relaxed morning and chatted more with Carl and Debbie.  They gave me a bunch of ice and some shrimp they had recently caught.

We pulled out of the harbor around 10:30 to take advantage of the beginning of the flood on our way to Wrangell.  The trip is only about 20 nm and we made it in an hour and a half.  I got a bit of gas (~$0.50 per gallon more than Petersburg!) and then we wandered around town.

Wrangell is doing a whole bunch of roadwork this summer and main street is totally torn up.  No cars and no pedestrians are allowed on much of it, and there’s lots of heavy equipment working.  As such, Wrangell was probably not at its finest, but I didn’t find it particularly impressive.  I definitely prefer Petersburg and Sitka.

I left Wrangell around 2:45 to head back to Petersburg.  I originally had intended to go down the west side of Prince of Wales Island and then back up to Petersburg the 29th to pick up my mom and twin brother (three on the boat…we’ll see how that goes!), but I talked to a good friend from college a few days back who grew up in Petersburg and is seining up here this summer.  He said he’d be in town Monday and Tuesday, so I figured it’d be worth heading back up to Petersburg early to catch up with him.

Sumner Strait was nearly flat calm and I cruised through at 13 knots.  Wrangell Narrows was easy once again, and I got to Petersburg about three hours after leaving Wrangell.

Jordan came down and met me at the marina after I checked in.  The boat he’s working on is moored just down the dock from me, but he’s staying at a family friends house when he’s in town.  I got a tour of the boat; it’s certainly designed for doing a job rather than comfort.  Accessing the (cramped) crew quarters requires walking through the engine room, and there’s not much insulation between the two.  I’m sure it’s loud when underway.  Jordan is driving the seine skiff, a job he doesn’t seem to like too much, I’m sure partially because a big Detroit Diesel sits right in front of him in an uninsulated aluminum box.  Even at idle speed the engine is awfully loud.

By the time we made it up to the restaurants to get dinner it was 8:00 and most of the restaurants had already closed down.  Keto’s Kave, one of the bars in town, has some food so we went there for an authentic Alaskan fishing town experience.

After dinner we met up with some of Jordan’s friends and checked out the other bar in town.  I thought that the yacht crowd drinks a lot, but I think the fishermen have them beat.  It was like the last month of college all over again.  After wandering back to Keto’s Kave  and drinking a few too many beers we borrowed bikes and rode out to a place called whale observatory and then to a rope swing located up a creek in the forest.  A fun night, and certainly the latest I’ve stayed up in months.

60.2 nm today and 2,033.4 total

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