Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 51-Petersburg to Ideal Cove

The Douglass guidebook warns against visiting LeConte Glacier.  Apparently the entrance is tricky, with high currents, rocks, and ice.  But I had heard from a number of people that it’s no big deal and this is the only glacier that I can feasibly show dad.

After looking at the charts and tide table, I decided we should arrive at the entrance around 9:30, right about low water slack.  We left Petersburg at about 8:10 in heavy rain and some fog and cruised over to the entrance to LeConte Bay, arriving at 9:20.  There wasn’t much current or shallow water, although there were plenty of big icebergs.  Nothing hard to avoid, though.

The trip up bay was pleasantly ice free.  Sure, there were plenty of big chunks, but they’re easy to see.  It’s the little ones, particularly those that are translucent rather than white or blue, that present the real hazard.

LeConte Glacier is close to Petersburg and quick to access.  We got to within a few miles of the glacier in about 2 hours, cruising at 13 knots.  The last couple miles I slowed down to avoid the smaller ice, but I easily got to a quarter mile from the glacier.

The surroundings are beautiful, similar to Tracy Arm.  Lots of waterfalls, towering cliffs and mountain peaks, lots of snow.  Dad paddled around in the kayak for a bit, we watched some calving, and then headed out.  
Dad paddling in front of the glacier
Scenery in LeConte Bay
Face of LeConte Glacier
Me on the boat in front of LeConte Glacier
More scenery
The trip out was easy and it was still early, so we cruised at an easy 5 knots.  Just after crossing the “bar” at the entrance I heard a loud crash and a bit of a shudder.  I quickly pulled the engine into neutral.  The water was 160 feet deep, so we hadn’t hit a rock.  Looking back in the wake I could barely make out a translucent piece of ice.  It was fairly big, maybe 150 lbs, and I’d run right over it.  I tilted the engine up and couldn’t see any damage.  I was only going 5 knots, so I doubt there’s any damage other than a few scrapes, perhaps.  A look along the waterline revealed nothing.

Anyway, it was an easy trip into Ideal Cove.  There’s not much to see here, although it is silent and remote.  Hardly any boat traffic goes by the entrance and the water was perfectly calm.  I paddled into shore and found a cabin nestled in the trees.  It didn’t look like anyone has been there for quite some time.

40.1 nm today and 1,929.6 total

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