Monday, July 7, 2014

Day 25: Madan Bay to St. John Harbor

First stop today was Wrangell. I won’t be visiting Wrangell on the trip south, so I wanted to see if anything had changed from a few years ago.
Scenery near Wrangell
Not much had changed. Last time I was here the sidewalk along main street was torn to pieces. This time the project was complete. They’ve also added a massive 300-ton lift to haul out large boats.

We continued on to St. John Harbor, a good anchorage near the south end of Wrangell Narrows which would position us well for heading to Petersburg tomorrow.

Just as I was dropping the anchor I heard a very clear mayday call on VHF 16. I quickly plotted the position in Gardner Canal, 14 nautical miles away. Even at wide open throttle, I’d be close to an hour away.

Others were much closer, on scene within minutes. The stricken troller had hit a rock (charted, no less) at cruising speed and was taking on water fast. They had three Honda pumps running, barely keeping up. Thankfully for them, they were sitting on the rock, so as long as the tide was ebbing they were safe.

The USCG was notably absent from the radio traffic, and as far as I could tell they never dispatched any assets. Instead, the troller rescued itself with tarps and epoxy, well enough to make it back to Petersburg on its own power. Impressive self reliance.

I’d been in St. John Harbor several times a couple years ago and much has changed. It’s now a busy logging operation, with 20 or so people and lots of heavy equipment. The loggers didn’t mind us poking around their camp and equipment…all interesting to see up close.
One of the little tugs for the log gin operation.
Logging camp, home to about 20.
Still plenty of scenic value.
Another night rafted together. 
35.11 nm today
878.56 nm total

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