Friday, June 24, 2016

Alaska 2016 | Day 35 | Ford's Terror to Dawes Glacier to Tracy Arm Cove

Clouds moved in overnight and we woke to see Ford's Terror in a different light—misty, cloudy, but no less beautiful.

Today is another glacier day, this time Dawes Glacier, at the head of Endicott Arm. Once we see the glacier, we'll head back to Tracy Arm Cove to spend the night. High-water slack at the Ford's Terror rapids is sometime between 12:30 pm and 1:30 p.m. Then it's about 16 nautical miles to Dawes Glacier, then 35 nautical miles back out to Tracy Arm Cove.

Doll Face heading out of Ford's Terror
We arrived at the Ford's Terror entrance (in this case exit) rapids at about noon, well before slack. Given the long day we had ahead, and the recon I'd done in the dinghy over the last few days, I cheated slack. The water was still flooding in, so we were traveling against it. And we made it through just fine. The maximum current velocity was about 5 knots, but the water flowed smoothly and the boats tracked well. I wouldn't want to be traveling the same direction as the current, though.

Not much ice in the water. Dawes Glacier in sight.
The run up Endicott Arm to Dawes Glacier was easy, with no significant ice in the water. We ran at cruise speed pretty much the whole way, only occasionally having to disengage the autopilot to steer through areas with higher concentrations of ice.

Because Tracy Arm is not navigable right now, Endicott Arm was busy. We shared the glacier-watching experience with several commercial tour boats. Compared to Le Conte, our visit to Dawes Glacier was more crowded with worse weather and much less ice in the water, but we got much closer to the glacier. Both were great, just different.
Drone photo of the fleet (plus a bunch of skiffs from an Uncruise boat and the David B) at Dawes Glacier
Anna took the kayak out...
...and I buzzed her with the drone
Stormy at the head of Endicott Arm.
Engines off, drifting at the head of Endicott Arm. The views are impressive in every direction.
We spent an hour at Dawes Glacier, then headed out. Back in Tracy Arm Cove by 7:30 p.m., tired, but exhilarated by another great day in Alaska.

54.41 nm today
1093.58 nm total

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