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Old 20-01-2014, 00:00   #16
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Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

Originally Posted by StuM View Post
> Oh yes, one can sail directly to Seward from Hawaii. Many boats actually do this. Set magnetic course 180

Navigation in the style of Wrong Way Corrigan?
Ahhaha. Yes of course, I was thinking of the route from Seward Boat Harbor to Hawaii! good catch! It's easier going north, just chase the zero's on the compass card!

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Old 20-01-2014, 00:14   #17
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Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

4 months may june july august. beautiful take a good camera and a lot of storage. you will most likely be motoring most of the time the winds on the inside passage are not super consistent. talked to a guy who sailed most of it but was willing to sit somewhere for how ever long it took to wait for a favorable wind.

if you are doing glacier bay. there is all kinds of reservation stuff to deal with. and very specific dates. kind of a pain to keep on your scedule to make sure you get your dates. but I have heard it that they have many no-shows and hold some passes back for various reasons so when you are a day or two away you call and ask. then hope for the best.

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Old 20-01-2014, 07:02   #18
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Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

Here's the skinny on Glacier Bay:

Glacier Bay

For many cruisers a visit to Glacier Bay is a lifetime goal. Sitting right in front of a tidewater glacier in your own little boat, watching 100-200 foot chunks of ice calving into the sea, is an experience never to be forgotten. And critter-watching is super.

Chart: Chart 17318

Cruising Glacier Bay is no trivial undertaking. It is a very big place, and with its huge snow-covered mountains has some of the most challenging weather in Southeast. Distances are great, anchorages are few, and there are several restrictions.

Only 25 boats are allowed in Glacier Bay at a time, and you need an entry permit. Many cruisers make reservations ahead of time, and then find that weather or other difficulties make their schedule unworkable. From our experience, the best way to get a permit may be waiting to call Park HQ at Bartlett Cove until you’re close by (say at Hoonah or in Icy Strait), and the forecast for the next few days looks reasonable. For best odds, call right at 6 AM (they’re open 6 AM - 10:30 PM) on either (907) 697-2627 or VHF 12. Chances are fairly good that a cancellation has freed up a permit, and you can take advantage of it if you’re nearby and ready. If no permit is available, ask again later – they don’t mind.

You’ll need a minimum of two days in Glacier Bay to make it to and from the Margerie Glacier. The Margerie, at the top of Glacier Bay some 60 miles from the entrance, is a spectacular and active calving glacier. You can get fairly close to its face, some 200-300 feet high. On the way north, the Lamplugh and Johns Hopkins glaciers are spectacular as well. With a third or fourth day, you could see quite a bit more, at a less frantic pace, and have better odds of dealing with uncooperative weather.

To start your Glacier Bay excursion, stop in at Park HQ and attend an orientation on do’s and don’ts. As of 2008 the lecture was given only at pre-scheduled times, so you’ll want to plan your first day accordingly. You might try entering the park very early, calling Bartlett Cove to check in when you cross the boundary. Tie up at the float, and catch the 8AM orientation (bring your National Geographic map of the Bay so you can see details). With good weather, you should be able to make it a good part of the way north, to an anchorage at North Sandy Cove, Blue Mouse Cove, or in front of the glacier in Reid Inlet.

Parts of the bay are considered whale waters, where boat speed is limited to 13 knots. Even with a fast boat, you’ll find that first day pretty full, getting through the entry process and on to an anchorage, unless you anchor right there in Bartlett Cove (the float’s limited to a three-hour stay, except for dinghies). If you do anchor in Bartlett Cove, be aware that it’s open to the west, and can get pretty lumpy in a west wind. You could also anchor at Fingers Bay without traveling too far – but remember to enter very carefully.

From North Sandy, Blue Mouse, or Reid, you could head north the next morning, spend 2-4 hours at the Margerie Glacier, and come back south to anchor again. As you slowly approach the glacier through fields of bergy bits, keep a sharp lookout for small ones called “growlers”, only a foot or a few feet long, and often nearly clear. These weigh more than you might guess, and can give your boat or your prop quite a thump. The smaller ones make great ice for the cooler.

If you get back to Bartlett Cove for your last evening, and are out of permit days, the following morning you can call and obtain a “transit permit” to leave the park that day.

If the weather sounds intimidating, or you’re able to get only one or two permit days, a nice way to see Glacier Bay is the Fairweather Express tour boat, operated by the park lodge.

For about $180 per person (2008), you can have a wonderful day tour, seeing some of the finest glaciers and lots of wildlife, with a friendly crew and on-board naturalist. For us, one ticket cost about the same as touring the bay in our own boat.

Even with only a single day’s permit, you could still enter Glacier Bay, get your orientation, and then anchor in Bartlett Cove. The next day, leaving your boat at anchor, row your dinghy in to the float (motor vessels may not be operated without a permit for that day) and catch the tour boat. On the third day, call for a transit permit when you’re ready to go, and exit the park.

If Glacier Bay doesn’t work out for your cruise, an excellent alternative is the Tracy Arm of Holkham Bay, south of Juneau on the east side of Stephens Passage. In fact, you might want to give it a tour even if you’ve already been to Glacier Bay. It’s a particularly beautiful steep-sided fjord, with two tidewater glaciers, lots of icebergs, far less challenging conditions, and few of the complications of Glacier Bay.
Richard Cook
Dream Catcher (Nordic Tugs 37)
"Cruising in a Big Way"
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Old 26-01-2014, 18:29   #19
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Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

Yes, it really is that great. Many people who dream of going never make it for one reason or another (it's too far, it's too cold, it's too scary, I don't like polar bears, Jimmy Buffet doesn't play there, Canada is in the way, etc).

This makes it even greater.

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Old 26-01-2014, 18:44   #20
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Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post

How difficult is the trip and where would mark a good end. Ketchikan or Petersburg? Juneau? ..
Tracy Arm would be a good "end." Expect to motor a lot in SE Alaska.

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Old 26-01-2014, 22:13   #21
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Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Tracy Arm would be a good "end." Expect to motor a lot in SE Alaska.
Tracy and Endicot Arm are both stunning. some truely amazing sights in S.E. Alaska.
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Old 28-01-2014, 05:38   #22
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Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

I'm ok with motoring. Last year I was trying to sail all the time but by the end of the season I only sailed when there was wind. Seems obvious, I know.

I just bought a Bristol 26. I'm unsure where to go. I'm trying to decide on

1: circumnavigating van
2: Alaska and back
3: just playing it by ear and going to desolation, the discovery islands and broughton's.
4: finding some skill or guts or a combination and going to Hawaii

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alaska, rib, weather

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