Ken and Nancy Blewett have been with us for 26 of the 28 years we have been chartering in Alaska. This time they brought alone Ken’s son Kevin, his wife Heather, Nancy’s niece Michelle and her husband Ben and James and Karen Kemp for their second trip.
We are always challenged to do something a little different for a couple that has been with us over 50 times. Rather than starting in Seattle as they had done for most of the past decade they met us in Ketchikan. From there we cruised north through Clarence Strait to Rocky Pass; narrow, shallow and, of course, rocky. We are as far as I know the largest yacht to regularly transit the pass. Though requiring care and patience while working with the tides and currents the rewards are beautiful scenery, lots of sea otters and a saving of about 6 hours on the transit to ort stop at Red Bluff Bay. This Bay is on Ken’s list of musts for the bear viewing and the beauty but even more for the Alaskan Spotted Shrimp we catch in great numbers.
We cruised north through Chatham Strait to into Frederick Sound and Pybus Bay where we fulfilled Ken and Nancy’s next “must”: Dungeness Crabs which supplied a dinner and several nights salads as well as a crab omelet or two. The next day Heather caught a 30-pound halibut and we visited a haul-out for Steller Sea Lions at the Brothers.
An all-time favorite of all the group is Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm. The Arm is a narrow Norwegian like fjord about 24 miles long which culminates at two beautiful tide-water glaciers. Unfortunately, because the glaciers are so active and produced so much ice the icebergs made the passage impossible we took the alternative Endicott Arm; arguable as beautiful when you include its Ford’s Terror anchorage. Ford’s Terror is an uncharted fjord off the main arm which is only entered at high slack with a vessel as large as the Alaskan Story. Not having favorable tides, we chose to anchor outside and enter in our 17 foot Boston Whaler Montauk. We proceeded up the Arm the following morning to the majestic sight of Dawes Glacier.
After leaving the Arm we cruised north around the north end of Admiralty Island and contemplated proceeding west to the Gulf of Alaska and south through a protected passageway south through Chichagof Wilderness Area. The weather was not favorable so we continued south in Chatham Strait to Peril Strait and continued over the next few days into Sitka a favorite town for all of us.