Petersburg, AK – Dodging Bergie Bits

This blog is short…because really there are no words that adequately describe the beauty and scale of Fords Terror, the highlight of our week.  Check out the video that we just posted:  Video 4 – Icebergs & Glaciers in Southeast Alaska

We left Meyers Chuck, headed for the glaciers.  We made stops at Wrangell and Petersburg along the way.  Both are quaint fishing towns, with all the necessary services for cruisers (fuel, groceries, restaurants – all conveniently located near the marinas).  

From Petersburg, we took a day trip to LeConte glacier.  Sam and Ralph came with us on Cassidy so we could take turns exploring closer in on the dinghy while someone stayed on board the big boat.  The large chunks of ice that break of the glaciers (called calving) and float out in the narrow passages made it difficult, if not impossible, to bring the big boat close to the glacier and anchoring is not an option due to the depth.  We werent able to get up to the glacier because of the dense flow of bergie bits, but we played around near some serious iceberg chucks.  


Playing around the icebergs

Dinner in the pilot house

From Petersburg, we waved goodbye to civilization, as we would make our way to Juneau for the next week through some very remote locations.  We stayed overnight at Pybus and Tracy Arm Cove on our way to Fords Terror.  

Tracy Arm Cove

Ummm….somewhere amazing, near Tracy Arm Cove

Entering Fords Terror takes some planning as it can only be entered at high slack.  The water rushes wildly through the narrow entrance outside of the slack tide, and the shoals on either side are exposed at low tide.  The area was named after a naval crew who paddled into the narrows in the late 1800s, only to be stuck for 6 hours waiting out the tidal rapids.  High slack on the night we would stay was at 8 pm so we spent the day playing around the icebergs at Endicott Arm.  

Dawes Glacier in Endicott Arm

More at Endicott Arm

Dawes Glacier

Wildlife lounging on the icebergs

These guys are everywhere!

We were in awe as we passed through Fords Terror.  We were stumbling over ourselves to snap pictures, take video, and simply stare at the backdrop that was unfolding before us.  We followed the very narrow passage between two towering walls with several waterfalls along the way to our anchorage.  

Maybe we will just stay….

Great anchorage, if only the views were better ๐Ÿ˜›

We spent 2 nights at Fords Terror so we had a full day to explore the passages.  In the morning, the group took a dinghy tour of the area.  We discovered a hidden waterfall, ran the dinghies through the rapids, and circled around a huge iceberg.  When we got back to the boat, we pulled on our dry suits for some water activities.  I went paddle boarding and Dougal dove under the boat to change the zincs.  (Ok, my activity was clearly more fun.)

Endless views on the way to our anchorage at Fords Terror

Hidden waterfall at Fords Terror

Ralph caught a good pic of us in action

More waterfalls….

Dinghy excursion around Fords Terror

Oh, and of course there are boat projects….replacing the water maker membrane
In the evening, we were relaxing in the pilot house, having a nice dinner, after the busy day.  I commented that the water was starting to stir, similar to how it was when I was out paddle boarding.  Quickly it became even more rough.  Next thing we noticed was the anchor watch.  We were outside the anchor alarm range.  Not critical at this point because the anchor watch is intentionally set at a closer distance to warn us of a potential concern.  But it still put us on alert.  Then the squall rolled in.  Our anemometer showed 33 knots and the rain was dumping.  We decided to prepare the boat in case the anchor started to drag.

It took us 30 minutes or so to pull on our foul weather gear, pull up the fishing lines, and bring up the dinghy and paddle boards.  In the end, the anchor held tight.  In fact, by the time we were done preparing the boat, the weather had passed!  We learned a lesson though – always be prepared to move quickly if necessary.  

The next morning, we would leave at 8 am high slack.  The group slowly made our way to the exit.  The 4 mph speed reflected our reluctance to leave.  Passage through the narrows was uneventful and we were on our way to Taku Harbor.  This was our final stop before arriving in Juneau.

We just got to Juneau….but I think Im going to like it here.  More to come.

1 thought on “Petersburg, AK – Dodging Bergie Bits”

  1. Karin Weishaup

    STUNNING!!! That sums it all up.  I love the seals on the ice floes.  LOL-Icebergy Bits!!!  Some Bits!!!  Looks like you had wonderful excursions.

    Love Mom/Bubu/Karin

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