Saturday, June 8, 2013

Prince Rupert to Ketchikan 84 miles

We spent two cold and wet days in PR and were glad to leave once we had a weather window to cross Dixon entrance. We telephoned US border patrol to seek permission to stay at Foggy bay on our way across to Ketchiken. You are supposed to check into customs without dropping anchor but given that Ketchiken is 84 miles away we might not be able to make it that far. We transited Venn Passage, a twisting and turning shoal passage through from Prince Rupert Harbour to Chatham sound and Dixon Entrance. As we exited Venn Passage the winds and seas built and we hoisted the sails. The wind was on our bow again so we headed off as much as we could and sailed in choppy conditions pass Dundas Island into eastern Dixon entrance. We decided that we would skip the stopover in Foggy bay and arrive late in Ketchiken. The viability deteriorated and heavy showers drenched the boat periodically. We say a very large cruise ship on the AIS heading right for us at 20 knots so we tacked to avoid its path. The weather improved and the winds died down as we passed Duke Island to our west. We sailed at around 6 knots towards Ketchiken until the wind died down by Pennock Island at the SE end of Tongass narrows. We called up Ketchiken harbor and assigned us a slip and called US customs to advise of our arrival. They told us that as it was late we were supposed to stay aboard until an officer would sign us in the following morning. We were allocated a slip in the North harbor which is a rather rickety fishing port. All the vessels around us were working boats and getting ready for the forthcoming fishing season.

The following morning the local chief of Customs and Border patrol came aboard Sarita and checked our passports and boat papers. TC, the Border officer, explained the process to us without being condescending like some CBP officers we have met and drove me down to their office to complete the process. On the journey he very kindly told us all about the town and its heritage. He was a wonderful and very helpful man. Once the formalities were completed he drove me back to the boat! Amazing. Thanks TC.    
It rained heavily whilst we were in Ketchiken. Despite this we walked the 2 miles into town to see what it had to offer. Not much is the answer. It seems to exist for the cruise ships that spew out their passengers whereupon the local gannet-like tour representatives feast on the masses. They have a limited amount of time to entice their pray to purchase trips to watch whales, visit Misty Fijord, visit canneries and sell them Chinese made  souvenirs and sell overpriced restaurant food.  Not our favorite place but it serves a purpose. We provisioned in Safeways, bought some spares for an anchor chain modification and prepared to head deeper into Alaska.

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