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Featured

ADVENTURES

ALASKA: 2015 LEG 1 – NEWCOMBE HARBOR TO PRINCE RUPERT

From Newcombe Harbour we followed Petrel Channel up to Arthur Passage to Ogden Channel, Malaca Passage, Marcus Passage…

It was actually a fairly straight shot from Newcombe Harbour to Prince Rupert Harbour, but each passage and channel melds into a new one, and like the tidal flows into these waterways it’s hard to delineate just where one body of water ends and another begins.  The chart reads like a list of who’s who.

We have a wet and rainy morning, but as our naturalist reminds us Prince Rupert holds the distinction of being Canada’s cloudiest city, and with an average annual rainfall of 93” a year, it seems the right weather to usher us into Prince Rupert.  Any better weather would detract from the genuine Prince Rupert experience.   Really, who is really going to complain about breaking out the raingear more than three weeks into a trip through the Northwest, along what’s referred to as the raincoast?  We’ve been too spoiled.

And even if we are a bit damp and drippy bringing up anchors, by the time we actually arrive in Prince Rupert, the skies have lifted, and although overcast, let us explore the small downtown without the inconvenience of precipitation.

Entering Prince Rupert Harbour we’re greeted with the sight of large grain mills loading tanker vessels bound for Asia.  Indeed Prince Rupert is a significant port – with a bustling sport as well as commercial fishery, and it serves as a terminus for a variety of materials bound for Asia aboard the tankers stationed just off the port, which dwarf all the other vessels entering the harbor.

The crew aboard Deception and others with the fleet have been watching the weather over the last couple evenings – a low pressure front moving in has high winds predicted for the next several days.  The fleet has been provided the heads up that although we had anticipated a lay day in Prince Rupert and an evening in Foggy Cove, if conditions are predicted to deteriorate, Deception will be recommending an early departure tomorrow morning and a 10 hour run to Ketchikan to avoid the weather coming in.  No one is too disappointed to trade in a lay day in Prince Rupert for an extra day in Ketchikan.

Shortly after arriving on the docks, John aboard Ajax discovers some phenomenal shots of the bald eagles feeding off the seiner docked on the other side of the fuel dock – at least a half dozen eagles feeding off the detritus left wrapped  in the boats heavy reel of fishing net.   Later in the evening, crew aboard Ajax and Eldean head to the pub to catch the basketball game.

By 9 pm the winds have picked up and the fog and rain have rolled in.  Vietnamese conversation squelches in over the radio, likely the crew aboard one of the tankers waiting just off the port terminals.  These docks are a bustling metropolis in contrast to the quiet anchorages we’ve enjoyed, a portal back into the real world.  A place with newspapers and wifi, basketball games and pub food.

Although the day light now stretches well past 10pm, we try and turn in early for a departure tomorrow.  The plan is for an early departure and a straight run to Ketchikan.  We plan to be off the docks tomorrow morning at o’dark thirty.

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