This morning our route took us through the Wrangell narrows. This 21-mile-long narrow and winding channel passes many dangerous shoals and tidal flats with strong tidal currents frequently moving both north and south through the channel. Luckily the channel is well marked, but it is also heavily trafficked. Large vessels, including the Alaska state ferry and multiple tug companies and commercial fishing vessels use the channel. At some points, the channel narrows so much that if a large vessel is traveling one way the boats heading in the opposite direction may need to reverse in order to find a safe place to pull off of the main channel and wait for the larger boat to pass.
Luckily, the weather held and we had great conditions for navigating the channel. In low-visibility conditions the Wrangell narrows feel much more intimidating. We passed many small and large fishing boats in the channel but no ferries or other boats that required we alter our course. All of the skippers navigated the narrows perfectly, and it was an enjoyable challenge to start off the day.
We saw many bald eagles lining the way point markers and even some black tail deer along the beaches. The day was clear and the water reflecting the blue sky gave the area an almost tropical appearance. The only thing reminding us we were still in Alaska being the snow-capped peaks in the distance.
We arrived in the small town of Wrangell in the early afternoon with plenty of time to explore. Most of the group joined us in town for a ceremonial song and dance performance put on by the native Tlingit tribe at the Chief Shakes Tribal house. This experience gave us a unique glimpse of the culture and history of the native people in the area.
After a fun afternoon exploring and learning in town, most of our crews opted to try out the local cuisine in town. We watched as a beautiful sunset unfolded across the water in front of us. And enjoyed a peaceful night in the sleepy little town of Wrangell. We are all excited for our upcoming adventures tomorrow. Some of us will be doing fishing charters and the rest will be going on a bear viewing tour.