2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 2, Day 4 – Wrangell to Farragut Bay | NW Explorations


2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 2, Day 4 – Wrangell to Farragut Bay

Leaving Wrangell in a morning haze made getting off the docks and underway an incredibly warm experience. With little wind and sitting in the breezes of sailing back through Zimovia Strait, our trek to Farragut Bay was quite relaxing.

Exiting Zimovia Strait we navigated west towards Sumner Strait and prepared to enter the stunning, Wrangell Narrows. These narrows are a 22-mile long channel with many winding turns and maneuverings, especially during our low tide slack crossing. Wrangell Narrows is one of the six listed narrows in Southeast Alaska and contains around 60 lighted buoys to aid in navigation. However, that number fluxes a bit by the powerful tides and crossing vessels that can take them out during arduous conditions. As we passed through with a serpentine pattern, our attention to our surroundings dramatically increased by the time we made it to the middle of the narrows as the channel was peppered with fishing vessels, making for an entertaining and exciting experience for everyone.

Once through the north end of the narrows we entered Fredrick Sound and said hello to the city of Petersburg. We will be returning here in a week’s time given this is our final destination of Leg 2! Headed through the sound we passed alongside a sleepy Stellar sea lion show, throttling back a bit to keep from waking them.

Fredrick Sound is known for being a major migration route for Humpback whales and for its influx of marine mammals heading north to feed on the cold nutrient rich summer waters. Keeping our eyes peeled for whale activity, we all couldn’t keep our eyes off the majestic peaks of the Coat Mountain range surrounding the channel. With the mountains rising up to almost 10,000 feet, the cruise was breathtaking to say the least.

As we continue on through Fredrick Sound the clear skies offered us a very detailed look at the LeConte Glacier. Coming down from the Stikine Ice Field, the LeConte Glacier is the southernmost tidewater glacier in the Northern Hemisphere.

Because this glacier is melting at its fastest recorded rate, it is being heavily studied by universities and high schools in southeast Alaska. One research study is utilizing the data collected from this glacier to help better understand the melting and receding of the ice packs in Greenland, given LeConte is much more accessible, and its narrow characteristics make measurements from vessels much easier.

By the time we reached Farragut Bay the weather was incredible. Not a cloud in the sky, and as soon as we got our raft situated, anchors snug, and kayaks and dinghies dropped into the water, we were all ready for a day of exploration after a long cruise.

The sun’s rays were high in the sky, and they had no plans of setting anytime soon. Crew were out on the water for hours, exploring the high tidal lines and watching the ebb rapidly expose all that was once concealed. Farragut Bay is historically known for its abundance of both salmon and halibut, with hills rich in quartz. Due to the power of a small stream running from these hills into the bay there are vast tidal flats dense in grasses at its farthest end.

Wrapping up our adventures and preparing to hunker down for the evening, we spent a few more moments relishing in the sun and taking in our expansive surroundings for the night. Today’s 8-hour cruise was full of sight-seeing and natural wonder, but with the warm sun and the soft blues we were all looking forward to a restful and peaceful night with our crew.

P.S. Is Alaska on your bucket list? We can take you there! Email us to reserve your spot on our 2023 Mother Goose AK Flotilla. info@nwexplorations.com 

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