Today, was a day for mariners. The trip from Petersburg to Wrangell is a mere 41 miles but half of that is transiting through the treacherous Wrangell Narrows. The Narrows, a sliver of a channel dividing Kupreanof Island from Mitkof Island, is a difficult but often-used route. Without the narrows dividing the two islands, boaters would have to add mileage to their trip by going around the east side of Mitkof Island. That being said every year there are news reports of boaters running aground in the Narrows, so this passage is not for the faint of heart. The 22-mile stretch is covered with over 60 aids to navigation, and requires excellent situational awareness and boat handling. Which of course, our Mother Goose fleet has in spades. With red and green markers dotting the channel every few yards it is no wonder the Wrangell Narrow is nicknamed Christmas Tree Alley!
After the Narrows it was smooth sailing all the way to Heritage Harbor in Wrangell. Crews expertly maneuvered into the harbor, squeezing in amongst the seiners and sport fishing vessels. Once settle, several fleets walked into town to visit the historic Chief Shakes Tribal House. A traditional clan house of the Naanyaa.aayi Clan, the Chief Shakes Tribal House was built in 1940 as a historic monument and a touchstone of Tlingit culture. Our group was greeted by Arthur and Virginia, both of whom graciously shared their time and some traditional Tlingit stories with our group. Once we were seated in the clan house, with the smell of cedar planks in the air and beautiful carvings adorning every wall, Arthur and Virginia told us stories of how the Tlingit people came to be on this land thousands of years ago when the earth was covered in ice. To know that the breathtaking landscapes and ecosystems our fleet get to travel through has been stewarded and in relationship with the people who still live on this land is humbling and a beautiful insight into an already beautiful trip. Thank you so much Arthur and Virginia!