As agreed upon we showed up at the Alaskan Vistas coffee hut at 10am to go on our Glacier tour. Sylvia, the guide, and as it turned out also one of the owners, gave us a quick overview of what we were going to do. From Wrangell we were gonna go up Dry Strait which is part of the Sitkine River Delta and goes dry at low tide, then go into the glacier lagoon and if conditions permit go all the way up to the glacier. Afterwards we were gonna head for Petersburg on the north end of Wrangell Narrows, have lunch and go back to Wrangell via the narrows. On board with us there were two women from NYC, another guide and a photographer/biologist who just tagged along. We sped through Dry Strait at breakneck speed with Sylvia looking more back and explaining stuff then paying attention to the water but she knew what she was doing. The depth sounder was hovering around 2 feet. Good to have a an aluminum jetboat. When we got out on the other side we saw the first few icebergs floating around and the closer we got the denser the ice got. With the tidal currents it was like a maelstrom of ice that the boat was caught in. We hit a couple big ones too which Sylvia commented with ‘ouch that one hurt’ on her brand new boat. The glacier has receded over the past couple years and it is very easy to tell by the cleanliness of the rock face on the side. Even moss needs a couple years to grow and so the transition goes from clean granite to moss, to bushes. We fished out some small icebergs for later use in our whiskey and worked our way back through the ice into open waters and raced to Petersburg for lunch. Petersburg is slightly bigger than Wrangell and has an even bigger fishing community. On the dock in Petersburg we walked into our friends Fritz&Fritz from Michigan who had taken their boat Nana through the Narrows and were headed further north to Sitka. We had met in Prince Rupert and kind of followed each other along the way and exchanged tips on good anchorages. It was kind of sad to part ways now.
After a short chat we got back on the jetboat and headed back through Wrangell Narrows, turns out Sylvia owns a gillnetter as well and we learned some of the differences between gillnetter, purse-seiner, trawler, etc. Even stopped at one of her friends boat to look at a gillnet up close (tip for sailors, always head for the boat when you see a gillnetter if you don’t wanna get caught in the net) and got back to Wrangell at dinner time.
This is as far north as we will go. Tomorrow we will head back South, a little bit sad but also excited for the adventures ahead.