Friday, May 15, 2015

At the Crossroads

Bridge connecting Douglas Island and Juneau
Departed Juneau on May 15th after topping off with diesel fuel at the Petro fuel dock, which meant we motored north up the Gastineau Channel and under the bridge that connects Douglas Island with Juneau.  As a convenience to boaters, a chart or scale is clearly visible under the bridge so boaters know how much air draft is above them.  Naturally as the tide goes up there is less room above, so boaters need to keep in mind the air draft of their boat; Got d’ Fever’s air draft with the mast up is 20 feet.  
Chart/Marker to help Calculate Air Draft
Large ships and sailboats need to be particularly careful regarding their air draft in addition to their sea draft. Readers may have noticed our breadcrumb trail around the fuel dock area which seems to imply that we spent several hours there.  No, we didn’t go aground in this shallow area; the Delorme device had reset to a 10 minute breadcrumb trail.  Before leaving the Douglas docks, Leonard had synchronized our Delorme device with the web site for contacts and other settings.  When synchronization begins, the device automatically starts downloading updates.  In the process, the device changed back to its default setting at a10 minute tracking crumb trail.  After leaving the fuel dock, Leonard reset the Delorme back to our desired one-hour bread crumb trail and we headed south down Gastineau Channel, rounding Douglas Island to head north again up Stephens Passage.  Conditions were favorable with 8-10 knot winds and 1-2 foot chop.  
Mendenhall Glacier seen from north end of Douglass Is.
The sky was clear and we could see Mendenhall Glacier from the northeast end of Douglas Island as well as from the north end of Admiralty Island where Stephens Passage becomes Lynn Canal.  
Point Retreat Lighthouse, Mendenhall Glacier in distance
Situated at the tip of Admiralty Island is the beautiful Point Retreat Lighthouse where Stephens Passage, Lynn Canal, and Chatham Strait all meet at the Point.  
Point Retreat Lighthouse
The mountain views are stunning and seem to circle Point Retreat.  Glaciers, including Mendenhall and Herbert Glacier, along with endless numbers of snow peaked mountains create a grand setting for Point Retreat Lighthouse.  You can approach the Lighthouse from any direction and the camera won’t be wanting for some scenic shots.  
Surrounded by Mountains
After rounding Point Retreat, we made our way south down Chatham Strait then turned west into Icy Strait.  The winds had picked up to 16 knots with 1-3 foot seas.  
Swanson Harbor behind Couverden Island
At the entrance to Icy Strait, we made our way over 5-6 foot swells into Swanson Harbor where two small docks are located behind Couverden Island.  The entrance is narrow and strewn with rocks and we had seas abeam; but once inside the harbor, the anchorage and docks are well protected from outside wind and waves.  
A Pretty Sunset at Swanson Harbor
We tied to the public floats around 6pm along with a couple of fishing boats and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.  Visible light continued into the evening until 9:30pm

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