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Old 01-06-2017, 06:38 PM   #1
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Tenass Pass Alaska Navigable?

Tenass Pass is on the NW end of Prince of Wales Island and connects Tokeen Bay with El Capitan channel. Coast Pilot describes it as passable at high water, but the charts look like it nearly dries at the choke points, with plenty of rocks thrown in to keep things interesting. Brockman pass just to the south is even shallower. The Douglass book, 'Exploring SE AK ' is silent on these two. Has anyone tried these?
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Old 01-06-2017, 06:51 PM   #2
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How's your insurance?
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Old 01-06-2017, 07:20 PM   #3
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How's your insurance?
Have you tried these, or checked them out in the dinghy?
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Old 01-06-2017, 07:43 PM   #4
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Have you tried these, or checked them out in the dinghy?
No. While I do have some limited experience in Southeast, never been near there. I did pull out...well.. booted up the relevant charts and had to wonder: what's the appeal?
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Old 01-06-2017, 07:51 PM   #5
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No. While I do have some limited experience in Southeast, never been near there. I did pull out...well.. booted up the relevant charts and had to wonder: what's the appeal?
We like to fish in the Davidson Inlet area, just west of Tokeen Bay. If a stout west wind/swell is blowing into Sea Otter sound off the ocean, Tenass pass would allow inside travel all the way down to the Nassuk Bay, NE of the Gulf of Esquimel.
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Old 01-06-2017, 08:07 PM   #6
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I have a friend that lives on Marble Is. We went out there on our skiff (at the time) through Karheen Passage and across SeaOtter Sound to Edna Bay.

I see Tenass Pass just north of Or Is. I've asked about that and locals say it is passable at high tide in a skiff. One local speculated I could take the Willard through on a spring tide but in any case it's probably choked w kelp. I'd say anchor nearby and check it out w a skiff .. preferably one w a sounder.
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Old 01-06-2017, 08:10 PM   #7
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Ken, it is passable, preferable at high tide. It is a good idea to check it out in the dink. Additionally I recommend transmitting on the radio your passage and concern for opposing traffic. It appears that you are somewhat familiar with area. Be prepared for surprisingly large vessels in the pass and charter fishing boats.
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Old 01-06-2017, 08:12 PM   #8
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Ken, I just notice the your boat is twin screw. You may not want to do the pass.
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Old 01-06-2017, 08:16 PM   #9
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Thanks, Eric and Deckhand.
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:23 PM   #10
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Why? Why ask and why consider? I'm just curious if it's borderline and may or may not be ok and requires the right timing and isn't necessary as a route, then why take the chance? If I'm missing something, please educate me.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:53 PM   #11
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Why? Why ask and why consider? I'm just curious if it's borderline and may or may not be ok and requires the right timing and isn't necessary as a route, then why take the chance? If I'm missing something, please educate me.
Why? How about to save some time avoiding a nasty beam sea when a better alternative is available. That's why. There are a hundred similar scenarios in SE Alaska. Not so much in Florida?
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:00 PM   #12
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Why? Why ask and why consider? I'm just curious if it's borderline and may or may not be ok and requires the right timing and isn't necessary as a route, then why take the chance? If I'm missing something, please educate me.
Why? How about to save some time avoiding a nasty beam sea when a better alternative is available. That's why. There are a hundred similar scenarios in SE Alaska. Not so much in Florida?
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:36 AM   #13
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Why? How about to save some time avoiding a nasty beam sea when a better alternative is available. That's why. There are a hundred similar scenarios in SE Alaska. Not so much in Florida?
They are everywhere. That's how Psneeld makes a good living. The "short cuts" are where a lot of people end up with trouble. Sunken Spencer SF last year taking such a route from DR that most just wouldn't take. Boats aground in places others don't try. A lot of areas like that in the PNW. Now, the saving time I find somewhat ironic because it's often those who choose displacement speeds because they say time isn't important to them. I'm only suggesting to weigh risk and benefit and, if in doubt, go the long, safer way. If seas are unsafe, stay put.
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Old 01-07-2017, 07:37 AM   #14
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The guy wants to get some information on a possible navigable pass so he can make an intelligent decision. Instead he gets a lecture on boating.
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Old 01-07-2017, 07:39 AM   #15
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I'd listen to the locals whether Eric, Old Deckhand or the CG guys out of Sitka who would have the right answer. The open Pacific stretch from Dixon Entrance up to Icy Strait has similar safe passage questions. Another source of info are the commercial guys whether located in Craig, Sitka or even Petersburg.

A shirttail relative out of Petersburg knows literally every inch of that coast with attendant tragic stories. Assistance is far away for those who get in trouble in that area. Better said, you are on your own.
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Old 01-07-2017, 09:40 AM   #16
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Ken E.,
Another thing to be aware of is current. May only be a short time of slack water.
If you could contact anyone at Sakar Cove or NewTokeen they they would know all about Tenass Pass. Or my friend but he lives in a cabin on Marble Is and only goes to Craig once a month. You may see his Willard moored on a ball in the west side of Marble Is. People in Edna Bay would probably know too.

Top pic is the float at Edna Bay.
Second pic is my friends Willard In a cove on the west side of Marble Is.
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:15 AM   #17
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They are everywhere. That's how Psneeld makes a good living. The "short cuts" are where a lot of people end up with trouble. Sunken Spencer SF last year taking such a route from DR that most just wouldn't take. Boats aground in places others don't try. A lot of areas like that in the PNW. Now, the saving time I find somewhat ironic because it's often those who choose displacement speeds because they say time isn't important to them. I'm only suggesting to weigh risk and benefit and, if in doubt, go the long, safer way. If seas are unsafe, stay put.
Thank you, Banb, for the the nice safety lecture. You may be surprised to know that most of us running boats in SE AK didn't just fall off the turnip truck in terms of experience and risk assessment. Many of us are ex - commercial fishermen, like me. Or loggers. Or AK residents with local knowledge. Or big boats out of Seattle who have been doing SE AK since they were kids.

What you don't seem to understand is that up here, there is often a large time and fuel cost associated with insisting on taking the deepest, widest and theoretically safest route. Does this mean taking risky routes?.....no, and that was the point of this thread to sound out people with local knowledge who have been through Tenass Pass. Based on what Eric and Deckhand had to say, experienced guys with local knowledge, I won't be transiting Tenass Pass. But.......I might anchor nearby and have a look in the dink.

Here's a question for you since you are obviously very safety conscious. You'll need a chart or plotter. You are in Sitka. You want to get to Ketchikan. You have 3 options, once you've made your way east through Peril Strait and are now sitting in Chatham Strait. Chatham Strait is deep, wide and the route the ships take, although it's open to the ocean at its south end. Option 1 is to head south in Chatham Strait, hang a left at Cape Decision, go up Summer Strait and over the top of Prince of Wales island and then down into Ketchikan. This route is deep, wide, and no rocks, but if there's a south wind and swell, you will be asking yourself if all this deep safety is worth it, never mind the huge number of extra miles you're running. Option 2 is to head east in Frederick Sound to Petersburg, down Wrangell Narrows, then Clarence Strait to Ketchikan. Less miles and more sheltered than Option 1, but Wrangell Narrows is 18 miles of buoys and day marks to keep you off the rocks, with tugs, cruise ships and ferries all around you. I'm thinking that Wrangell Narrows might violate your sensibilities because it's narrow and rocky. But not so much so as Option 3, Rocky Pass. You would enter Frederick Sound, and then head for Kake, in Keku Strait. Now, here we have some real risk, by both our definitions. Narrow, rocky, shallow, lots of current, and Devils Elbow. I have not been through here, but I'm going to try it next summer. Why? It's 40 less miles than Option 2 but more than that, the risk is manageable. How? By anchoring nearby and having a look at at low tide. By talking to people who have gone through......I know several. By paying close attention to the currents. By referring to books which discuss this area in detail, the NOAA Coast Pilot and Douglass especially.

So, Bandb, if you want to be ultra safe and pay the price for it, have at it. Many of us just don't agree with you.
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:50 AM   #18
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I don't know how up to date charts are for SE Alaska, but here on BC's north coast some areas haven't been surveyed since the 1920's. Local knowledge (or going in with all situational awareness receptors on high) is key in some areas, particularly when sediment runoff from surrounding mountains has extended and reshaped drying flats and/or shallow water.
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:59 AM   #19
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Ken, Rocky Pass is better marked then a few years ago. Most modern GPS equipment also lays a track in the pass. A few years ago I was surprised to see the Grand Banks mother goose parade in the pass. They made it through without a problem. Agree, good idea to speak with folks in Kake. I have had to turn around several times due to seas in southern Summer Straits. The marine weather forecast for this area can be very unreliable. This is the area where in 1906 (?) a 262 ft sailing ship the Star of Bengal lost it's tow and went aground on Coranation Island at China Cove with an estimated loss of 110 souls. Seas can rapidly build in southern Summer. We enjoy Wrangell Narrows at night because it is lite up by the numerous nav aids like the national Christmas tree. Wishing you fair winds and safe travels.
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Old 01-07-2017, 12:04 PM   #20
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I don't know how up to date charts are for SE Alaska, but here on BC's north coast some areas haven't been surveyed since the 1920's. Local knowledge (or going in with all situational awareness receptors on high) is key in some areas, particularly when sediment runoff from surrounding mountains has extended and reshaped drying flats and/or shallow water.
Murray, is there a lot of harbor ice in Kitimat?
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