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Old 02-09-2019, 12:11 PM   #1
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Is Wrangell Narrows on your initiatory this summer?

Here is a short story about big boats ( like the Alaska State Ferries) navigating the narrows. Remember to keep your radar on so you can see what is coming up behind you, and be prepared to pull over to let them by.

This is from Alaska Life. com
http://www.thealaskalife.com/blog/na...24vdzZ0VKjVwkw
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:53 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting that. I've transitted the Narrows three times now and have not found it to be particularly intimidating...well, there was my initial trip to Alaska on the Columbia when we met the Matanuska going the other way.


The passage where I have felt really squoze a couple times is Peril Strait near Sitka.


While I understand why the Marine Highway crews cannot be deterred by adverse currents or weather, I can think of no reason why one of us TF folks would attempt this passage in fog, or even darkness; another night in Petersburg isn't that expensive. (And yes, I do have all the aids, skills and experience for all-weather navigation)
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Old 02-09-2019, 01:32 PM   #3
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I worked on a small tug towing log rafts through there in the mid sixties. Fun times!
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Old 02-09-2019, 01:37 PM   #4
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Aw yes, the Christmas tree passage, very familiar with the stretch of waterway. Pay attention and its a great passage, gets shallow in a hurry if you dont stay on course.
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Old 02-09-2019, 03:31 PM   #5
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We have pulled over for a ferry to pass. At low tide, I had to use my horn a lot to clear tourist/fisherman out of the very skinny channel. Crusty loved the challenge.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:46 PM   #6
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Been through many times and never had a problem. However in the winter there may not be suffcient time during daylight hours to transit the narrows. Worked on the ferries in the 70’s and the maze of nav lights looks like a Christmas display. I wouldn’t want to thread that needle. However one’s chart plotter would deliver as long as it kept working.

We encountered a dog once that seemed intent on comming aboard. And a deer (also swiming) that was doing a “see and avoid” and running out of steam. Got out but I think it was on the shore he came from.

As to the ferries fishboats get right alongside and the ferry boat just ignores boats all around.

Never done it w radar but if you’re dialed into your system that shouldn’t be a problem either.

Slow boats like our Willard 30 do need to assure there is plenty of daylight time to get through with the predicted tidal current.
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:11 PM   #7
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Tug 120 + Tow 50 + Barge 300 = Fun in Wrangell Narrows
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:15 PM   #8
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Last summer on Helen Marie we did Wrangell Narrows, Rocky Pass, and Dry Pass/El Capitan. A real nostalgia trip for me.
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:18 PM   #9
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Tug 120 + Tow 50 + Barge 300 = Fun in Wrangell Narrows
Looks like Western Towboat to me...
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:23 PM   #10
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Looks like Western Towboat to me...
Yup, me too. I pulled a log raft over one of the buoys, luckily the light was still working when it popped up on the other side. Our Skipper opted not to report it. Bud Coolidge on the Samson.
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:31 PM   #11
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Hi Dave, when I just started going mate there at WTB, the skipper, a new guy also. One morning as I am getting ready to go off watch he says to me stick around while we go thru Wrangell Narrows. OK, says I. Broad daylight, I am ready for the sack, been up all night. He wants to go thru on radar the whole way, and me to stand by just in case. Not sure in case of what, maybe like, hey look there is a ferry ten feet of the port bow? LOL. So anyway, off we went. I think he only looked up once, blinked in the sunlight a couple times and back into the hood. Interesting morning...
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:39 PM   #12
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Preparing himself for his next fog trip...lol...Fun times. I sure miss the old low h.p. boats.
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:49 PM   #13
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I once made a gravel pit trip on one of the oldest tugs around, the BEE. Built before the turn of the century, the 20th that is. 65' long and had one of those early Cats in it, 240HP or something I think. It was with my dad, and another tugboater name Cliff Thompson, no relation I suppose. He was a good friend of dads and of the Shrewsburys. Seattle to Steilacoom and back. This was mid to late 60's I think.
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:55 PM   #14
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AIS is almost as useful as radar in Wrangell Narrows as well as the straits going into Sitka. You can see the bigger boats before they are visible on radar and plan accordingly. Same with Rocky Pass and Dry Pass.

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Old 02-09-2019, 10:02 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
We have pulled over for a ferry to pass. At low tide, I had to use my horn a lot to clear tourist/fisherman out of the very skinny channel. Crusty loved the challenge.
That sounds a lot like coming out of Bonneville Lock when you're headed downstream during fishing season, or around Hood River when the winds are blowing and there are a bazillion wind surfers playing chicken with you.
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:15 PM   #16
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Looks like Western Towboat to me...
Yep, WTB Pacific Titan
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:21 PM   #17
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Yeah, thought so. Green AML barge, yellow bulwarks and red decks. Worked there for about 10 years.
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:00 AM   #18
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I once made a gravel pit trip on one of the oldest tugs around, the BEE. Built before the turn of the century, the 20th that is. 65' long and had one of those early Cats in it, 240HP or something I think. It was with my dad, and another tugboater name Cliff Thompson, no relation I suppose. He was a good friend of dads and of the Shrewsburys. Seattle to Steilacoom and back. This was mid to late 60's I think.

Here's a 2012 pic of the BEE anchored off Wrangell. More recently, saw her in Heritage Harbor under cover and under major reconstruction - don't know if she will survive the refit.
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:08 AM   #19
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Hi Dave, when I just started going mate there at WTB, the skipper, a new guy also. One morning as I am getting ready to go off watch he says to me stick around while we go thru Wrangell Narrows. OK, says I. Broad daylight, I am ready for the sack, been up all night. He wants to go thru on radar the whole way, and me to stand by just in case. Not sure in case of what, maybe like, hey look there is a ferry ten feet of the port bow? LOL. So anyway, off we went. I think he only looked up once, blinked in the sunlight a couple times and back into the hood. Interesting morning...

Did the same thing in the late seventies when I flew out of Seattle to relieve the Captain on the Dean Foss (towing a loaded gas/diesel barge) who had to get off in KTN with pneumonia. Fortunately, the first two times through were education, the next several trips were foggy, especially at Blind Slough.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:32 AM   #20
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Yep, WTB Pacific Titan


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