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Old 05-05-2022, 06:58 PM   #1
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Keku Strait conditions

I'm hoping to go through the Keku this summer. Does anyone know what the current state of the channel and buoyage is? Anybody been through there in the last year or so?
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Old 05-05-2022, 07:45 PM   #2
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Went through there the summer before Covid, north to south. Taken at slack current at high water, it was pretty uneventful. Two qualifiers on that though. You asked about bouyage. The red pin marking the upper side of the elbow on the east side was missing. That's a problem because it's a turning point that marks the channel and it's very shallow on either side of the slot. Secondly, south of the elbow was solid bull kelp. And I mean solid. So much so that it took a lot of power to move through it with a concern that the engines' water intakes would be plugged. That didn't happen but I did stop as I neared Sumner Strait to back down for quite a while to clear it. A sailboat or power boat with low power would have a tustle getting through there. I reported the missing bouy to the Coast Guard. As far as the kelp, I don't know if it is better or worse.
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Old 05-05-2022, 08:09 PM   #3
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Yes, 3 times last year. A couple of missing markers (no buoys to speak of) but nothing critical. I generally look for slack current or slightly before at Devils Elbow. Later in the year, kelp might be a small problem especially with a lot of sunny days. Last year wasn’t too bad. I have a Coastal Explorer route I follow and generally let the auto pilot drive while I’m standing at the helm watching sonar and current.

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Old 05-06-2022, 01:22 PM   #4
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I appreciate the feedback. Sounds doable, we will be trying it N -> S in August sometime. The kelp is a little concerning as it makes the sonar useless.
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Old 05-06-2022, 02:43 PM   #5
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Lots of good, protected anchorages around the Kake area to stage for a n -> s run through Rocky Pass at slack.
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Old 05-06-2022, 02:55 PM   #6
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Thanks, will check it. Did anyone find the NOAA or other tide/current predictions remotely accurate? Other places up there they seemed to be quite off.
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Old 05-06-2022, 04:45 PM   #7
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I use the tide charts embedded in Coastal Explorer which I believe are sourced from NOAA. They are generally pretty good but in Wrangell Narrows they donít seem to ever reflect whatís happening. I donít know how to explain it, but the general recommendation is to time your travel to reach the point where the current swings 180, supposedly around marker 48-49. But I have left Petersburg just before high tide and been running against the tide all the way to Sumner St. The other approach is to time getting to Petersburg going north at slack tide to make docking nearest the town/harbor master with out a 2 knot tide that swirls around the dock.

The kelp in Keku isnít that thick and the more boats that go through help keep it clear, kind of like mowing the grass. Because it isnít that thick, the sonar works pretty well.

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Old 05-06-2022, 04:51 PM   #8
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Thanks again, very helpful. I've only been north as far as Wrangell (2019) so new to me north of there.

I've got Ports and Passes, the Noaa predictions, the Navionics predictions, and whatever comes in OpenCpn. Sometimes these are pretty close to each other, but other locations they are practically opposite.
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Old 05-06-2022, 10:13 PM   #9
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I have transited Rocky Pass several times in last couple of years including
last year, all NB.

The winter of 20/21 definitely did some ice damage to the ATONS, don't know
what this past winter did or did not due.

As previously mentioned, the R"14" Buoy at Devils Elbow was missing but
all the Green Daymarks at DE were intact.

Both Daymarks G"39" + G"41" were damaged.

My Garmin display worked well, I also studied the paper charts beforehand.
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Damaged Daymark2.jpg   R-Pass.jpg  
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Old 05-07-2022, 12:29 AM   #10
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What charts were you using on the Garmin, and did you find them accurate?
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Old 05-07-2022, 01:31 AM   #11
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Try Ports and Passes and let me know if you have any problems with it!’
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Old 05-07-2022, 06:19 AM   #12
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DDW -

I have the pre-loaded charts that come with Garmin.
My only complaint is the buoys, daymarks, etc. are not as
large or intensely colored as they are on a paper chart.
As far as accuracy goes, they seem very good.
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Old 05-07-2022, 09:58 AM   #13
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Just a thought for those of us who use Rocky Pass in the summer. After a transit through there, post a brief update here on TF on bouys, day marks, kelp or anything else noteworthy. I intend to do this in the future. It would be very useful to have this information if you were considering using this route.
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Old 05-07-2022, 10:34 AM   #14
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For those that are interested here is my route through Rocky Pass:
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File Type: gpx Rocky Pass.gpx (6.3 KB, 28 views)
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Old 05-07-2022, 12:12 PM   #15
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I went through Rocky Pass running from Kake (where we were visiting) to Thorne Bay where we were living at the time.

We left Kake late planing to anchor in St. John’s Bay. But there was so much fishing gear in the bay there was no place to anchor.

Going south in the pass we found a small anchorage (it was an anchorage because we anchored there) at the mouth of a headwater of some sort. I tried several anchors including a Forfjord but the only anchor having any bite at all was an “S” type Danforth.

I wanted to go through Rocky Pass mostly because my father talked much about it in the past. He went there usually from Angoon w his longtime friend Rod Darnelle. They went there in Rod’s old wood planked 26’ Chris Craft cabin cruiser. This was in the late 40’s and early 50’s. They went there mostly to hunt and St. John’s Bay was the favorite spot.

There’s hardly any reason for a yachtsman to go there other than looking for trouble. Dad liked a challenge and probably talked about Rocky Pass to appear fearless as most everyone else did. I may have gone into Fjord’s Terror (off Endicott Arm) for that reason (partially for bragging rights) as well and there’s even less good reason to go there.

But re Rocky pass, now that I’m rocking chair old I’d avoid it. A lot of staying right on top of it for hours (that can be tiring) and upping the chance of making a mistake. My take is basically that there’s not much to gain but lot’s to loose.

But if you “need” to go do it early is better as late has much more kelp.
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Old 05-07-2022, 02:48 PM   #16
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I use Rocky Pass when north bound to Sitka or Hoonah/Juneau. Leaving from Wrangell I go to Port Protection or Labouchere Bay, so I can time the slack and high tide at Devils Elbow. You can transit Sumner St on an outbound tide. Going south, I prefer using Wrangell Narrows since when you plan the tides in either place, you are always running against an out bound tide in Sumner which runs as high as 1.5 kts.

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Old 05-09-2022, 09:36 AM   #17
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I don't need the bragging rights, but if you are coming down the Chatham and bound for the west side of Prince of Wales, the Wrangell Narrows would seem to be the long way around.
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Old 05-09-2022, 10:12 AM   #18
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68' boat, 7.5' draft. Too much for Rocky Pass this time of year at high slack?
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Old 05-09-2022, 10:21 AM   #19
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TT, don't do it, unless your Norhavn has wheels on the bottom.
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Old 05-09-2022, 10:46 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDW View Post
I don't need the bragging rights, but if you are coming down the Chatham and bound for the west side of Prince of Wales, the Wrangell Narrows would seem to be the long way around.
In decent weather continue South on Chatham to Coronation Island, head East and you're then on the West side of POW Island. I'm leery of Keku due to kelp and stabilizer fouling.
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