Second Leg - Days 35-44 - Ketchikan to Petersburg
The main natural and man made features encountered along this stretch of the route include:
The city of Ketchikan, Behm Canal, Clarence Strait, Meyers Chuck, Ernest Sound, Blake Channel, Eastern Passage, the town of Wrangell, Dry Strait, Frederick Sound, and the town of Petersburg.
I took the bus to the post office first thing in the morning to pick up my box of food and send a few things home that I was not using. After loading up my boat back at Southeast Sea Kayaks I thanked the staff there for being so nice to me and was launching at 10:45am.
Heading out of Ketchikan through Tongass Narrows.
The wind was blowing around 15mph out of the northwest down Tongass Narrows, and right into my face. On top of that, the current was against me, so the only way I could make any headway was to stay very close to the northeast shoreline and out of the wind and current as much as possible. Up to Ward Cove, Tongass Narrows is lined with mostly industrial type businesses involved in the fishing or marine industries. After a month of paddling along wilderness shorelines, the change to commercial buildings was a curiously interesting diversion. After Ward Cove, the scenery consisted of residential areas with some nice homes along the route.
The shoreline of Tongass Narrows is lined with homes and businesses.
By the time I had reached Mud Bay the wind had let up, the clouds had cleared, and it was actually getting hot. There were people out swimming with their kids in the 50° water. That is a bit to cold for me to get into voluntarily, but I guess these hardy Alaskans are accustomed to it. It was funny to hear the kids yell “hi mister” to me as I paddled by. That is just not something you hear everyday along the Inside Passage.
My kayak on the beach at Point Higgins.
My destination for today was Point Higgins at the end of Tongass Narrows. I landed at 3:30pm after paddling 12 miles from Ketchikan. The beach here is very large and is composed of black gravel and sand with easy landing and launching at any tide level. There is plenty of space in the trees above high tide levels for camping and even a stream if you need water. The views across Behm Canal and Clarence Strait are spectacular. Point Higgins also puts you in perfect position to cross the 7-mile wide opening of Behm Canal to Caamano Point first thing in the morning before the winds have a chance to build. Many of the local residents use the beach for recreational purposes, but some concerned citizens told me this afternoon that a developer is trying to buy the land to build a subdivision. This would be a shame, as there is no other beach in the area that is not private property and off limits to kayakers passing through.
The Alaska Ferry passing Point Higgins.