Day 43 - Tuesday - July 8 - Frederick Sound to Petersburg

The bears left me alone last night on the beached dock so I was able to get a few hours sleep. This turned out to be a good spot to camp considering the other choices that were available in the area. By 7:10am, I had packed up and was launching into Frederick Sound, heading for today’s destination, Petersburg, Alaska. Far across the sound, I could see the water covered with car-sized icebergs that had floated out from LeConte Bay. The current and wind were both with me so I made good time. It was raining off and on and the air temperature was in the low 50’s. I was able to stay comfortably warm as long as I kept paddling.

The only other paddler I ran into on this leg of my trip took the only photo of me in my kayak.

Today I ran into the first kayaker I had seen yet on this year’s trip. His name was Dave and he was going on a three-day trip in the opposite direction having just left Petersburg. We stopped and talked for a while and I asked him to take a few photos of me, as I did not have any of myself while actually on the water. Dave turned out to be the only other kayaker I came across in the 48 days of paddling on this trip.
The wind was strong as I got to within a couple of miles of Petersburg but luckily, it was still going my way. Once into Wrangell Narrows the current was against me slowing my progress to about 1 mph. I pulled into the first harbor I reached to get out of the current, and passed a series of huge fish processing facilities built up on piles that lined the entrance to the harbor. As soon as I got past these large commercial buildings, the Harbormasters office came into view. It was 11am and I had just paddled 14 miles from last night’s campsite. I pulled up to the dock, went in to the office, and booked a space in the harbor for the next two nights. The office staff was very helpful and told me I could store my kayak right next to the gangway on the dock in front of their office. This spot was perfect except for one thing, it was covered with green slime and was very slippery. If landing here, keep a blue tarp available to haul yourself and all your gear onto to avoid the slime.

The harbor in Petersburg from the Tides Inn Hotel.

Just two blocks away from this dock is the “Tides Inn” hotel, which was recommended by the staff in the Harbormasters office. This turned out to be the perfect place to stay while in Petersburg. The room was very nice and had a great view of the harbor and Wrangell Narrows. Although it was a little pricey, it was centrally located to downtown and within a short walking distance of the dock and my boat. This turned out to be very handy.
I spent my first evening in Petersburg looking around town and getting oriented. Petersburg is much larger than Wrangell but still smaller than Ketchikan. The port looks to be highly commercial with hundreds of large fishing boats tied up to the docks. There is not as much tourism trade in Petersburg as in Ketchikan partly because the big cruise ships do not stop here. Travelers will find plenty of places to eat and many stores available selling all types of supplies. I spotted a few tourists walking around, but not in the large numbers that I saw in Prince Rupert and Ketchikan.