Day 49 - Monday - July 14 - Sand Bay to Point Anmer

Heading across Holkham Bay into an early morning fog.

Today I wanted to cross the 6-mile wide mouth of Holkham Bay first thing in the morning before the winds had a chance to pick up. I got up at 4am and was launching at 5:30. This would be the first time I had to make a long open water crossing in such dense fog but I was not overly concerned because all I had to do was follow my compass course setting to the far side.

Harbor Island comes into view through the fog.

I set off from Point Astley and headed north across the mouth of the bay toward Point Coke. Although the horizon was a solid wall of gray, I kept my eye on the compass and forged ahead. Unknown to me at the time was that a current was flowing into Holkham Bay pushing me off course to the east. Before long the fog had lifted enough that, I could see the shoreline of Harbor Island about a half mile away. The only problem was that I was supposed to be passing this island on its west side and instead I was on its east side. I now realized what was happening, adjusted my course to account for the current, and safely made it across at 8:20am. One of the things that helped me figure out a new course was the marker buoys placed along the deep-water channel leading into Tracy Arm.

An iceberg floating in Holkham Bay.

As I approached the northern shore of Holkham Bay, I paddled straight into a strong tiderip caused by current flowing over a shallow bottom. The channel marker buoys that helped me figure out my location were there to warn boaters of these shallows. On top of having to deal with this turbulent water, I could not see very far because of the dense fog. The sounds of whales breathing surrounded me and all I could do was hope that none of them accidentally surfaced below me. I was delighted to be paddling along the shoreline again after this nerve-racking crossing.

Heading north up the eastern shore of Stephens Passage.

I continued paddling up the east coast of Stephens Passage along the Snettisham Peninsula. I constantly kept my eyes on the kelp leaves flowing in the current to check and see if the current was with me or against me. It looked like the rising or falling of the tide had no effect at all on the direction of the current. It always seemed to be flowing southward in Stephens Passage, at least close to the shoreline.

A good beach comes into view at Point Anmer.

By 2:15pm, after paddling at least 24 miles, I found a good beach to camp on at Point Anmer just south of Port Snettisham. This site is composed of smooth rounded gravel all the way down to the water, making landing, launching, and camping, very easy. The high beach provided great views up and down Stephens Passage and protection from even the highest tides. Juneau is now only 44 miles away, and if the weather continues cooperating, I should be there in 2 days.

My campsite at Point Anmer on Stephens Passage.