Moving Along

Afognak Strait, Alaska
From Chignik we made our way up Shelikof Strait between Kodiak Island and the Alaska Peninsula. With a forecast for moderate headwinds and a current against us, we stopped for a day in the well-sheltered Larsen Bay. There is a village in Larsen Bay of the same name with a winter population of (I think) about 40. The whole area is full of hunting lodges, as Kodiak Island is a great place for bear hunting. The cannery (which had closed for the season) let us tie Issuma alongside their pier to dry out. This let us replace the zincs on the propellers and shafts (they were worn/missing) and scrub the bottom of the hull. We ended up doing this work at night (so no picture of this) because the weather forecast changed and it seemed like we would have good enough weather for leaving the next morning, so didn’t want to be aground during good travelling weather. After the tide floated us, we left the pier and made our way to Kodiak City. To get to Kodiak City from Shelikof Strait one has to get around Whale Island. There are two choices, go south of Whale Island through Whale Pass, or north of it thru Afognak Strait. Whale Pass is the route almost everyone takes–it is marked (has buoys marking the rocks) and it is shorter. Whale Pass also has currents twice as fast as in Afognak Strait, and much more traffic. I wasn’t keen on strong currents, rocks and traffic all at once, so it seemed better to take the unmarked Afognak Strait route instead of Whale Pass. As Issuma has a GPS connected to the computer for chartplotting, and the charts for the area were based on recent surveys (so accurate), I figured it was safe to rely on the GPS and chartplotting software to keep us off the unmarked rocks. So we had a pleasant trip through Afognak Strait towards the end of the day. The fishing boat in the picture passed us as we entered the strait. —

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