Alaska Adventure Journal



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June 2008 - Alaska Inside Passage Exploration

Northern Portion ABC Islands

Admiralty, Baranof, Chichagof Islands 


April 2008


This is a trip that has been over one year in the planning.  I always thought that inside passage cruising was something that would have to wait for years until I was retired.  Eventually the realization came that it could be done before retirement but only in small pieces.  We have driven with our C-Dory Tomcat trailered previously on the 800 miles from Haines, AK to our home in Sterling when we bought it, so I knew we could do it again.  I pinned down a three week period of time in June to make the trip.  Shanna and I knew we wanted some company to share this beautiful land and the expenses with.  It could be another couple, BUT our boat only sleeps three comfortably, a fourth person has to sleep on the floor.  Together we came up with the most perfect person for this trip we could think of, our friend Jeff, from Freeport, TX.  

Jeff and I came to know each other in 1984 when we went to work together for the Dow Chemical Co. Jeff and I became fast friends fishing the Gulf of Mexico.  When I left Dow Chemical to run my flight school full time, I put together a trip to Alaska in a small twin engine airplane.  It was a dream trip, like this inside passage journey, from Lake Jackson, Texas to Alaska and back.  In 10 days we saw Whitehorse, Northway, Anchorage, Juneau and everything in between.  Jeff was there on that trip, my first trip ever to Alaska.  Jeff is easy going, has a thick southern drawl and will eat anything you put in front of him. When Jeff vacations it's going to be out of the way and exotic; sail fishing in Costa Rica, cruising on a ship in Russia.  We asked and he readily said he was in!!
Our Friend Jeff


Books used for Planning:
  • Coast Pilot 8
  • Exploring Southeast Alaska: Dixon Entrance to Skagway


I  knew Haines was the place to start from for us.  It is the closest Inside Passage route city to us on the road system.  Several asked why we don't start in Prince William Sound from the town of Whittier, AK.  This requires a 300 mile run thru the open Gulf of Alaska with no where to hide from the weather except Yakutat.  I didn't want to be that dependant on a weather window.  Some of my best information came from searching the internet, particularly a forum we are a member of for C-Dory owners (the manufacturer of our boat for this trip).  The website is C-Brats .  There is a portion of their website named Grand Adventures.  This is where I found the trip log of Jay and Jolee on the "Hunky Dory".  They made a trip where they started from Skagway and cruised a route very similar to what I had imagined would work for us.  Click here to go to Jay & Jolee's most recent inside passage trip log. 

folding crab trap - set

Jay has an attitude that I wanted to apply to our  trip, which is that the trip isn't based on a city to city basis, but exploring  into the nooks and crannies of the inside passage, only stopping at cities for a quick look, resupply, refuel and shower.  The only thing we have added  is that I want to EAT my way thru the inside passage, dining on what the sea has to offer whenever available and legal.

Fishing Gear

In the pursuit of eating our way thru southeast Alaska I researched collapsible shrimp and crab traps.  After looking at everything offered we settled on the Ladner Brand traps built in southern British Columbia.  The crab traps were available at Seamar in Seattle.  I bought the shrimp traps directly from the manufacturer, Landner.  We will carry three heavy rods coupled to Penn 345 reels for halibut.  For rockfish and salmon we will have three 8'6" medium action rods coupled to Abu Garcia 6500's.

Collapsible Crab Trap

Our planned routing will start us by truck in Sterling, AK. We will pick Jeff up at the Anchorage airport and immediately depart on the Alaska Highway for Haines, passing thru Palmer, Glenallen, Tok and Nothway, Alaska. We will then enter the Canadian Yukon territory and pass thru the Canadian town of Haines Junction, entering the Canadian Province of British Columbia and then reentering Alaska and arriving into Haines for our launching of the boat.

Our routing on the water is very weather dependent, but we will definitely start in Haines and work our way down the Lynn Canal, we will then enter Icy Strait and consider a stop in the Tlinglet Village of Hoonah. From Hoonah I would like to expore Dundas Bay before making a stop in Elfin Cove, then on to Pelican. From Pelican I want to cruise the outer coast, stopping at many ruins and a hot spring along the way. Sitka is our most southern destination, then it is through Peril Strait and up to Tenakee. From Tenakee we will continue north, possibly stopping in Juneau, before returning to Haines.



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