Planning My Alaska Trip for 2012

Wow, it is nearly the end of January. While the Nordic Quest is riding out near zero temperatures in a Juneau harbor, I’m looking at steady snow, wind and rain here at home with not much change in the forecast for the next eight days.  So it’s time to fire up the laptop and puruse some navigation charts for SE Alaska and the coastal waters of British Columbia.   Yeah, and probably check some 2011 blogs of fellow cruisers.  Because for 2012 I am planning a week cruising between Juneau and Ketchikan and then bringing aboard a fresh crew to make another fantastic trip down the Inland Passage to Anacortes.  For 20 years I’ve been making notations on my charts – favorite anchorages, hot fishing or crabbing spots.  Nowadays, its just the matter of adding a new mark with a description.

I’ve made the Inland Passage trip several times and if I do it 30 times there will still be new places to explore and see.  How many times have I passed Ohio Rock near Heikish Narrows and never detoured a short distance into Carter Bay to find the wreck of the SS Ohio itself.

Last May on my trip north, I was in a hurry to catch a weather window for Dixon Entrance that I skipped a stop at Bishop Bay to enjoy the hot springs.  Maybe I’ll have better luck this year.  For several evenings now, I have been working out plans to visit several locations in the Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy region – like Laredo Inlet and Gribbell Island.  Maybe next fall we’ll post a picture of Ursus Americanus Kermodei, the Spirit Bear.  Then maybe we won’t.  I’ve heard of people searching for ten years and never seeing one.

A stop on all my trips is Lagoon Cove Marina in the Broughtons and a visit with Bill and Jean Barber before they too head south for the winter.  Last year we cooked up an elk roast and took it up to their evening sundowner event where we snacked on fresh shrimp and swapped stories.

Ah yes, on the Alaska side we’ll have to stop at the Anan Bear Observatory south of Wrangell.  There is always the possibility of a little excitement on the trail and at the observatory from all of the congregating black bear and maybe some brown bear.  Like the bears, I’ve got some great spots to fish the heck out of the silvers around Ketchikan, my old home town.

Thinking that Alaska in 2012 might just be the thing to do yourself?  Well the Nordic Quest still has a few choice weeks for chartering in July or August.  The last two weeks of June are one of my favorite times with its long days.  Open the Charter page and click on the link to Nordic Tug Charters to check availability.


About Fred Cooper

Alaska resident at the time of statehood and returns annually; professional civil engineer and for 35 years owner of an engineering company; skipper of the Nordic Quest; author, avid fisherman and world traveler. Lives with his wife and their water-loving standard schnauzer in Portland, Oregon.
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