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Thread: Port Fidalgo Boat Suggestion

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    Default Port Fidalgo Boat Suggestion

    I was hoping to tap into some of the experience on this forum and get some insight on what size/type boat I will need to access Port Fidalgo. I have done some digging on the forum and realize that that things can get pretty choppy and I want to ensure I talk to some people with experience before I start getting serious about purchasing a boat to access this area. Thanks for the help!

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Which port will you be leaving from?
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    To be honest i am open to suggestions. I am looking for the easiest/safest way to get to the area. I was planning on leaving out of Valdez since it is the largest port in the area. If I am off base with this please educate me. :-)

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK new guy View Post
    To be honest i am open to suggestions. I am looking for the easiest/safest way to get to the area. I was planning on leaving out of Valdez since it is the largest port in the area. If I am off base with this please educate me. :-)
    Much closer run from Valdez.
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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    You could do it in an 18' skiff or an inflatable IF you watch the forecast, but any fool can rough it, right? I ran all over the Sound in an 18' Klamath, then jumped up to a 24' Hewescraft Alaskan, and now have a 30x10 GC. Having heat and a hard top are real nice and really a must with a family IMO.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK new guy View Post
    I was hoping to tap into some of the experience on this forum and get some insight on what size/type boat I will need to access Port Fidalgo. I have done some digging on the forum and realize that that things can get pretty choppy and I want to ensure I talk to some people with experience before I start getting serious about purchasing a boat to access this area. Thanks for the help!
    AK, I run a charter out of Valdez and cross Fidalgo nearly everyday of the summer. It can be very rough and it can be very nice. All depends on the wx of course. If your looking for a boat that you can use to run from Valdez to Fidalgo in most any wx condition you'll see during the summer I'd suggest something 24-26'er or larger with radar, charter plotter, etc. A boat with a steep dead-rise and bow entry will always handle the seas best. If you can hold out for a nice day with calm seas and good visibility you can use a skiff. Just keep in mind that on those days that appear very nice, sunny and warm, a large sea breeze funnels through the Arm and Port causing 3-4 foot following seas all the way back to Valdez. I've rescued a number of skiff operators over the years who got caught in the afternoon sea breeze. Good luck on your search

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    I think Halibutgrove nailed it those afternoon breezes sure make the trip back in a pain in the rear and bounce things around a bit. Then again I could just get up earlier in the morning and head back when it is smoother.

    The nice thing about coming out of Valdez is there are three good bays to hole up in if things to get too rough on the way out or back in to port.

    Like everyone else said something in the 20-26 foot range with a windshield and top would make a pretty nice ride out there.

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    Thanks to everyone who replied! It sounds like keeping a close eye on the forecast is crucial. I have purchased land in two moon bay and plan on building a cabin out there. That being said I should be able to pick my day to go out and once in Fidalgo dont plan on making to many runs back to Valdez. Do things get pretty rough inside Fidalgo too?

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK new guy View Post
    Thanks to everyone who replied! It sounds like keeping a close eye on the forecast is crucial. I have purchased land in two moon bay and plan on building a cabin out there. That being said I should be able to pick my day to go out and once in Fidalgo don't plan on making to many runs back to Valdez. Do things get pretty rough inside Fidalgo too?
    Like it has been said,, the afternoon thermals get things a little choppy. Many times I will just wait until 10 or 11pm for the thermals to die down and it can be an easy run then. Plenty of places to hold up,, and much of the run is protected. From Valdez,, down the Valdez Arm,, through the narrow and to Fidalgo, The run across Fidalgo can get bumpy as well. Watch the weather, always be willing to hold up is necessary. Make sure to have a survival suit for each soul,, water is in the 40 degree range and even with a fast response, help may not arrive before the cold water kills ya. PWS is my favorite place to go and I can't wait to share it with my Son this spring. I too spend a lot of time in that area and would be happy to chat. Drop me a PM if you would like to talk.

    Steve
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK new guy View Post
    Thanks to everyone who replied! It sounds like keeping a close eye on the forecast is crucial. I have purchased land in two moon bay and plan on building a cabin out there. That being said I should be able to pick my day to go out and once in Fidalgo dont plan on making to many runs back to Valdez. Do things get pretty rough inside Fidalgo too?
    Yes they can! But again, if you have the time to wait out the wx you'll be fine. Two Moon is a great bay. Nice place to hide out when the seas are too rough. Years ago when I just fished recreationally, we caught halibut inside the bay when we couldn't get out passed Goose.

  11. #11
    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    Everything everyone said is right on! On sunny days, just about everywhere in PWS including Fidalgo gets a wind chop that comes up anywhere from 9am to noon and may last until 5-7pm or later. On overcast days, it generally stays calm, unless there are storm residuals from the gulf and main PWS still rolling around. Generally, the chop in Fidalgo gets to 2-3' on normal days, but every now and then in the summer with the wind in just the right direction, you can get 5-6 footers, with a lot of water moving chaotically every which way, really dangerous in a skiff! Again, like several said, you can choose your days, but you can get stuck for days too!

    I got your private email, New Guy, and will have a lot more to say there, but one thing you mentioned might be good to comment on here...that is, in a small boat, say a 16' skiff, you said you would just stick close to shore..

    If there is any swell at all, it is greatly increased in shallower water near shore, and even the wind chop builds up higher there, depending on direction. On top of that, there are ROCKS closer to shore, LOTS of them in PWS, and many can be several hundred yards offshore...so while that strategy may sound safer, it is NOT....unless you are just putting along fishing on a nice day, when traveling you need to stay out in the open, deeper water.

    One more hazard in PWS that can be much worse in a small boat, and more common near shore, is floating logs and even whole trees. You can usually spot the branches on a whole tree or sometimes the roots, but logs often float at or just beneath the surface....a big problem in any boat if you hit one at cruising speed, especially critical in a small boat! There are not a lot of logs/trees floating around, but enough to always be on the lookout, and they can really ruin your day!

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Looks like everyone beat me to it about the chop in Fidalgo.

    Two Moon is a nice anchorage and neat area enjoy it!

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