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Thread: How Bad Have You Seen It?

  1. #1

    Default How Bad Have You Seen It?

    I have been wondering this for a while.
    How bad of conditions have you been in while in your boat and where were you? How big of a boat were you in? I know that there are some seasoned veterans out there with stories to tell.

    After getting into some rough conditions last Labor Day, I kept thinking there is virtually no limit to the severity of the wind or waves and wondered about the people who had seen much worse. It's also a lot easier to know that someone else has had it worse than you while out there yourself fighting the wind and waves.

  2. #2
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I was in the Shilikof Straits off Noise Island in a 16 foot skiff, the waves were 20 to 25 feet, luckily they were not breaking, just big rollers, I had a 35 hp out board that seemed to only want to work on one cylinder a lot of the time, so the fuel consumption was more than I planned for. I made it to Kodiak Island and found a gill netter cabin, there was a gallon of white gas and a little oil in a can, I mixed the two and had enough to make it back to the cannery in Uganik Bay. This was before epirbs and satillite phones (1970). I had on hip boots and not a life jacket in the boat. We had been out seal hunting and had slept on the beach the night before on the island. I never go anywhere now without a life jacket and epirb.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Shelikof Straight between Shuyak and Afognak, we were in a 34' Californian, following seas. I was young at the time, and I was scared ****less. The waves were really stacked together. Another time we were crossing cook inlet between Kenai and Kalgin Island. Anyone that has crossed between there knows how bad the tide rips can get, especially with a south wind. We were crossing in a setnet skiff with 3 shackles of heavy gear and 4 guys, it was sketchy to say the least.
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    Member IceKing02's Avatar
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    Uhhh, if I were a seasoned veteran then I would have been sitting at anchor for another few days, waiting out the weather...two and a half weeks ago we took the Warhorse from Port Bainbridge back to Resurrection in a gale warning. 35kt winds and 14ft seas were, ahem, "sporting" conditions. Especially "fun" going inside of Barwell Island. When we would put the nose into a wave the splash would blow out and ahead of the boat despite the fact that we were going 17-20kph. 26ft ACB handled it fine. Captain was "concerned" but not quite scared. Not sure if that guy has enough sense to fill a thimble...

  5. #5

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    June 30th 1996, morning forecast called for S.E. winds 20kts, increasing to 40kts in the afternoon/evening with higher gusts. At 9:30 with the resort fleet fihing an hour and 10 minutes away (on a typical day) the resort manager called us and black-flagged the day, said it was already blowing 40 and building. We (18 boats, 21-22 foot Glas-ply's & Olympics) started heading back, it took us about an hour and a half to get to Ignace Is. which was our last protected water before crossing Bucarelli bay which is a straight shot to open water and can get rough at times. 8 of us who were 15 minutes ahead of the other 10 boats started across, we were immeadiately plowing into 4-5 footers stacked on top of eachother, 1 greeny after another, we were commited and there was no turning back, we called the other boats and told them they might want to wait for tide change to see if it would lay down, it didn't, it continued to build all afternoon. The 8 of us who headed across made the normal 20 minute crossing in 2.5 to 3 hours, every boat but mine (not sure how that happened) had missing wipers, broken antenna's and broken rods as well nets and other unsecured items missing. By the time we were in the middle of the crossing I'm pretty sure we were in 6-8 footers and as 270ti can tell you, 8 footers here are nothing like typical 8 footers on open water, they are steep, whitecaps very very close together (think washing machine).
    By the time we got back the resort manager had all the other boats hiding out in a protected area waiting it out. Luckily the Coast Guard had the Anacapa in the area and the manager got in contact with them to meet our boats and return the guests to the resort which they did (took a call to Juneau to get that taken care of). When they got to our dock they reported sustained winds of 50kts with gusts over 70 and 9-10 foot seas. The other 10 guides anchored up and spent the night on their boats. 21 season in AK. and I've never seen anything close to those conditions, hope I never see them again.

  6. #6
    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    Just go spend one full season on the Copper River Flats and you'll have enough dirty drawers and arse kickings for a lifetime!!

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    Member powderhound's Avatar
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    Best Thing To Happen To Me Was Get our lil 22' Jet Boat out in some 10' waves with the wifey in 2010!
    After that trip she swore she would never step foot in that boat agian in the ocean.
    Post Incident:
    Busted Glass, Dog Pissed himself, Wife prayed to God and I got to sell the boat and buy a 28' Real Ocean Boat.
    I will admit, I puckered up a few times on that trip!

  8. #8
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    July 1973 was my worst day. We were commercial fishing on a beach site in cook inlet. I was onshore after getting drenched while trying to hold the skiff straight in the surf. It went right over the top of me so I stayed onshore while my friends were in the boat trying to get the outboard started so we could run the nets when it flipped and there was only me left to get them out. Somehow I broke the suction of an upside down boat with two underneath and one of the guys grabbed my leg and pulled themselves out just before they took a breath of water. The other one didn't make it. I've seen much worse weather, but that was the worst day.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    I have been through enough hours of sheer terror during my 40 years of boating in Alaska that I have become a very fairweather sailor in my mid-life. If it looks windy, I just stay at home and mow my lawn.

  10. #10
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    "You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to sayak again."

  11. #11
    Member FishSean's Avatar
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    A few years back we were crossing on the RussianRiverFerry,some intermittant breezes were laying down a bit of chop on the water ~~~

  12. #12
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Many years ago we were heading to the east end of Tustumena Lake to do some duck hunting. There were 3 of us in a 16' low sided Lund. We were running the south shore all the way to Devils Bay when we decided to "cut across." As we were approaching the shore the waves must have been 8 ft'. We made it but it wasn't fun. Unfortunately I've been out on that lake a couple times that I shouldn't have been....

  13. #13

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    It's funny how rank stupidity is an underlying current in most stories. Of course I've never done anything as stupid as trying to launch a 12' inflatable with a 25 year old POS outboard on it into 4' whitecapping seas off of Land's End. The things people do when they don't have a clue.
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  14. #14
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    Default go with it, sometimes

    I once got caught in 25 to 30 foot waves, off the lee of an island (remember that, Captain! Argh!) luckily for me going downwind/downwave, so I just matched her speed and surfed. Before digital cameras, I had an older pic of me at the helm of a 24 foot wooden sailboat, with a 25-30 footer wave right behind me and seemingly like its going to engulf me, which it didn't because our speeds where identical and I made course of its heading, not mine.

  15. #15
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    The worst I have been in was down in SE alaska. I was working at a fish hatchery on the Chatham Strait side and we had gone to check crab pots in our 18' open skiff. I had my buddies girlfriend with me. We made it over there fine but when we turned the corner to go back it had started to blow and there were some decent sized waves (7-8'). The worst part is that they were stacked up close together. We made it back without taking any water but she was scared to death. I however was singing the whole way back. I think she thought I was crazy.

  16. #16
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Since I'm a pleasure boater I avoid the nasty stuff, my boats a 22' tolman skiff. A 4' breaking chop is pretty unpleasant which I've seen plenty of out of PWS, R and K bays, and I did have a 6 footer break over my bow in PWS when I foolishly ran between the coast and a small island straight into the wind, think wave funnel. Not terribly pleasurable when all you see is green through your windshield. I know I've been in pretty big rollers in Resurection Bay, but they're fun, you just run up and down them. Tight breaking stuff, not fun. My boat handles those conditions extremely well and even with blowing spray the back deck stays very dry. It's simply a matter of slowing down and driving each wave. It's more an issue of fatigue as you really have to concentrate vs. just picking a cruze speed and watching out for debri.

    I'm sure it was pretty big the time I holed up in Disk Island for two days as a Gale blew through. I wasn't curious enough to poke my nose out to see how bad it was. When your VHF antenna sounds like a jet engine as the wind is blowing past it, that's a good enough warning for me to stay put.

    Thus my thinking if your boat can't safely and reasonbly comfortably run through a 4' chop, it really is unsuitable for typical southcentral fishing condtions. I've had plenty of glass calm days running 50 miles from port, but have had quite a few especially multiple day trips where the water picks up.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    I have been through enough hours of sheer terror during my 40 years of boating in Alaska that I have become a very fairweather sailor in my mid-life. If it looks windy, I just stay at home and mow my lawn.
    One of the marlin captains I used to fish with who would pretty much go out no matter what used to say "I wake up in the morning, I stick a crowbar out of the window. If it bends, I stay home. If it doesn't, I'm going out."

    Pretty awesome line.

  18. #18
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    Oct. 2009 a friend, his wife, and myself headed across Berner's Bay. Marine forecast called for S 20 seas 4 ft diminishing in the afternoon. We were in a 21 ft. Hewes Sea Runner. We slopped across in 3-4 footers following sea and got to the other side only to find there wasn't a good place to go to shore. A wave through the boat on shore broadside, so I hopped out and got it pushed off. I was waiting on shore while my friend found a good place to anchor. I looked back at our crossing and things were building quickly. I waved my friend to the shore and said "We gotto go, NOW!" I jumped in and we headed out. We started heading into 4-6 footers, really stacked up on eachother. A little farther out we started getting 8+ footers breaking over the bow. Green water on the windshield, Water pouring through the cabin. At one point a wave caught the bow and we went broadside down the back side. I figured we were done at that point, but thanks to surface tension on the water nothing spilled in. We slopped through making about 1 knot for a little over an hour before we were back into 4 footers. After that I realized that those Hewescraft can take much worse weather than I can.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

  19. #19
    Member Arcticmayhem's Avatar
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    November, 2003ish. Adak Island. We were out there in a Zodiac with a 30 hp outboard that I didn't trust. There was a crab boat waiting to pick us up at the mouth of the bay to take us into town. We got out into the open Pacific with swells that were 20-30' coming from Hawaii, and 8' waves running perpendicular to that. The waves were spread out enough so it was more wild than it was dangerous, but it was a little tricky timing the transfer to the big boat. I just kept praying that the engine wouldn't quit and have the waves push us on the rocks or get slammed into the pitching crab boat.

    One summer in Cook Inlet, I helped a short handed set netter for a day. It just happened to be the worst weather of the season that day and we were trying to pick and pull nets with 8' waves in a flat bottomed skiff. The real rodeo was getting the boat beached. Yikes!

  20. #20

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    I havent been in any sort of life-threatening situation but my brother and I did find out how quickly you can find yourself in a hairy situation.

    We rented a 16foot skiff and were fishing just a couple of miles out of coffman cove.
    It was raining pretty hard but the water was relatively flat.

    We were jigging within a stone's throw distance from town and we were only picking up very small rockfish. Tired of the micros, we decided to head towards these islands that looked to be within a 10-20 minute ride.
    Heading out there, the ride was smooth, even relaxing. What we did not realize was that we were going with the current.

    As the rain picked up a bit and the waves started getting a bit bigger, we thought it would be safer to just head home so we turned the boat around.

    Its funny how I still remember that was the exact moment that we both went: "Ooohh sh*t!"

    Heading one way it was nice and smooth and the second we turned around we could hardly make any movement forward.

    My brother kicked up the motor and we slowly started making our way back to coffman. My brother was behind me on the motor and at one point I remember looking at him and the background was not the islands or the sky but just the water. It was not this massive wave that was gonna engulf us, but more of a crazy angle that the boat was in. Almost like I was looking down at him because the boat tilted so much because of a wave.

    As I said, I was not fearing for my life or anything as were within sight of the town. Also, the waves felt like large balloons underneath the boat as opposed to these powerful things smashing against it. However, the 10 mins it took us to get to the islands easily became 40 minutes on the way back.
    Random guy in Fly shop: "Where did this happen???? In real life or in Alaska?"

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