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Thread: Bering Sea West Alaska Coastline

  1. #601
    Member BeaV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    I hope he is just trying to work with the tides.... As of 1:10am, it looks like he is still paddling south out a good distance from shore. May be a glitch. Time will tell.
    I paddled to Emmonak to try and find a tide book but was unable to get one. I had no tide information and no weather forecasts as my VHF marine radio couldn't pick up any broadcasts. I paddled the SW coast in the more of a traditional way- just observing the conditions.

  2. #602
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    Quote Originally Posted by wykee5 View Post
    Bob's track looks like he might have encountered his first bit of adventure out on the mud. Thankfully it looks like he is OK.
    Everyday was an adventure paddling through those tidal mud flats!!! I was hoping to not have to paddle way out at low tide, but as it turned out that was the only way to make progress. The "high" tide usually only brought enough water depth to shore for 30 minutes or so before draining back out like a bathtub. If I wasn't on a river channel, my only chance to launch was at high tide and then be forced out to sea as the water depth decreased. It was a bad feeling to leave shore and not know how or when I'd be able to make it back in. 12 hours til the next high tide or maybe a river channel and hoping things didn't get too nasty out there. It didn't help either that once I got out 1/2 mile the shoreline usually wasn't visible giving a sense that I was out in the middle of nowhere. Not having a deck compass, I had to use clouds near the horizon to navigate and try to paddle parallel to the shore I couldn't see.

    I only got beached on the mud twice for periods of 4 and 5 hours, I recall. When that happened, all I could do was crawl into the boat and zip up the spray skirt to try to keep the incessant wind and rain at bay. As you probably could see on my tracker, there were too many days where I was still stuck out there paddling after dark. OH MAN I hated those nights paddling blind- not a star in the sky. Just black everywhere and then I'd hit a mud flat. Which way to go to find deeper water? I wanted so desperate to find shore but usually had to go out further to find enough water to paddle through. Eventually, when I made shore, I wanted to kiss it I was so relieved! Then the next morning came and I'd have to go back out again. Day after day of this kind of stuff wears on a guy.

  3. #603
    Member BeaV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    .... That's a gawd-awful mud-suckhole where he's at....
    Yup that's a nice way of putting it. I know, you guys warned me....

  4. #604
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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Thanks Will. Do you know how he's guaranteed to not stay stuck to the silt on the incoming rescue-tide?

    Think Bob's going to have fun reading some of these comments when he comes back?
    No guarantee whatsoever. Best chance was to try and stay off shallow areas, especially with a falling tide. Easier said than done as the water clarity is zero and everything is shallow it seems. I was always checking the water depth as I paddled by feeling the bottom. When the depth interfered with paddling, I'd go out further to sea. Many areas were just too shallow (12" or less) so I would use the kayak paddle or sometimes have to get out of the boat and pull it. It was a strange feeling to be walking on the flats with no land in site.

    Mostly the mud flats paralleled the shore but too often they were like islands scattered here and there. From the perspective of three feet above the water, sure can't see far. Had to guess sometimes if I should skirt toward shore or go further out- make the wrong guess, especially on a falling tide, and your stuck! The best indication of emerging flats on a falling tide is flocks of gulls landing ahead. Worse was when the flocks of sandpipers were near- that meant dry flats for sure. I watched for birds and changed course to further out.

  5. #605
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    When he gets over by platinum, the bears will be fishing in the creeks and rivers. I have fond memories of being run out of the mouth of the Salmon River by five big brownies fishing for silvers. I let them have the place, a couple of those bears were huge... He will have bears from there on south...
    All the blackies and interior griz respected me. The coastal brownies weren't at all impressed with me. Had a heck of a time convincing a sow with cubs, one time, that the stuff in my camp was mine. And the big boars....they'd just walk right past me ignoring my threats. Overall, we got along just fine, though.

  6. #606
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    The BeaV's tracking system apparently allows for some messaging. Last night, he sent a message ... "Delayed due to wind/tide but everything is ok." ... He's aware that his track is being watched with concern and can allay any worries. Glad the technology allows us to "participate" in his epic adventure for the last some 5 months.
    Yes, I had three preprogrammed messages in the Inreach that I could chose from to keep everyone informed of why I wasn't moving. Unfortunately though, the 2-way texting feature failed on Day 4 so it was not possible to give updates to all "as things happened". More of an inconvenience for family and friends at home than for me.

  7. #607
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    PKZ160-200300-
    BRISTOL BAY WATERS CAPE NEWENHAM TO PORT HEIDEN
    400 AM AKDT MON AUG 19 2013
    .TODAY...W WIND 20 KT. SEAS 6 FT. PATCHY FOG. RAIN.
    .TONIGHT...W WIND 20 KT. SEAS 7 FT. PATCHY FOG.
    .TUE...NW WIND 20 KT. SEAS 7 FT. PATCHY FOG.
    .TUE NIGHT...W WIND 20 KT. SEAS 6 FT.
    .WED...W WIND 20 KT. SEAS 6 FT.
    .THU AND FRI...W WIND 15 KT. SEAS 5 FT.
    Bob is in a bit of a pickle.....been sitting for two days with wind problems, just East of Cape Newenham. Looks like the best he'll get is at the end of the week with 15KTS and 5 feet.....hope he has plenty of food, he's going to be there a while from the looks of things....
    I didn't know this was coming or how long this would last. I was making a move to get around the Cape when the waves got too big (7 or 8 footers) so I took refuge in Security Cove. The next day the winds only got worse so I just stayed onshore. I knew I made the right move when a 60' ship came into the cove and anchored that second day. I tried hailing them for an update on the weather using my marine radio but never got through. The next day things seemed alittle bit better so I again made my move to round the Cape but quickly was put in my place and had to retreat back to the Cove. It was at this time that I decided to scout for a possible overland portage. I figured if I could make it to the other side, there'd be a good chance that I could keep paddling even with the strong winds.
    I successfully found a route across, making 4 trips that day to carry everything across, and then used ropes to safely descend the cliff on the other side. It worked- I was able to continue paddling. However, I could hardly walk for the next couple of days due to joint pain in my ankles and knees. Too many days sitting in the boat without working my legs, I reckoned.

  8. #608
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    Well first of all BeaV, I'm glad you made it back so we can have these conversations. You are a testament to the ability of man to adapt and persevere.
    How was the stretch by Cape Newenham? You had me worried there, the WX sucked and I've seen that inhospitable shoreline. You cut the Cape out by going overland, which looked like the only sane option at the time. After I saw you take that move I quit worrying (as much) about your chances for survival. Wow! Look at that BeaV, I asked the question and you had already answered it.

  9. #609
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeaV View Post
    The second day pulling upstream. I remember it well, at 3:00 pm I pulled to shore ready to call it quits and head back down river. I was frustrated and exhausted at the slow progress. I took a short break, drank a little water and ate some trail mix. I felt better and decided to keep trudging along.
    It's amazing to hear you say that.....I mean feeling that you were making "slow" progress. That was only in your mind as all of us here couldn't believe how fast a pace you were making pretty much the whole trip. And now that it's all said and done, and how fast you ended up finishing, it really must be something to think back at all the time you had to have spent questioning yourself?

    Anyway, sure glad you made it across those dreaded mud flats.....the snowshoes were a great idea!

    And so sorry that you found your cabin was all ashes. That had to be disheartening for sure. Was it burned by a forest fire or do you think it was was some careless person using it?

    Thanks again for bringing us all along on your trip. It surely was a pleasure. And as I said once before....."Ironman ain't got nuthin' on you...!!!"....

    All the Best...!!!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  10. #610

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    BeaV...thanks for coming back to chat. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the opportunity to read about your journey, both before and during, and now after.
    14 Days to Alaska
    Also available on Kindle and Nook

  11. #611
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    !

    And so sorry that you found your cabin was all ashes. That had to be disheartening for sure. Was it burned by a forest fire or do you think it was was some careless person using it?
    My money would be on a federal agency that burned it down.

  12. #612

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    I think it is fair to say this is an unrepeatable route... not even by the OP. The 150 mile upriver portion of the Chandalar

    All but guarantees it. Even the OP would never do that again. Subtract the Chandalar/Koyukuk portion and still who is

    going to stay motivated to finish this? Bering sea coast in late August?.. Up the Kvichak?..

    congrats..

    OP mot likely will be the only human to ever do this route in one season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchorrivercrowds View Post
    I think it is fair to say this is an unrepeatable route
    Well it started out an undoable route. So now that Beav has done it, its unrepeatable only if he says it is. Nobody else gets a vote I don't think.

  14. #614
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    How was the stretch by Cape Newenham?
    The Cape looked savagely beautiful if that makes sense. Big surf pounding on the vertical cliffs made me aware of how insignificant I was and how careful I needed to be before getting too far out there. I was thinking the same thing as you guys were, "if only I could get past the Cape I might be able to continue". I hated to have to portage my stuff, but I had no idea how long the wind would blow. Nice thing about the portage though, I got real close to a giant bull caribou and ate my fill of salmon berries.

  15. #615
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    It's amazing to hear you say that.....I mean feeling that you were making "slow" progress. That was only in your mind as all of us here couldn't believe how fast a pace you were making pretty much the whole trip. And now that it's all said and done, and how fast you ended up finishing, it really must be something to think back at all the time you had to have spent questioning yourself?


    And so sorry that you found your cabin was all ashes. That had to be disheartening for sure. Was it burned by a forest fire or do you think it was was some careless person using it?

    Thanks again for bringing us all along on your trip. It surely was a pleasure. And as I said once before....."Ironman ain't got nuthin' on you...!!!"....
    All the Best...!!!
    I felt pressured to make up for lost time in Skagway and the Chilkoot portage. I was 7 days behind coming off the Chilkoot and didn't see where I could make up that much time. Then after 2 days struggling up the easiest part of the Chandalar knowing that the worst was to come, it was easy to tell myself "it's impossible, the locals in Fort Yukon are right".

    Looked like moose hunters had used the cabin for years and then at some point after having a few too many, burned it down for kicks. I'm pretty good at reading the sign and this is what it looked like happened.

    Your welcome and thanks for all the compliments, everybody, here's a virtual handshake to you all.

  16. #616

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Well it started out an undoable route. So now that Beav has done it, its unrepeatable only if he says it is. Nobody else gets a vote I don't think.

    you make a good point... but 150 miles up he Chandalar??... you kidding me?

  17. #617
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy Hamon View Post
    BeaV...thanks for coming back to chat. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the opportunity to read about your journey, both before and during, and now after.
    No problem. Sounds like I paddled fairly close to your town. That night I left the Bering Sea and entered the Kvichak River was the worst situation I got into the whole trip.

  18. #618
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    BeaV

    Looking at Google maps, it seems to me you were faced with several challenges logistically. For example, it seems there are numerous options to get onto the Chandalar River combined with so many other river or streams dumping into the Yukon in that area... did you have moments on that trip, like "where the hell am I" (or did the GPS nail it down for you?).

  19. #619
    Member BeaV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobmikk View Post
    BeaV

    Looking at Google maps, it seems to me you were faced with several challenges logistically. For example, it seems there are numerous options to get onto the Chandalar River combined with so many other river or streams dumping into the Yukon in that area... did you have moments on that trip, like "where the hell am I" (or did the GPS nail it down for you?).
    I used Google Earth maps printed and laminated at home for my primary navigation the whole way. That route you described I had chosen to take before even leaving home. When I arrived in Fort Yukon, I spoke with a trapper who lives, during the trapping season, on that route. He didn't think I'd be able to find my way through there. Apparently, I wasn't the first to notice that route. They call it the "back slough and sh_t creek".

    With my laminated maps always at me feet in the boat, I was constantly looking for landmarks ahead and comparing to the map. By watching where I was at on my map I rarely questioned my location. If needed, I could turn on my GPS and check. I guess I did have a lot of "this doesn't look right" moments, though. But the GPS topo maps were not very useful on the rivers due to changing channels and islands over the years. The Google map data is all pretty recent. Navigating the Yukon Flats was the most trying area. I used the GPS more for checking my speed and time.

  20. #620
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I have been reading on this forum for nearly ten years. I had some great adventures living in nome and Kotz for two years, pulled a body from the previous fall out of the ocean after break up. Saved some lives too, working in the ED. Flying folks to Anchorage and praying for them afterwards. A few close calls with bears, etc.. Pulled fur out of caribou stew and ate various oddities native folks generously shared. Been on bumpy white knuckled bush flights where the pilot dropped f bombs. Weathered 60 mph winds in my tent. I have done float trips in various parts of Alaska, drank muscadine wine (from NC) while floating around chena hot springs with my now wife. Spent time in two remote areas of SE chasing steelhead and finally got my first, a 36 incher. I have been kicked out of the bush company, and deserved it. My German shepherd is named Kenai. Alaska has been very good to me. And all that to say this, I still feel like a tourist after spending the last two hours reading this thread. If ever, any one thread embodies what an Alaskan adventure means, this was it. My hats off to you man.


    Dan



    Quote from Bob in late August sums things up nicely....


    " It's like a game of chess. The wind is the bishop cuz it always comes at me diagonally, the waves are the knights cuz they show up out of nowhere, the tide is the castle cuz they move up and down, and the tidal flats are the queen cuz she can get you from any direction and is the hardest to avoid. I'm just a pawn-once I move, my only choice is to take one step forward."
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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