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Thread: Boating down Turnagan Arm today

  1. #1
    Member Jack in Alaska's Avatar
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    Default Boating down Turnagan Arm today

    Today we saw about a 12' inflatable boat, outboard and one man aboard motoring past Indian and heading towards Portage. He was doing just fine but the tide was running out fast and the potential for disaster was great. If he ran into a mud/sand bar stopping his headway the fast moving tide could overwhelm the boat and him quickly. I was concerned for his safety so I notified 911 just so someone knew he was out there.
    I hope he made it safely to where ever he was headed.
    In my 50 years here other than wind surfers I have never seen a boat in Turn. Arm.

  2. #2
    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Is this him LOL!! The photo is on The Alaska life.com and was taken by Photo/caption from Alex Cortez

    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger View Post
    Is this him LOL!! The photo is on The Alaska life.com and was taken by Photo/caption from Alex Cortez


    Just over the boaters head is Sunrise, Alaska. 115 years ago there was regular steamship traffic from Sunrise to what would later be known as Girdwood, Alaska and Hope, Alaska. That mountain is where I watch Mt. Goats & Bears all summer. That is Falls Creek Drainage at the base of the Mountain. Falls Creek drains into Six-Mile Creek. There are 14 humans living in "Downtown" Sunrise, Alaska today.

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    Member Ak Bird Brain's Avatar
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    I saw him also. He looked like he was moving right along and headed somewhere not just cruising around.
    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day,
    Teach a man to fish and he'll also learn to drink, lie, and avoid the honey do list.

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    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    He's probably bear hunting over there. 911 call?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by rimfirematt View Post
    He's probably bear hunting over there. 911 call?
    That was my thought also. The beach sedges are some of the first to Green'up.

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    Good to see folks useing the Arm. I always felt like it's a shame to not have a viable salt fishery there and often wished there were clams to be had or something... I've putzed around in the Kinik Arm over the year's in my Old Town canoe with outboard. I accessed the water from both Six~Mile [saltwater sockeye/kings] on base and Fish Creek [dipnetting]. One year I was milling around at low tide [could touch the bottom with my canoe paddle] over at Fish Creek waiting on the tide to come in. Just after I started dipnetting I looked back out in the slat and what did I see? A huge ship heading up toward Wasilla! I had no clue they went up that far ~ blew my mind. I know there are shipping channels out there but we are talking within a hour of the tide starting to come in.

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    Why would you waste the time of emergency service on a boat that was moving alone at a good clip.that was in no way showing distress... I saw him too. I thought he was blackie hunting on the other side...

    So when you see the wind surfers out do you call 911 too....
    Do I give my friends advice? Jesus, no. They wouldn't take advice from me. Nobody should take advice from me. I haven't got a clue about anything..

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    Quote Originally Posted by akmike30 View Post
    Why would you waste the time of emergency service on a boat that was moving alone at a good clip.that was in no way showing distress... I saw him too. I thought he was blackie hunting on the other side...

    So when you see the wind surfers out do you call 911 too....

    I see no problem with the OP calling 911. Just because he called them doesn't mean they dispatched all their resources. It was just a heads up on the fact that there was a potential situation, which I'm sure the response personel appreciated being in the know that they may be called on and it could've helped cut response time. JMO

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    Member Jack in Alaska's Avatar
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    Default A much better opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by dandeo2003 View Post
    I see no problem with the OP calling 911. Just because he called them doesn't mean they dispatched all their resources. It was just a heads up on the fact that there was a potential situation, which I'm sure the response personel appreciated being in the know that they may be called on and it could've helped cut response time. JMO
    You have my intention exactly right as opposed to the mindless one below mine. Thanks for the reply.
    The "arm" is a beautiful place for sure but can be treacherous for someone uninformed of it's ferocity.

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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    There should be about 2-3 hours around high slack water where the arm is pretty darn safe. If he did his homework, he would have been just fine.

    I've always wanted to play in the arm with a high powdered wave runner and a bore tide. That would be fun to jump and surf! Then run back to Anchorage at 85mph...

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    He was out there doing survey work. I saw him in Bird Creek with GPS Surveyequipment.

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    Could someone help educate an outsider on what the concern was? I am not a resident of Alaska but enjoy coming up for hunting and fishing trips. I enjoy this forum just as much for opportunities to learn new and important information such as this. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
    Could someone help educate an outsider on what the concern was? I am not a resident of Alaska but enjoy coming up for hunting and fishing trips. I enjoy this forum just as much for opportunities to learn new and important information such as this. Thanks.
    Turnagain Arm nearly goes dry at low tide, so you could get stuck for hours. Another is if the tide is going out, and you were with out power you could get swept out quickly. Another is the "Bore'tide" which is not often but could NOT be survived in anything short of a ship, and maybe not even then. I have seen "Bore'tides with walls 15' and 18' high. It would be horror to see that coming and not be able to outrun it.

    That said, it is totally safe even in a canoe for about 2 hours on each side of high tide........Wind and waves could still be a factor. The other issue is that Turnagain Arm is clay, and you can NOT walk far from shore without getting stuck, bad stuck. There have been people stuck on foot with the tide coming in, and a rescue chopper is sent, they drop a harness and lift..............sometimes pulling up only the top half of the person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
    Could someone help educate an outsider on what the concern was? I am not a resident of Alaska but enjoy coming up for hunting and fishing trips. I enjoy this forum just as much for opportunities to learn new and important information such as this. Thanks.
    Here is some more info on the bore tide; http://www.alaska.org/advice/alaska-bore-tide . Other factors that make Turnagain Arm so dangerous is the cold water, speed of the tide, and the treacherous mud that has, and will, claim more lives in the future. The Arm has also cliamed the life of at least one wind surfer who was reportedly taken out by the tide.

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    Very cool. Thank you both for the information. Something new learned today. Now, finding a practical application for this information down here in Kansas might be a challenge.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Turnagain Arm nearly goes dry at low tide, so you could get stuck for hours. Another is if the tide is going out, and you were with out power you could get swept out quickly. Another is the "Bore'tide" which is not often but could NOT be survived in anything short of a ship, and maybe not even then. I have seen "Bore'tides with walls 15' and 18' high. It would be horror to see that coming and not be able to outrun it.

    That said, it is totally safe even in a canoe for about 2 hours on each side of high tide........Wind and waves could still be a factor. The other issue is that Turnagain Arm is clay, and you can NOT walk far from shore without getting stuck, bad stuck. There have been people stuck on foot with the tide coming in, and a rescue chopper is sent, they drop a harness and lift..............sometimes pulling up only the top half of the person.
    Bore tides usually only happen when there is a minus low tide (full moon).

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    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    I also saw this guy. He was circling around back and forth. I figured he was marking the channel for a larger boat or barge to come up soon.
    Live life and love it
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  19. #19

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    Saw a plane once land on the mud flats on a minus tide! Thought that was kind of dumb. There's a landing craft that does regular runs up the arm as well. If you understand the variables in Cook Inlet and the Arm you can safely navigate up into 20 mile or Portage. We've had some pretty small tides this last week( tidal range wise) which means the current velocity is low. That guy was probably all right. If you don't have any regional Cook Inlet maritime experience, then it may be scary. It's a beast!
    Piscor Ergo Sum

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
    Could someone help educate an outsider on what the concern was? I am not a resident of Alaska but enjoy coming up for hunting and fishing trips. I enjoy this forum just as much for opportunities to learn new and important information such as this. Thanks.
    One of the main reasons it's so dangerous is you just can't walk around out there......

    A number of years ago a newlywed couple on their honeymoon in AK. where out enjoying riding ATVs. Seeing the tide was out they decided to take a shortcut across a harmless looking part of the mud flat. Unfortunately the young lady's rig got stuck and she got off it and began to try to work it free. Of course her husband was also trying to free the rig as well. As they worked she/they didn't realize that she was sinking deeper into the mud/clay, and the tide had started to come in. In short, no matter how hard they tried they couldn't fee her legs. A trooper arrived there, but at that time the water was already up to her chest. There was nothing anybody could do, so sadly she drowned.

    There are signs posted along the arm advising people to not venture out, but some still risk it. Nowadays emergency crews with new equipment practice freeing a person as quickly as possible that is stuck in the mud. As long as they are notified in time an emergency crew has a good chance of saving them.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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