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Thread: Tips For Finding Fuel On Long Trips

  1. #1
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    Default Tips For Finding Fuel On Long Trips

    Do any of you take long trips by boat? Without getting into specific areas, what are some general tips for finding fuel along the way. Will the canneries sell diesel to anyone? Do lodges sell fuel to non-customers? What about small villages that don't have a dock?

    I've got a 32' cruiser and I'm interested in going from Anchorage down to Dutch Harbor and then up to Dillingham but there are some stretches there along the Aleutians where there are no towns that have a public harbor/dock that sells diesel. I'll either have to carry some fuel drums on deck or come up with some other ideas. I also use gasoline for my tender's outboard so I'd like to know that I can buy gasoline along the way too.

    Thanks for any tips you can give.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    No tips from me, but if you should happen to find my 12 gallons of fuel that I might have left somewhere in PWS - please leave it there for me!

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    I'd start looking for a bunch of nice clean drums now !!

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    Three ways to get fuel for long trips. Carry all of it with you. Start out with what you might need and stash some to lighten the load. Buy it remote.

    On river trips, stashing seems like a good idea until it gets routinely stolen. On an ocean trip, I would be concerned that getting to that exact location when you need the gas would be problematic. If you can't buy enough out there, you need more range, so bigger tanks. Buy some barrels and line the deck.

    Diesel is some times easier to get in the bush than gas if you use "heating oil." You will still need barrels, but the 15gal size would be better so you can pick them up and lug them around since there won't be a hose on the dock.

    How far is the longest stretch?

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    Thanks for the input. The longest stretch is 250nm between Karluk and Chignik. There just isn't much out there on that segment. No villages, lodges, canneries, not even a seaplane base. The next longest stretch between known fuel stops is 150nm on the Bristol Bay side of the peninsula.

    In an ideal world, I'd like to use the rule of thirds which means 1/3 out, 1/3 back and 1/3 held in reserve. That means I'd only use 1/3 of my fuel to go from Karluk to Chignik. If I arrive at Chignik and can't acquire fuel for some reason, then I have 1/3 to go back to Karluk with another 1/3 in reserve in case I am facing additional wind and current.

    The 1/3 rule won't work in this case. Using round numbers, let's say I need 1 gallon per nautical mile. That's 250 gallons of fuel, x 3 for the 1/3 rule, which is 750 gallons. I only have a 180 gallon internal tank. That leaves 570 gallons or eleven 55 gallon drums needed on deck. Well 11 drums on deck isn't going to happen!

    If I push the limits and don't keep a reserve, I could get by with as few as 2 drums of fuel on deck but I would be arriving in Chignik with virtually empty tanks.

    I'm torn between a compromise of carrying something like 4 drums on deck and/or caching several drums of fuel about halfway between Karluk and Chignik. There are several protected coves where caching barrels and then coming back to transfer fuel would be possible but that's a lot of work! It means a extra trip to move the fuel to the cache location, timing the tides in the cove, and lifting and moving the barrels. No easy solutions that I can see. I'm leaning towards carrying 4 drums on deck, waiting for good weather, calling my destination at the last minute to verify fuel availability and then taking my chances on that segment with only a 150 gallon reserve.

    Any additional thoughts on this would be appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FooZab View Post
    Thanks for the input. The longest stretch is 250nm between Karluk and Chignik. There just isn't much out there on that segment. No villages, lodges, canneries, not even a seaplane base. The next longest stretch between known fuel stops is 150nm on the Bristol Bay side of the peninsula.

    In an ideal world, I'd like to use the rule of thirds which means 1/3 out, 1/3 back and 1/3 held in reserve. That means I'd only use 1/3 of my fuel to go from Karluk to Chignik. If I arrive at Chignik and can't acquire fuel for some reason, then I have 1/3 to go back to Karluk with another 1/3 in reserve in case I am facing additional wind and current.

    The 1/3 rule won't work in this case. Using round numbers, let's say I need 1 gallon per nautical mile. That's 250 gallons of fuel, x 3 for the 1/3 rule, which is 750 gallons. I only have a 180 gallon internal tank. That leaves 570 gallons or eleven 55 gallon drums needed on deck. Well 11 drums on deck isn't going to happen!

    If I push the limits and don't keep a reserve, I could get by with as few as 2 drums of fuel on deck but I would be arriving in Chignik with virtually empty tanks.

    I'm torn between a compromise of carrying something like 4 drums on deck and/or caching several drums of fuel about halfway between Karluk and Chignik. There are several protected coves where caching barrels and then coming back to transfer fuel would be possible but that's a lot of work! It means a extra trip to move the fuel to the cache location, timing the tides in the cove, and lifting and moving the barrels. No easy solutions that I can see. I'm leaning towards carrying 4 drums on deck, waiting for good weather, calling my destination at the last minute to verify fuel availability and then taking my chances on that segment with only a 150 gallon reserve.

    Any additional thoughts on this would be appreciated.
    make sure your epirb batteries are fresh !! Never told us what you have for a boat and getting into some of the places you want to stash fuel could be a real nightmare, sandbars and breakers going into a place you've never been will get you killed quick.

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    Have you thought about the Williamsport to Pile Bay overland route?
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    Yeah the Lake Iliamna portage was my first choice but Williamsport requires a 16' high tide minimum to get into the cove and a tide that high only comes along once a month and the dates don't coincide with my trip dates. Good idea though!

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    I spent 5-1/2 years boating out of Dutch. I've spent quite a bit of time in the near shore waters around Dutch. Although fuel is definately a big consideration on a trip of that magnitude, having knowlege of the local conditions is probably the highest issue on my list. There are folks in Dutch who have made that trip-some many times. I'd suggest finding someone who has made that trip at least once-better yet many times- and talk with them about what you are planning. I've been out in Akutan Pass (between Unalaska Island and Akutan) when the tide was ripping so fast that in 300' of water thier were haystacks in the middle of a mile wide pass. I wouldn't want to try to make headway in those conditions. Having said that Berring and company navigated those waters in a wooden boat with no charts, no GPS and no GoreTex!
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    Member Alaskanmutt's Avatar
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    If stashing you also might want to check with the land owner, some get picky about their lands.
    You leave barrels of fuel on them it belongs to them.
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    Wow, that is a haul. You are only getting 1 nmpg? I though diesel boats did better than that. That is bad for a 28 ft pig gasser boat with poor running twin 350's, not that I would know..... Seems like 2-4 gph is pretty normal for a 30' trawler/nordic tug type boat. Seems like they go around 7-10 nmph. At worst, that gas consumption is close to half as much as what your worst scenario is requiring only 4 drums on deck. Or my math is really bad, it has been known to happen.

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    I haunted Bristol Bay In the '80s and '90s. I'm not sure of the situation now, but back then some of the fuel docks in the smaller villages pretty much closed down after the comm fish ended for the year. It can be a real ***** finding the only guy in town with a key to the fuel when he is out hunting or in ANC for a few days. It would pay to call ahead a day or so in advance to make sure someone can man the fuel.

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    change your times on going as it would be a lot better to take the land route an safer of a trip

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