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Thread: My Whiitier report from this weekend...

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    Member Arctic Hunter's Avatar
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    Default My Whiitier report from this weekend...

    Thought I'd share my report with you all.....

    We got back last night from Green Island over Labor Day. Left Friday AM from Whittier. Had two days of decent weather, but Sunday we got caught in some serious weather and had to hunker down in a bay on the southern tip of East Knight Island. Easterlys were blowing 35mpg with gusts in the bay pushing 50-60mph, forcasted 8ft seas. We did stick our heads out of the bay and the seas were everything of 8ft so we turned back into the bay and waited out the weather. It made for an exciting few days, especially at night as we worried alot about the anchor pulling off the bottom with the ripping winds we had.

    Weather let up just a little yesterday (Tuesday) morning. Had a rescue chopper come into the bay and buzz us at 100ft, was looking for a 22ft Hewescraft with 3 on board. Kind of cool to see them, but also made me realize how serious the situation was for them.

    Based on the weather report from the choppper, he indicated 2-5 fters and ceiling was coming up, so we decided to chance it and make it to at least Lower passage and see from there. The ride back was interesting with seas 4-6 ft along the eastern size of Knight, 5-6ft going accross Knight Passage and 3-5ft going accross Port Wells and through Passage. With the wind blowing easterly we rode the waves into Whittier while everyone else was hunkered down in Culross Passage.

    For the report, we hunted Green Friday night, alot of hiking, lots of gametrails and deer sign, but nothing. Dont think I'll do that again.

    Saturday fishing was poor the first half of the day and excellent the later part, we caught 6 lingcod all averaging 40 in or more, with one topping 51 inches. 3 halibut (biggest 70lb) and some good size yelloweye and rockfish. Caught a few dogfish sharks too.

    Sun-Tues was spent in the bay hunkered down. Wasnt all wasted, my 11 yr old got his 1st blackie on salmon stream. Trying to get another one, but the chopper that flew in pretty much scared everthing within a mile away.

    Glad to be home after that. We'll see if we get out in Oct/Nov. for deer.
    2006 22ft Defiance 220EX
    150 HP Yamaha 4-Stroke
    Call Sign - "Defiance"

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    Member DMan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report. I heard it got bad. I hope they found the Hewes hunkered down safe somewhere....
    ... aboard the 'Memory Maker' Making Memories one Wave at a Time!

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    Ugly is right! We came out of Dangerous Passage Monday morning and we were greeted by 4-5 footers that grew to solid 10 footers in front of Main Bay. They did lay down in Port Wells. We anchored up in Jack Pot Bay Sunday knight and there was a 22 foot hewescraft there. The three guys were planning on staying Monday night and heading home Tuesday. I wonder if that is the group that the CG was looking for? One of them is a member of the forum. Hopefully he will chime in. Glad you made it back safe, Andy. Personally, I like flat water!
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Thumbs up Cattin' the Bay of Swells

    Talk about constant, determined downpour... hours upon hours unceasing!!!

    Buddy & I headed out Saturday late eve. in an 18' AIRE Leopard Cat w/ a 35hp. Our planned destination was about 30 miles out. Weather was perfect in Whittier (the kind of late eve perfect you'd never grow up 'n Alaska to expect in PWS).

    Darkness, yet likely < 2' seas calm swept the daylight hours away on this incredibly balmy night as we lit out of Passage Canal.

    Around midnight rounding Decision Point gentle rollers began to build... in pitch darkness a "decision" was made to head for Entry Cove for a brief MRE meal and an overnight.

    Sunday awoke to OK weather --- nevertheless looking like a narrow window for the 17+ mile commitment across Port Wells into 4-6'+ oncoming, reflecting swells starting to spit whitecap. Kinda continuous whitewater of sorts in an open cataraft.

    Got as far as Culross Passage --- winds and waves still increasing... now feeling the relentless stinging rains staring us in the face.

    Down the passage we putted along entering once again a safe-haven calm.

    Pulled into a protected cove and set up "spongy" camp... knowing the weather was really deteriorating rapidly & maybe gonna stay downright nasty for quite a while.

    That night - winds and the constant, loud drumming of rain on the tent... good to have really good gear at times like these.

    Next morning we opened our eyes mustering out to find three or four boats anchored in the cove - one slightly run aground - likely due to the bigger tides of the day and overnight wind conditions.

    We decided to poke our heads out of Culross Passage into the turmoil swell and most certainly knew our crossing back to Passage Canal would require what I call --- patience of the sea.

    Just barely out of Culross, taking a modest beating,,, we landed on a small beach-head, running right-angle to the wind/swell and hunkered down for a few hours as the Tide made its change to high This gave just enough window of water and weather conditions to go for Whittier.

    All in all --- trip never turned into a deer hunt or a fishing trip... Story goes more like two good guys out on the sea in rough conditions using conservative, sound decision making with good positive communication, and cooperation. We remained in great spirits and good humor throughout. I have a years of experience/familiarity with the area, our equipment, and we brought all the suitable gear to keep it fun.

    Did I say RAIN!!!???

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Hey Brian. I believe we passed you guys mid way down Passage Canal Sunday afternoon. Wet indeed!

    Pete
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Member Arctic Hunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoiled one View Post
    Ugly is right! We came out of Dangerous Passage Monday morning and we were greeted by 4-5 footers that grew to solid 10 footers in front of Main Bay. They did lay down in Port Wells. We anchored up in Jack Pot Bay Sunday knight and there was a 22 foot hewescraft there. The three guys were planning on staying Monday night and heading home Tuesday. I wonder if that is the group that the CG was looking for? One of them is a member of the forum. Hopefully he will chime in. Glad you made it back safe, Andy. Personally, I like flat water!
    Could have been them, the CG reported their planned destination to be Green Island on Fri. Maybe they hightailed it out of there before the front came in. We sat fishing outside of Little Green and watched that front for the whole day on Sat. Looked really ugly. We almost thought about holing up on Green again, but made the right decision and went to Knight. Would rather have flat water too. But Im glad I switched from a river boat to this one a few years back.
    2006 22ft Defiance 220EX
    150 HP Yamaha 4-Stroke
    Call Sign - "Defiance"

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    Default Wasn't us

    Quote Originally Posted by spoiled one View Post
    Ugly is right! We came out of Dangerous Passage Monday morning and we were greeted by 4-5 footers that grew to solid 10 footers in front of Main Bay. They did lay down in Port Wells. We anchored up in Jack Pot Bay Sunday knight and there was a 22 foot hewescraft there. The three guys were planning on staying Monday night and heading home Tuesday. I wonder if that is the group that the CG was looking for? One of them is a member of the forum. Hopefully he will chime in. Glad you made it back safe, Andy. Personally, I like flat water!
    Spoiled one,
    We were the one's in Jackpot with you Sun. night. The boat they were looking for was a white Searunner like mine. We ended up in Main Bay Monday night, we surfed some 10 footers on the way into the bay. Tuesday morning leaving Main was not much fun, 6-8 footers leaving the bay. We did end up taking 2 bears so it was a good weekend even with the wicked water.
    Dave
    It's All Good

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muskie View Post
    Spoiled one,
    We were the one's in Jackpot with you Sun. night. The boat they were looking for was a white Searunner like mine. We ended up in Main Bay Monday night, we surfed some 10 footers on the way into the bay. Tuesday morning leaving Main was not much fun, 6-8 footers leaving the bay. We did end up taking 2 bears so it was a good weekend even with the wicked water.
    Dave
    It's All Good
    Glad you made it back safe, Dave. We were thinking about you guys as the forecast did not improve. So, did you guys get the big one you were scoping out or did Flores' guys on the Sundy beat you to him? Let's see some pictures.

    Pete
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  9. #9
    Member Lion Rock's Avatar
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    Default We were the Searunner

    My dad and brother and I were the overdue Searunner.

    It sounds like a lot of folks had a rough weekend as well. I'm glad we are all safe.

    We left on Sat. morning from Whittier to the Green Island cabin with plans to be back Monday afternoon. I gave the float plan to my wife who is very familiar with the Sound.

    Saturday was just beautiful, you couldnt have asked for a better day.

    We knew Sunday was going to be a little rough, but the forecasts had indicated it would settle down a little by our planned return on Monday.

    When Monday came around, the weather was looking pretty rough. A couple of boats (looked like a Kingfisher and a Trophy) had been hunkered down in Gibbon Anchorage, and bugged out early Monday.

    The forecast was for 8FT seas....not something I would normly head into, but I figured we would poke out into the straight and see what was actually happening and duck back in if it was ugly. When we got out into the straight about a mile, the waves were barreling down fom the Northeast. 8FT was the smallest. These were high frequency, cresting waves....it looked the the north shore of Hawaii. (I dont know how the Kingfisher and Trophy made it...I hope they are alright).

    We kicked around and "surfed" our way back to Green Island. As we pulled into Gibbon Anchorage, I heard the Defiance call for a radio check. When I keyed my mike to respond, my radio started flipping out making weird tones and rolling through channels. I let go of the mike and reset the radio to 16. The Defiance called again, and when I keyed the mike a second time to respond, the radio just shorted out.

    Talk about a sinking feeling. No back up VHF, no Sat phone....we were totally black.

    I knew my wife would call in that we were over due, and that the Coast Guard would try calling for us. It was the most frustrating felling to not be able to let everyone know we were safe.

    We kept out eyes out for other boats, but of course everyone was hunkered down at that point. We waited out Monday night on Green Island and planned to try again on Tues morning. We had plenty of food and water.

    With no weather info, I decided we would try and make a run for it at low slack tide around 9am. The winds had not abated, but at least the tide and wind would not be working together against us.

    We pulled out into the straight and cut across 14 miles of solid 6-8 footers, but they weren't cresting and were pretty manageable. We hit lower passage on Knight Island and saw another private boat. We tried to get his attention to help relay a radio call....chased after him but he took off apparently not realizing we were trying to flag him down.

    We decide to continue and the seas had laid down a bit until we got out of the lee of Knight and Eleanor, then they picked right back up. We were going with the waves and it was not so bad riding a (generally) following sea, though it was the most confused seas I have seen in that area....

    We were feeling pretty good when we hit the "washing machine" south of port Wells. About 3 miles off of Pigot point we saw the coast guard chopper. We signaled them we were ok but without radio. The followed us a bit to make sure we would make Passage Canal Ok, and then they peeled off.

    When we got to Whittier, Whittier PD was there to meet us and see how we were doing.

    We called in to the Coast Guard and thanked them and let them know what happened and that we were safely in port.

    The valuable lesson I learned was the importance of redundancy. A hand held VHF for $200 would have saved a lot of heartache for everyone. An $80 Sat phone rental would have as well.

    So many other things could have gone wrong and with no communications, it could have easily been deadly: Losing the prop, or contaminated fuel in the middle of Montague Straight could have been the end.

    We are very fortunate things werent worse, and are very greatful for the service of the Coast Guard, the Whittier Police, and my "on the ball" wife.

    It was a heck of a lesson for me. I hope everyone will plan ahead and play it safe. PWS is one of the most beautiful places on earth, but it wont let you make too many mistakes.

    Tom Tibor

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    Default Glad you made it back

    We heard the CG helo trying to contact you as we were hitting the dock, kinda assumed your radio was toast after you failed to answer.
    Spoiled one we ended up shooting the second bear in Eshamy, we talked to the guys on the Sundy then decided it was time for some different scenery. The first bear was a solid six footer and the other a bit smaller. Thanks for the weather report, we were wondering if you had to come off step..
    Dave

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Glad you guys are back safe!

    Thanks for sharing your lessons, as we can all learn, and be prepared as possible.

    I'm planning to head out this Saturday and come back Mon or Tuesday. We might run out to Green, but will likely anchor up in Disk.

    Hopefully the fixed and handheald VHF will work, as well as the ACS cell phone that supposedly has coverage in the sound.

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Glad you guys are back safe!

    Thanks for sharing your lessons, as we can all learn, and be prepared as possible.

    I'm planning to head out this Saturday and come back Mon or Tuesday. We might run out to Green, but will likely anchor up in Disk.

    Hopefully the fixed and handheald VHF will work, as well as the ACS cell phone that supposedly has coverage in the sound.
    You should have coverage out in Montague Strait with ACS. I purchased a Wilson omni directional antenna this spring that plugs into my LG phone. I get coverage well beyond the phone's normal range. It was $100 well spent.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Where did you get the antenna? Don't know if I'll have time to pick one up before the trip, but it sounds like a good investment.

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    Seas like that are no fun! Its a bad feeling indeed when you know you are on your own with no back up in weather like that. Thanks for sharing your story!

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Where did you get the antenna? Don't know if I'll have time to pick one up before the trip, but it sounds like a good investment.
    Frigid North off of Spenard carries them. You just have to make sure that your cell phone will accept an external jack. On my LG, the hole is under a rubber plug under the battery cover. I just drilled a small hole in the cover to access the port. Works slick. I will probably add a booster for next season.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Default That was me too....

    Quote Originally Posted by Lion Rock View Post

    We kicked around and "surfed" our way back to Green Island. As we pulled into Gibbon Anchorage, I heard the Defiance call for a radio check. When I keyed my mike to respond, my radio started flipping out making weird tones and rolling through channels. I let go of the mike and reset the radio to 16. The Defiance called again, and when I keyed the mike a second time to respond, the radio just shorted out.

    Tom Tibor
    Glad you made it back safe Tom. Yeah the CG buzzed us pretty low looking for a "Tom or maybe Stan/Sam Tibor" in a "White Searunner". Yeah that was me calling for a radio check on the Defiance and I thought I got something, but just static from your side, I guess. You must have come in to Green while we were fishing on the Montague side of the Island. So we must not have been too far behind you on Tues Morning as we pulled out of Marsha Bay around Noon.

    Yeah, a Sat phone is definately handy, but may need to switch from AT&T to ASC if its true that you can get cell coverage that far out.

    Anyways, glad your safe. Lets hope our next time out on the water is much better.
    2006 22ft Defiance 220EX
    150 HP Yamaha 4-Stroke
    Call Sign - "Defiance"

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    Member ACBMAN's Avatar
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    Last fall we made calls from Green Island on ACS with just a basic phone,only had 2 bars but worked,I will have to get a directional antenna,thanks for the info.

  18. #18
    Member Arctic Hunter's Avatar
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    Default Prepaid ACS Phone

    Since Im locked into AT&T, will consider a Prepaid from ACS. I own a Sat phone, but always nice to have other backups.
    2006 22ft Defiance 220EX
    150 HP Yamaha 4-Stroke
    Call Sign - "Defiance"

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    It is my understanding that the cellular tower is on Naked Island, so if you can see Naked, you should be able to get cellular service with ACS. With the antenna I was able to get enough signal to text near San Juan Bay on Montague and as far north as Cannery Creek in Unakwik. Once I leave Passage Canal I get nothing until I near the south side of Culross. I think a booster will help in those areas that coverage is lacking.

    After reading some of the posts from this weekend, redundancy is a huge safety factor! Especially in the communication area.

    Pete
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report. Thinking of going out there for either a blackie or deer. Great to hear that lings are still being caught. Now I must go and find the lings. I think I might try to hunt either naked or mont island.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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