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Thread: Air Charters for the Goodnews

  1. #1
    Member Scottsum's Avatar
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    Default Air Charters for the Goodnews

    O.k. I think we've decided on a couple of options for our trip next summer.

    If we do the Alagnak, we'll use Branch River Air, but I need some recommendations for charters to the Goodnews or Kanektok.

    It looks like for the Goodnews you get dropped-off with floats and picked-up with wheels. Is there an option for a regularly scheduled charter from Goodnews village that is less expensive than chartering the whole plane? I know over here, there are a few charter services that fly regular routes to villages accross the inlet that can run less than $100.00 pp. one way.

    I don't know how cargo would work for these charters though. Even after eating most of our food, we'll still have a few hundred lbs of gear to fly-out.

    Thanks in advance.

    Scott

  2. #2
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Scott,

    There is no scheduled air service to Goodnews Bay. But you may not have to go there anyway. Email Rick Grant at Tikchik Airventures in Dillingham. I think they over winter in New Zealand, but they will email you back. There are three options for a Goodnews float.

    One, you fly from Dillingham to Goodnews Lake, float the 60 mile Goodnews to the village of Goodnews Bay where a wheeled bush flight will take you back to Dillingham. Problem is, you go this route and you have to float the 5 miles of tidally influenced and murky river. A real pain in the a$#. Don't take option one.

    Two, you fly from Dillingham to Goodnews Lake, float the 60 mile Goodnews to a point about 5 miles short of the village and have a local (Bavilla) pick you up in a motor boat and take you to the village. He also takes you and your gear via atv to the runway. You then have the wheeled bush trip back to Dillingham. Rick will coordinate the pick up with Bavilla. You just need to meet him at the time/place and have $50/person.

    Three, you fly from Dillingham to Goodnews Lake, float the 60 miles Goodnews to the same point where you would have met Bavilla in option two. But Rick meets you there in his float plane and takes you back to Dillingham omitting the village and tidally influenced 5 miles of lower river all together. Option three rocks (and cost the same). Weather dependent as everything else in Alaska. If he can't come get you on floats, he will have Bavilla waiting on you to take you to Goodnews Village for option two. So take cash either way as you don't know for sure how you will be returning.

    Rick's website is below. Great pilot and I suggest him highly. He has a smaller plane that carries 800 lbs (185 or 206) and a Beaver (1200 lbs). Both on floats. If wheeled pick up at the village is needed, he coordinates that (and Bavilla's pick up) and the charge is the same to you. Except for the $50/person to Bavilla you should carry with you.

    http://www.tikchikairventures.com/
    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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    Member Scottsum's Avatar
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    Default Thanks Dan

    I actually sent Rick an email earlier today, so I'll look forward to hearing back from him.

    Thanks for the info,

    Scott

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    Do remember that he is on New Zealand (vacation) time. I emailed him about 8 days ago and have yet to hear back. Slacker is probably out fly fishing for brown trout. After talking with you recently about the Goodnews, it got me thinking about going back. I shot Rick an email to get a quote on taking my wife and I. Not sure if I can afford two float trips this year, but I am going to try
    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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    Member Scottsum's Avatar
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    Default It's only money!

    Aww C'mon it's only money. The governement can always make more!!

  6. #6
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    That is what I keep telling the wife

    You had me at "Aww"
    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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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Freshwater Adventures?

    A friend spoke well of Freshwater Adventures yesterday.

    They and others who work out of Dillingham in this thread:
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...d.php?p=160760

    No personal experience - yet.

  8. #8
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    No personal experience - yet.


    When you get the price quote, there won't be any either.


    I got an email recently and it was insulting. Unless gas is up to $75/gallon in Dilly
    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.

  9. #9
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Freshwater Adventures

    I did this trip with Freshwater Adventures about three years ago (before Jill and Lester sold the operation to the Ball brothers). I haven't heard any recent reports about how it is with Freshwater these days; check their website.

    We had a large group; it took two Goose loads to get us in there, so we expected to pay more.

    Charter rates are up, because of rising fuel costs. Some are starting to add in fuel surcharges to base rates, as a hedge against fuel cost increases. What else can they do? They have to start with a rate of some kind at the time you book... it's a tough business even in good times, it's even more difficult now.

    If you need rafting or camping gear, give Dan Boyd a call out in Dillingham. He's at THIS LINK. Dan is a straight shooter and he has the stuff you need. No, I don't work for him (but I did build his website).

    You'll love the trip!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
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  10. #10
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Charter rates are up, because of rising fuel costs. Some are starting to add in fuel surcharges to base rates, as a hedge against fuel cost increases. What else can they do?
    I will not say the name of the operator in Dillingham, but one of them gave me a quote of $3,200 round trip to the Goodnews. This was in August of this year, which was exactly 12 months since my last trip on the Goodnews. That first trip on the Goodnews (Aug 2007)was with a different operator and cost $1,800 for a round trip. The operator that quotes me $3,200 in August 2008 gave me another quote last week for $4,600. I am scared to call back. If I do, it could be $7,000 next time. What gives? Fuel cost have nothing to do with what I am experiencing. For the record, all three price quotes were in response to me asking for an 800 lb allowance for my wife and I and our gear. Apple to apples in all cases. My hunch is that business is down because people don't have the expendable income to run off on hunting/fishing/rafting trips like usual. So if you can take 25 groups out this season compared to 40, the only way to make a similar profit is to jack up the prices. I could be wrong and would be interested to hear if so. Just not sure what other explanation could be provided for a $2,800 price increase in 15 months. I am just praying when Rick Grant of Tikchik Airventures emails me back, I don't get the same sticker shock. For some reason, I don't think his quote will be anywhere near $4,600. In fact, I suspect it will be under half that. I will find out soon.

    Very long story short, check prices with several operators. For what it is worth, I got quotes from $3,200 to $5,600 for my Kongakut trip in June. Free enterprise
    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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    Last August I went with a party into the Kanektok. We used FreshWater Adventures to fly us into Kagati Lake and pick us up down river in Quinhagak. The total air fare was $10,800 but I am sure it has gone up since then. This forum will only allow me to say that we had a bad experience using FreshWater Advertures and that you can contact me for the details. FYI, while in Quinhagak I learned that there is a local school teacher who will run a small party up river using a jet boat and they can float back down to the town. Grant Air has scheduled flights into Quinhagak so this could be a less expensive way to do a short float. I am sorry I don't remember the teacher's name but the one of dillingham air taxi services should be able to tell you. He takes floaters from the river to the airport for many of them.

    I have also had great experience with Katmai Air out of King Salmon. It would be a long trip to the Goodnews or Kanektok and would probably take a lot of $$ due to the distance. They are great for a trip up the Alagnek.

  12. #12
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum!

    Only $10,800!!!

    What a bargain

    Since you mention FWA, I will say that I recently got a quote and it was $2,000 more than Rick Grant of Tikchik Airventures in Dillingham. This was the same logistics and payload. Actually Rick's plan is better as he picks you up on the river in his Beaver, omitting going into the village of Goodnews Bay and having a wheel plane pick up. So for $2,000 less, I can get a better flight? Go figure.

    Also, this outfit you speak of is under new ownership as mentioned earlier. I doubt they will be around long.
    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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    Last August I went with a party into the Kanektok. We used FreshWater Adventures to fly us into Kagati Lake and pick us up down river in Quinhagak. The total air fare was $10,800 but I am sure it has gone up since then. This forum will only allow me to say that we had a bad experience using FreshWater Advertures and that you can contact me for the details. FYI, while in Quinhagak I learned that there is a local school teacher who will run a small party up river using a jet boat and they can float back down to the town. Grant Air has scheduled flights into Quinhagak so this could be a less expensive way to do a short float. I am sorry I don't remember the teacher's name but the one of dillingham air taxi services should be able to tell you. He takes floaters from the river to the airport for many of them.

    I have also had great experience with Katmai Air out of King Salmon. It would be a long trip to the Goodnews or Kanektok and would probably take a lot of $$ due to the distance. They are great for a trip up the Alagnek.

  14. #14
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Different, but I will give it a try...

    Welcome to the forum!

    Only $10,800!!!

    What a bargain

    Since you mention FWA, I will say that I recently got a quote and it was $2,000 more than Rick Grant of Tikchik Airventures in Dillingham. This was the same logistics and payload. Actually Rick's plan is better as he picks you up on the river in his Beaver, omitting going into the village of Goodnews Bay and having a wheel plane pick up. So for $2,000 less, I can get a better flight? Go figure.

    Also, this outfit you speak of is under new ownership as mentioned earlier. I doubt they will be around long.
    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.

  15. #15
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Good price on the Goodnews...

    I talked with Tom at Bay Air the other day. He is in Dillingham and has a Beaver (1200 lb load). I got a good price from him, best yet actually. He can fly you to Goodnews Lake in the Beaver. He would have you picked up by Bavilla five miles short of the village, have you taken in motor boat to Goodnews bay, then pick you up in a 206 on wheels (also 1200 lb load). This option would save a bunch of money. Like $700 cheaper than if he takes you in the Beaver and picks you up in the Beaver. Very little inconvenience for $700 price difference. His contact info is below. Nice guy and very helpful.

    http://www.bayair-alaska.com/
    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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    Default commercial operator

    I can't speak to the logistics of floating the Goodnews however there was an earlier post that said there isn't any commercial carriers into the Village of Goodnews Bay.

    I travelled there for work on numerous occasions and Grant Aviation flies in and out of the village. They do that route however through Bethel... so that would complicate things I imagine.... just wanted to chime in that Grant flys the village.

    Good luck on your float

    Greg

  17. #17

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    I have gone to the Goodnews and Kanektok, in either case, you have to decide where you will fly out from (Dillingham or Bethel). Dillingham will have more services in town if you need to get any provisions - better to bring most - but there are few more stores there; Bethel will have hardly anything, not even a stove lighter, and what they do have will be extremely expensive. Even tap water is limited in Bethel (provided by truck delivery to individual homes and businesses, no sewers).

    The weather issues are also different between locations (hopefully you won't have any, but here they are). The place where the bushplanes take off in Bethel can get fogged in and you can be held up there. However, once you get in the air, some of the flight is over tundra. In Dillingham, the planes take off from the airport - no problem there - but they sometimes have to fly very low under the cloud ceiling winding tightly between mountain passes and valleys. I personally prefer Bethel. Also, I am not a big "price shopper"; a couple bucks - or even some hundreds - either way is not a big deal/decision maker in the scheme of such trips - convenience, reliability of service and equipment, and reputation are more important, at least to me.

    As far as bush operations, I took freshwater adventures under the former owners (same planes - a goose and an otter), which at that time had a different pricing structure (they sold different maximum loads at a fixed price, sometimes combining them in the same plane) which is unusual in Alaska but made it more econommical if you had a small load. The new owners only sell plane loads, which is the more common way things are done in Alaska. I have nothing but good things to say about my experience with freshwater adventures, 10 years ago; which have gear (rafts, stove, fuel - including bulk propane) available.

    I took papabear adventures to the Kanektok; this is more a full service operator - they have a lodge for customers, and provide shuttle service to/from airport or stores, and have gear as well (everything is for rent, nothing included with raft). Everything worked out fine. They have a per person pay structure with a minimum of 2 and maximum of 3; they have several planes and do a whole bunch of business. They aren't the cheapest, nor is their equipment brand new, but it all works.

    The other operator out of Bethel I have heard good things about is tikchik adventures (not the same as airventures). FWIW, his ("wade" is his name) prices when I last checked were somewhat lower than PapaBear, his rafts are newer and slimmer - included a cooler free, and had various - smaller bulk and payload planes - Maule's and supercub - if I recall correctly. His testimonials include pristine venture's Larry Bartlett, who does not heap praise on anyone unless it is deserved.

  18. #18

    Default Bethel alternative

    Give Steve Powers a call at Papa Bear Adventures. Maybe he can offer a reasonable alternative.

  19. #19
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    For the Goodnews, I suggest Rick Grant at Tikchik Airventures. I got an email back from him the other day and it was by far cheaper than some of the opportunist I spoke with recently. I flew to the Goodnews with him in 2007 and he did a great job. They rent rafts for good prices too.
    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.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by happytobeinAK View Post
    Give Steve Powers a call at Papa Bear Adventures. Maybe he can offer a reasonable alternative.
    I was very much satisfied with papa bear (my prior comment "not the cheapest" did not mean expensive; they're rates are not that much different than anyone else); who you choose depends on your group size, plane needs and separately but significantly - the availability of the bushpilot on particular dates and times; alot of the booking occurs by February for the summer.

    One last comment on the "short float" idea on the Kanektok; I wouldn't do it....it may be less expensive....but there's too many darn jetboats below the fish weir for me.....and too many guided operations below it. I mean it's still nice and there's decent fishing and all but if I was to go all the way up there I would float the whole thing. Best fishing for me, was on the upper half from above Klak Ck to above the weir.

    I'm not quite sure about scheduled/commercial "essential air services" (subsidized by your taxes) that are available in either Goodnews Bay or Quinhagak; I wouldn't be at all surprised if there is something like that....with all the gear and logistics - though - for me it's a no-brainer to use the bushplanes.
    Last edited by stevesch; 01-09-2009 at 12:13. Reason: correction

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