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Thread: Living on Latouche Island

  1. #1
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    Default Living on Latouche Island

    I'm looking at buying a piece of land on Latouche Island.

    I'm looking at two different options:
    1) Living year round
    2) Living 6-9mos and wintering down south

    I have several questions and really need a local resource to help me get off to the right start. Is there anyone that would be willing to be a source of information.

    1) Water - What is the water situation like on the island in the area of the old townsite / subdivision? Can you do a sand point well or is everything pulled out of a nearby creek/river?

    2) Firewood... I originally wanted to build a cabin, but I heard you had to get a permit from the village mgmt organization to cut trees on the island. Is this true? Is there any area near the old townsite where you can cut firewood or logs for a cabin legally?

    3) Boat - I was just going to get a small boat (16ft) to get back and forth to Chenega Bay Village to get mail and any supplies I ordered in. Is this feasible or is the passage between Latouche Island and Chenga Bay a deathtrap for small boats?

    4) Hunting - How is the hunting on Latouche Island? Is there enough game there to supply most of the meat needed for survival? Obviously I would be eating fish and bringing in supplies as well, but I heard the deer were pretty good on the island. Is this true?

    5) Supplies - My understanding is that there is little or no source of supplies in Chenga Bay. Is this true? No stores for food or basic supplies?

    6) Cell / Internet - Any options other than satellite?

    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    Member Alaskanmutt's Avatar
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    Default Latouche

    The island is mostly owned by the Native Corp with a small section owned by the BLM. YOu would need permits from either one to log the lands for house logs or firewood.

    A 16 foot boat would work if it is perfectly calm.
    It isn't usually calm. It has been small craft advisories ans warnings for months. In this case a 16 foot boat would be agood way to commit suicide

    Hunting would also require a permit from the Native Corp as it is considered private land. (with the exception of the small BLM owned areas. THere is hunting on the local isoands (Knight, Motague etc.) they are owned by the government.

    I have not been able to get my cell to work below roughly Main Bay. You might find a satellite service that would work, but powering it would be another story.

    Tons of fishing (halibut, salmon, lingcod, rockcod, pacific cod shrimp) during the seasons.

    I have not been there but I was also told that Chenega Bay has limited supplies (although they do have gas, hand carried to the boat in 5 gallon cans)

    This is the forecast for just south of the area you are looking at.
    .TONIGHT...NW WIND 15 KT. SEAS 5 FT.
    .SAT...VARIABLE WIND 10 KT. SEAS 5 FT.
    .SAT NIGHT...E WIND 15 KT INCREASING TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS
    6 FT.
    .SUN...E WIND INCREASING TO 45 KT. SEAS BUILDING TO 17 FT.
    .SUN NIGHT...E WIND 45 KT. SEAS 20 FT.
    .MON...E WIND 40 KT. SEAS 18 FT.
    .TUE...E WIND 20 KT. SEAS 11 FT.
    .WED...S WIND 20 KT. SEAS 5 FT.
    2000 Bayliner Ciera Express 2452
    5.0 Mercruiser Alpha 1

  3. #3

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    a 16 foot lund is plenty on most days for that passage as it is protected and a short run to the village. the land there is muskeg over hard rock, I don't think a sand point would work. it is a nice spot with good fishing.

  4. #4
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Default

    Do some research on who owns land thier already. There are a few families with cabins that come and go frequently. There is a runway that is heavily used by those who own property there.
    A small boat would work often as Chenaga is not that far and fairly protected, but something larger would be more suitable.
    Nothing to speak of in the town itself, no services or supplies that is.
    The ferry comes in on a regular schedule though.
    Hunting there is so-so, fishing is great as it is on the edge of the gulf.
    BK

  5. #5
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I think you'll find that you'll need to get your supplies from either Seward, or have them forwarded to Whitter and then pick them up. Running that far to get supplies will require something much more than a 16' skiff.

    I think the best way to sum up living in the sound is it would be neat, but it will be expensive and logistically challenging. I've debated getting land out there to build a cabin, but when I factor in the time and expense to haul out building supplies, the size of boat required etc. it just isn't practical. Don't underestimate the expenses and logistical challenges, you're looking at ~70 miles to port in waters that a large portion of the year will have small craft advisories.

  6. #6
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    The idea is to build a VERY small, but well insulated cabin/shack. I'm thinking of buying all of my supplies in Anchorage and then transporting them myself to Whittier. From Whittier I've found a boat that is large enough to haul all of my goods to Latouche in one trip.

    Once on Latouche I plan on making VERY FEW trips to civilization if at all possible. As long as I can get fuel and check my mail at the post office in Chenega Bay village I'm thinking I'll be ok. I'm only going to cross to Chenega Bay when the weather is good. (I don't want to die just yet)

    The plan is to bring in staple supplies (flour, beans, spam, sugar, etc...) once or twice a year, or more often if I can have them delivered to Chenega Bay, and then live off deer, fish, waterfowl, berries and whatever else I can get off of the land. I was also hoping to grow some vegetables during the summer. I know getting high enough fat from animals in the winter can be tough so I plan on supplementing my diet with food I bring in. I'm planning on canning food as well.

    I've been working on a supply list, but intend on living a very basic lifestyle similar to what Dick Proenneke (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Proenneke) did years ago. I am planning on bringing something for energy because I want to have a laptop for movies/tv shows.

    I wanted my primary heat source to be wood, but I'm concerned about being able to get firewood on the island. I'm going to do some sort of fuel based heat for backup in case the SHTF.

    The only other major purchases will be the boat and an ATV.

  7. #7
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    By the way...

    Thanks for taking the time to respond!

    I've made up my mind that I'm coming to Alaska. I like Latouche because of the salt water, remote location, proximity to a post office, no taxes, cheap price of land, and general location on PWS.

    I am concerned about the water source, firewood, and getting fuel in Chenega Bay.

  8. #8
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    A couple points, what Dick Proenneke did was during a different time, and he'd formed friendships that allowed him to do what he did, i.e. his buddy Spike who let him the use of the cabin and canoe while he built his cabin, a supply of all the wood he needed with nobody bothering him, and his bushpilot friend who stopped by quite offen with supplies and charged very little if not nothing for the relatively frequent visits. I just re-read his story last week, great read.

    It's my understanding that Chenega bay isn't a town in the sense you are thinking of that you'll be able to get supplies from.

    Just be aware that living off the land in AK is much more difficult than many folks assume, in some ways it's more difficult today than it was 50 or 100 years ago, in some ways easier. Whatever crops you'd plan to plant they need to be suitable for a rainforest and a short growing season.

    If you want a 16' boat, make it a rigid hulled inflatable aka a Naiad and power it with a 50 horse.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the wisdom Paul! Yeah I should have been a little more clear about living "similar to Dick Proenneke". I only meant the year round (or seasonal) remote and independent lifestyle. Basically I'm not building a huge house with modern conveniences and then expecting to shop at the local Safeway.

    My only expectations from Chenega Bay was fuel, post office, and the clinic in case I decide to accidentally amputate a body part.

    I'm planning on having a sat phone and radio for communications and tv/movies/books/wildlife for entertainment. (I have about 600 movies and countless seasons of various TV shows in digital format I can watch on my laptop) I'm still exploring my energy needs at this point, but am looking at gen sets, solar, and wind options.

    I'm ok with going months without seeing other people and honestly prefer it. However I do plan on trying to build some relationships once I get to the area in hopes that I can trade some surplus services/goods for needed services/goods.

    Also... I'm not a complete sourdough. I've lived in Alaska in the past and spent 6yrs on Kodiak Island. Although I've never made this much of a leap I have lived on my own for extended periods of time and am experienced in hunting and fishing Alaska style.

    Keep the info and advice on the Latouche area coming. Its a great help!

  10. #10

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    at one point i was looking at the Prince of Wales inland for retirement ..but i could not find a piece of land i really wanted ..i like the fact of the area is semi season with the four season there ..

  11. #11
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    Default Living on LaTouche

    Have you considered the possibility of the west side of Hawkins Island as an alternative spot to build and live on? I don't know what the ownership is or what permits might be required for taking wood, but it might be a suitable alternative. Cordova is a short distance away by boat but is not visible from the west side of the island. Cordova has grocery stores, hardware stores etc. The deer hunting on Hawkins is better than that on LaTouche.

    I lived in Cordova for 11 years and flew the sound mail run back then (70s and 80s along with many other Sound-related flying missions mostly to do with commercial fishing. The fishing is good in that neck of the woods.

    Depending on where you would be located, the trip to Cordova is probably a bit further than from LaTouche to Chenega. There are also some mainland locations in the same area that could be suitable as well. Cordova also has a hospital and doctors. Store bought food would be less expensive in Cordova. In Chenega you would be faced with added shipping costs. Communication by cell phone is very likely possible from many locations on Hawkins, but there are also very likely dead spots.

    Just a few thoughts.

  12. #12
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    Monguse... Thanks for the idea about Hawkins Island and the Cordova area. I'm definitely not 100% sold on LaTouche Island. I just like the PWS area and the remote location... Oh and the price!

    Ideally this is what I'm looking for:

    Less than 15k for land
    Close enough to beach to get a small boat there with an ATV
    No taxes (or VERY low taxes)
    Firewood
    Water
    Occasional access to a post office
    Hunting and fishing

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