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Thread: PWS Weather Reports

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Default PWS Weather Reports

    Weekend PWS plans for Shrimping and "Bear-ing" are on hold due to this weather. Curious to your experiences on the passage canal and PWS weather reports. Most of my PWS experience is around the NE corner of Knight Island. Again speaking from my experience, the water out there is pretty well what the forecast says. My question is the area around Ester and Eaglek ~ is the Passage Canal forecast usually more relevant or should one think of the PWS when in that area?

    Obviously things can change in a hurry and you need to be prepared for the worst and blah, blah blah. Just curious on your thoughts.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I'd look at the general PWS forecast when considering Esther Island. You have to cross Port Wells to get there, and that weather is more similar to the rest of the Sound than Passage Canal itself.

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    Default What Brian said

    is dead on. For anything past Pigot Point, I pay attention to the PWS forecast.

    The forecast doesn't look good for Friday but but its only Tuesday. I'll start paying more attention when the Wednesday afternoon forecast is posted.

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    Member Larsenvega's Avatar
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    I second what Brian said. Port Wells is generally just as bad as the worst forecasted seas for PWS. It is actually one of the few places that I have encountered confused seas while out and about in the sound.

    Plan for the worst, and you may be pleasantly surprised if it turns out better. Don't try it the otherway around, or you may wish you hadn't. I had to learn this one the hard way while navigating 8 ft following seas in early November one year, and I'm sure there are plenty of other guys here (and a few that unfortunately aren't) that could attest the same.

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Default Port wells

    I certainly agree that port wells can be a nasty piece of business. Reminds of southeast where icy straits meets chatam - about an hour of toliet bowl.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larsenvega View Post
    It is actually one of the few places that I have encountered confused seas while out and about in the sound.
    Indeed. I got myself into an uncomfortable situation out there on the night before my first anniversary. There was only a slight breeze and mostly calm seas when we came out of Passage Canal on our way to Culross Passage. By the time we were halfway across Port Wells we had four foot seas and 30kt winds coming from the left. As we neared Culross the seas were at least 6', and to make matters more fun, the waves were coming from two directions - out of Port Wells and from the area between Perry and Esther Island. We only cruise at 8kts, but due to the confused seas we had to slow it down to 4kts or so. In the midst of that our boom came untied and started smashing around on deck, rocking back and forth and running into each side of the boat with a huge "boom" every five or six seconds. I told my wife to take the wheel so I could get out there and secure the boom. She was scared and told me that she couldn't, but I yelled that she didn't have a choice. As I ran out the door to secure things, the boom smashed into a light 15' up and showered broken glass down on me. After the shock of that, I was able to get things secure and we eased our way into Culross, though it took us more than twice as long as usual since we had to make a quarter turn between every wave to keep things upright.

    No fun, but it was a good lesson as to how quickly things can change out there. The only real bummer is that the night of my first anniversary was a little less romantic than it might have otherwise been.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I agree that Wells is often the worst water you'll see on a trip, and whatever the forecast is for the Sound at large, figure the same for wells with confused seas.

    I've even had times where we were in 4ft confused sees in Wells, and it was completely laid down in the sound once we passed Culross Island and it was darn near like glass fishing around Smith Island.

    Which comes back to my thoughts that if you boat isn't up to 4-6' seas, you should give strong consideration to not heading out into the sound even on days that have a forecast for mild conditions.

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskapiranha View Post

    I've got an app on my iphone called buoydata that give me all this data. Now if only I got coverage out in PWS it would be useful
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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlingitwarrior View Post
    I've got an app on my iphone called buoydata that give me all this data. Now if only I got coverage out in PWS it would be useful

    Agree..... Pigot point is the last place I can use the app.
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    is it all the glaciers in college fjord/barry arm that make port wells so black nasty @ times?

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    Fetch I would imagine.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jisler View Post
    is it all the glaciers in college fjord/barry arm that make port wells so black nasty @ times?
    There are multiple factors. When there is a pressure differential across the Chugach range, the low spot in the range is pretty much at the head of passage canal, so that leads to winds out of the E or W running through wells passage, as well as offshore winds from the gulf. Then you have tide changes that can stack up against the wind. Then on top of that, or rather from the North you have the long fetch of Port Wells that doesn't require much breeze off the glaciers to clash into whatever waves are headed east or west and result in confused seas.

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