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Thread: Elfin cove to homer?

  1. #1

    Default Elfin cove to homer?

    hi all, i was wondering if any of you boaters have done the trip past glacier bay(elfin cove) to homer and then up into the inlet?....seems like you are really out in no mans land for miles!?....is that stretch for the big boats,,,say, 50+ footers?....we plan in doing the inside passage up into the park, would be nice to keep going!..but, i really think it would be quite dangerous!..any thoughts?..thanks larry

    29' Wooldridge Pilot House, Twin 200 Hp Etecs! "...Pez Gordo..."
    18' Wooldridge Sport with 200 hp sport jet. "...Little Pez..."

  2. #2
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    bc, I've done that trip several times, once, even in January with a 35footer,()
    and then in June () with a 42 foot vessel. Several others in 50-58fters

    It is very doable, and well worth the scenery of the St Elias mtn range etc.
    There is a pretty major stop in Yakutat if you are hugging the coast, which seems like a lot longer versus cutting across but is probably the only way to do it. If you get eager and cut out into the Gulf to get there quicker you do get pretty far off shore and it is a potentially crazy weather area.

    Highly recommend you stay close to shore, read your Coast Pilot about currents and bays you might want to duck into, (can't remember the name of it but there is a tiny bay that is REALLY hard to get into if you don't know all about it. Huge landslide in there once that made history. Worth reading about as you "Cruise on by" but if you are in the know you could hide in there from trouble)

    Otherwise it can be done with preparation for a smaller vessel. In June, I cruised on the FLATTEST Sea I have ever known out there for a couple days from Sitka all the way to Cordova and then on to Seward. It was so flat I couldn't tell I wasn't in the Harbor.

    Then in January, you better have your act together, it can change "JUST LIKE THAT"

    You can do a lot in Easterly Weather, if it's trying to come out of the West, you better be patient and wait somewhere. There's a really good coffee shop in Sitka...
    "Highliner Coffee," I think it's called

    What time of year are you considering? What type of boat do you have,Diesel Power, Speed, etc. ??

    PS after the Homer end of your trip, "Skip the Inlet" there's nothing but mud up in there, go back into Prince William Sound for the most Exotic scenery and Boating you can imagine, It's like Paradise in there
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    "

    What time of year are you considering? What type of boat do you have,Diesel Power, Speed, etc. ??
    thanks kodiak,,,,well, this is a bit off, say 4-10 years when wife and I retire and a lots of miles on the new boat which is a 29 foot wooldridge pilot house, twin 200 etecs, that is now being built!...Too small??... .there would be no real time retraints,,,if the weather is lousy, then stay in port until the waves die down!!....plus, there is the thing called "experience" on the ocean. which i dont have and freely admit...if it is a bad idea, i would like to get it out off my mind now, becuase once the seed is planted in my brain, it is hard to get rid of it!!.i know you can get to alaska from BC canada in a row boat and a good captian, but would you really want too??......thanks larry

    29' Wooldridge Pilot House, Twin 200 Hp Etecs! "...Pez Gordo..."
    18' Wooldridge Sport with 200 hp sport jet. "...Little Pez..."

  4. #4
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Nope, I'm the wrong guy to listen to if you want to get that off your mind,

    YOU GOTTA DO IT, Really it's some super nice country along that coast AND if you don't continue on you will end up skipping PW Sound, Cordova, a really cool town, and the Kenai Fjords area, Stunning to be sure....... That is some of the VERY BEST Alaska has to offer.

    You could figure out a way to trailer from say Skagway/Haines over to Valdez, a bit safer, probably more expensive and not nearly so nerve wracking but I'd just go over those engines, tighten everything up a bit and scoot up that coast on a good forecast.

    With a boat like that you'll be able to cruise fast between shelter, it's really not that far for your speed, (you'll absolutely know your engines and maintenance by then right?) between the Inside at Elfin Cove up to Yakutat, then on to Cordova where you are essentially Inside again. I don't think that is too small of a boat for summer and patience leaving shelter. Really you will be able to get huge weather windows where they call for 15 or less knot winds for days in summer and would be easy to do with your boat and speed.

    You will get a bit nervous though as you look at the chart and realize how far out there you are even hugging the coast.
    You can do it tho in my opinion.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  5. #5

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    Highly recommend you stay close to shore, read your Coast Pilot about currents and bays you might want to duck into, (can't remember the name of it but there is a tiny bay that is REALLY hard to get into if you don't know all about it. Huge landslide in there once that made history. Worth reading about as you "Cruise on by" but if you are in the know you could hide in there from trouble)
    The bay you are refering to is Lituya Bay.

    Doug

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    HI Larry,
    I think is about 90 - 100 miles from cape spencer to yakutat. Just north of cape spencer there are a few bays and harbors that I have been to. Graves, Astrolabe & Palma to name a few. It is pretty quiet on the radio up that way,very beauitful though. I have not been in to Luituya but i here it can at times be tough to get into.
    I think if i were looking to explore I would try Sitka to Elfin on the outside as a primer , there are lots of spots to hold up if the weather is bad.

    Chuck

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Nope, I'm the wrong guy to listen to if you want to get that off your mind,

    You can do it tho in my opinion.

    thanks KT...i like your outlook on life..alsway positive!!..well, the seed has been watered....the mrs wants to see anchorage on day, what better way then drive up there--weather permitting, than in the boat!!......saltchucker!..how the heck are you?....yes, we plan on doing alot of playing up there in the panhandle in the next 4 years,,,,plan is to launch out of Pr. rupert, and learn the lay of the land(ocean).....expect a few emails!!....larry

    29' Wooldridge Pilot House, Twin 200 Hp Etecs! "...Pez Gordo..."
    18' Wooldridge Sport with 200 hp sport jet. "...Little Pez..."

  8. #8
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Larry,

    I encourage you to come up to the area. Specifically, Prince William Sound, Seward, and possible on to Homer. No need to go up the inlet farther than Homer though. As for the Gulf crossing, there are times when it is flat, and times when it is really bad. 30+ seas. When researching my trip, I know of some 30' boat that got caught in 20' seas in the middle of summer when watching the weather. Personally, my decision was to go as far as Elfin Cove and Pelican, and then go back to Juneau and put the boat (on a trailer) from Juneau to Whittier. I will say it first, I am a sissy, but my reasoning was that it was a long run, a lot of hours with not much to see, and things could really go wrong, whereas the Inside Passage is pretty darn safe.

    Another thing to figure out before you decide is how your boat will handle offshore conditions. I suggest trying this somewhere close to home when it is ugly before you try this crossing. When you compare the Wooldridge to a Osprey, GC or a Seawolf, they are lighter and sit quite a bit lower on the trailer (less freeboard). I am not sure how much of a reall difference this makes, but it is worth thinking about and investigating. On the other side of the fence, the twin motors and ability to plane on a single motor would be a huge plus on this trip.

    Although I have not done this trip, and Kodiakrain obviously has, I question his statement about staying close to shore. I have heard just the opposite, especially when you get up near where the Copper River dumps in. There is a shelf and a lot of water coming out here, and this can turn into a very confused sea area, and that you are better off being well offshore (20 miles) due to the way the water flows and the shelf is here. Others feel free to tell me I am wrong, but I had a freind that did this trip and that was one of his pieces of advice, to stay way out and the seas would be better.

    Jim
    2009 Seawolf 31'
    www.seawolfmarine.com
    Fully Loaded

  9. #9
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    yes, I agree wholeheartedly with jrojers on the stay close to shore thing. Watch out seriously for the river Delta areas, etc. the shallows.

    I meant close, as in not cutting across from Spencer to Cordova because you have a great weather forecast. We do that all the time in bigger boats and get caught by it often (tho we are built to take it) so I would Strongly Resist the temptation to "Cut Across" which puts you about fifty miles offshore for a while. not Worth It, your options to cut and run even in a fast boat are way too slim then.

    But if it's Flat out there, you will be tempted, believe me

    So I don't really have experience at closer than twenty miles up by the Copper River Delta, this caution he mentions sounds very real, shallows and big currents, be careful there for sure. Thanks, j for that clarification.

    It's just the Cut Across idea I was alluding to by Stay Close,
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  10. #10
    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    I had a 43' troller for 10 years in SE. Ran to Yakutat every late summer for silvers. It's a good run, and you need to have a good window of weather. It took me about 23 hours at knots or so. Coming back takes longer because the current is usually flowing North. I went in Lituya Bay often, as I fished the Fairweather grounds (incorrectly named by all acounts...) Lituya is not someting to mess with. You need to absolutly be sitting about 300 yards off and wait for it to calm... as soon as it flattens, put er in gear and go. Do not get outside of the line-up markers you can see from outside the bay. Keep them lined up! Rocks on both sides. Once inside, you will be in one of the most beautiful bays in Alaska. Use your line up markers going back out! It's quite an angle to get in. Not a straight shot, by any means. I have sat in Elfin Cove for days, and even over a week for a window to run.

    This trip is worth it. It is nearly impossible in a smaller boat (50' or less) from late September to May. July and August afford your best chance.

    We'll be looking for pictures once you make the trip! Mt. Fairweather goes from sea level to 15,300 right from the ocean.

    Good luck, and have fun!
    Claude
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

  11. #11

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    great info guys!....now the wife is pumped, also!!..for some reason she is not scared of my driving!!....when we get closer to the time i will fire some more questions to you guys, if i may??....well, crap,,off to work...larry

    29' Wooldridge Pilot House, Twin 200 Hp Etecs! "...Pez Gordo..."
    18' Wooldridge Sport with 200 hp sport jet. "...Little Pez..."

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    Member NeverLand's Avatar
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    Go for it. I had a 30' boat built in Burlington, Washington and wanted to run it up to Seward. I didn't have the time so I shipped it instead, that cost me $6400. If I buy another boat in Washington, I'll make the run. One of my slip neighbors in Seward made the run in a 44' sailboat. It took him 6 weeks.

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    Made the run from Seattle to Seward in a 32 foot boat. After you leave Elfin cove its a fairly long run to Yakatat in open ocean. My dad got sea sick for the first time since we left Seattle. After we got to Yakatat we called the weather guy until he said it was forcast 7' seas and it wasn't ever going to be better than that. It was July so we had a lot of daylight and left around 3 in the morning for Cordova. We made it okay but don't try going into Cordova the back way, what the locals call Strawberry flats. Go ahead and go around Hitchingbrook Island or bypass Cordova and go on to Seward.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcriverhunter View Post
    great info guys!....now the wife is pumped, also!!..for some reason she is not scared of my driving!!....when we get closer to the time i will fire some more questions to you guys, if i may??....well, crap,,off to work...larry
    BC, We're having a 30' North River/Almar Sounder being built and planning to drop her in the water in Seattle and head North around the first weak of May. My customer's final destination will be Valdez where the owner will moor the boat for the summer. Your more then welcome to tag along. I completed this trip in between July 11-18th 2003 with my 30' Almar Sounder pilot house. It's an amazing trip. We drove daylight hours only 12-14hrs per day and could have finished the trip in 5 days but we started messing around a little once we were out of Canadian water and could legally fish. The run from Elfin to Yak was rough, averaged only 19kts on some choppy seas and took about 9 hours if I remember correct arriving on Thursday. NWS was calling for seas to build to 8-10ft Saturday so we headed toward Cordova on Friday morning. The seas were flat calm with a slight swell. By the time we got near Cordova the swell was building to 5-6 but still no wind on top. We got some way points from a tender to navigate the Strawberry Channel and he warned us they would probably show us going over land on the chart since the channel changes...he was right. What a hairy feeling. The waves were breaking on each side of us going through the channel but we just rode them in over land on the chart and safely made it into cordova as the sun shined on the mount side behind the town. Still a vivid picture etched in my mind. Running the channel was the biggest pucker factor I suppose. There's definitely much more to my story. I completed a big write up that was posted in a european boat magazine that I could probably post or could send you a copy. It's a large file so probably couldn't post it on here.

    Best of Luck if you do decide to make the trip......it's definitely worth it. PS..Watch for logs in CA waters. They're everywhere! Their logging practices suck but maybe that's changed.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halibutgrove View Post
    BC, Still a vivid picture etched in my mind. Running the channel was the biggest pucker factor I suppose. There's definitely much more to my story. I completed a big write up that was posted in a european boat magazine that I could probably post or could send you a copy. It's a large file so probably couldn't post it on here.
    Hey HGrove, I really want to see that story you wrote on your trip, can you post a link to it, find it online somewhere?
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Hey HGrove, I really want to see that story you wrote on your trip, can you post a link to it, find it online somewhere?
    Ok here it is. I've deleted all of the pics. I couldn't figurer out how to get the whole doc linked on my website and after spending an hour I got frustrated and just deleted the pics to reduce the size. It is originally 18mb with pics. I did this story for my own record but as a curtsy to Steyr. I ran these engines in the boat initially. I've since switched to FNM marine diesel and get better performance and efficiency. Steyr lost me when they switched to a dealer in Oregeon. This is a long story I won't get into here. Sorry for any grammatical errors and for the lack of pics. I hope you enjoy it!
    Attached Files Attached Files

  17. #17

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    Halibutgrove,

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Doug

  18. #18

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    WOW!!! great story and thanks for sharing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Halibutgrove View Post
    Ok here it is. I've deleted all of the pics. I couldn't figurer out how to get the whole doc linked on my website and after spending an hour I got frustrated and just deleted the pics to reduce the size. It is originally 18mb with pics. I did this story for my own record but as a curtsy to Steyr. I ran these engines in the boat initially. I've since switched to FNM marine diesel and get better performance and efficiency. Steyr lost me when they switched to a dealer in Oregeon. This is a long story I won't get into here. Sorry for any grammatical errors and for the lack of pics. I hope you enjoy it!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.R. Bauer View Post
    WOW!!! great story and thanks for sharing it.
    Your all welcome. I hadn't read this since I wrote the story back then. Brought back some great memories and some good laughs. I hope it puts a smile on the face of whoever reads it.

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