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Thread: Yakutat to Cordova or Whittier

  1. #1
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Question Yakutat to Cordova or Whittier

    How far is it from Yakutat to Cordova using the main PWS entrance?

    I see the Alaska Ferry takes 10 hours, but they move at a pretty good clip.

    Has anyone made this trip?

    I was flying from Anchorage to Seattle and it was a rarely clear day. Man it looks like a long way. The pinnacle at the end of Kayak Island was very visible from 30,000 feet!

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    A friend made the trip last summer. He was helping a friend bring a nordic tug up from Junea. He spent 3 weeks in Yakutat due to the weather.

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    Member wildwill's Avatar
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    Default Wavey BTW them--FOR SURE

    When I moved to Alaska, I took the fairy from Bellingham to Whittier. Had stops in Juneau, Ketch, and Yakutat prior to reaching Whittier. The bumpiest spot was between Whittier and Yakutat. Granted it was in January, but we got in seas said to be 37'. I did not take measurement, but all I know is they were the biggest I had seen in person and was very happy they had chained my truck down so tightly. I was one of the few folks not green behind the gills. I will say it made my time in the bar less enjoyable as I couldn't put my beer down and our dominos game we had going went to hell in a hurry.

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    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildwill View Post
    When I moved to Alaska, I took the fairy from Bellingham to Whittier. Had stops in Juneau, Ketch, and Yakutat prior to reaching Whittier. The bumpiest spot was between Whittier and Yakutat. Granted it was in January, but we got in seas said to be 37'. I did not take measurement, but all I know is they were the biggest I had seen in person and was very happy they had chained my truck down so tightly. I was one of the few folks not green behind the gills. I will say it made my time in the bar less enjoyable as I couldn't put my beer down and our dominos game we had going went to hell in a hurry.

    Will
    Hey Will,

    That sucks. I would be making the crossing in the summer. I have heard stories of skiffs making the trip from Cordova to Yakutat and some crossings with good seas.

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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    AKBasking,

    In 2009 I was thinking about it, and ended up using the ferry to get from Juneau to Whittier on the trailer. I did this based on some of the stories I heard. The area up where the Copper River dumps in can get rough, and I know several people that hit 14+ ft confused seas in this area. The general advice was you should be pretty far offshore in this area. Before we went to Juneau I went out the the Yakobi Island (Pelican / Elfin Cover area) fishing and the Gulf was just flat calm, so could easily have made the run, but I already had a freey scheduled and that did not seem to be a good impulse thing to do. You would have to be pretty nuts to do this in a skiff, but from Juneau to Seattle is pretty much a peice of cake, and I can see how people do it in kayaks if they have enough time.
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    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    I brought a boat up from Seattle in My of 02, a 36' troller, single lehman motor, 8 kt cruse. I'd have to dig out the log and check, but it took about 2.5 days from Elfin to the PWS opening I think. We went towards Yakatat and since the weather had calmed down, turned towards PWS and continuted. It was pretty rough outside of Elfin cove and that night, we started the passage in the evening, but calmed down the next day and was a very calm crossing. The next year (May again)in another boat, a 41' twin, about 9 kt cruse, we set the gps and went directly across to the mouth of PWS, again the seas tossed us in all directions soon after leaving Elfin cove, but calmed down to a very plesant and slightly faster crossing. Never did get to see Yakatat. Bud

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    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Was on the plane flying to Juneau one year and the gentlemen next to me was flying into YAK to pick up a boat he bought and bring up to Valdez. He said he had made the trip once before, he planned to overnight the first night in Icy Bay but said he has had to wait out the weather before.

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    Member fullbush's Avatar
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    I've done it more times than I can count. You don't have to go all the way around Kayak Island, you can come in through Lemesurier. Ok then here we go, from Cape Suckling head toward the north end of Kayak Island once you start getting close stay close to the beach on the mainland side and pop in between Lemesurier Pt and Okalee spit. Ok now you're inside, follow the channel towards Wingham Island. Stop at the North western tip and throw your anchor, its about 70 feet at the deepest spot. drop a halibut line and check the weather. You'll have your limit in no time so if the weather looks good, point your bow towards the south tip of the Martin Islands, you'll be running outside of the Controller Bay Bering River area, its pretty shallow so the swell will seem big.Once you make it to the Martins, set a course for Strawberry Bar on Hinchinbrook, this is the Western most entrance to the Copper River Delta and a tremendous shortcut to Cordova and PWS. You'll save a lot of time going through Strawberry Bar vs going through Hinchinbrook entrance. Time it so its about 2 hours before high water on the flood, from Strawberry Can (buoy in the ocean) head straight for Strawberry Light. You can watch the surf and see where the water is. 125 ft crabbers cross that bar so theres plenty of water. Once you've made it inside the bar, follow the red and green navigation sticks to Cordova.


    Hey I didn't notice if you said how fast your boat was? Because when you leave Wingham Island, you'll want to time it so its almost high water when you get to Strawberry... Controller Bay/Bering River has been where I've gillnetted silvers for going on 30 years, I've spent literally 10's of 1000's of hours messing around that country...Promise me you're not going to introduce dipnetting to the Bering or open a guide business or I want all this info back!

    <edit> My buddy ripped down to Controller from w/ his 16' wooldridge and 200 yamaha, I towed it back w/ a moose in it in 35 foot seas, when we got to Egg Island bar it was dark but when I was going in the bar the woolriidge pasted me 3 times and I had a 300 foot tow line lol, it was what we call the pucker factor on the Copper..standard

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    Member fullbush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fullbush View Post
    I've done it more times than I can count. You don't have to go all the way around Kayak Island, you can come in through Lemesurier. Ok then here we go, from Cape Suckling head toward the north end of Kayak Island once you start getting close stay close to the beach on the mainland side and pop in between Lemesurier Pt and Okalee spit. Ok now you're inside, follow the channel towards Wingham Island. Stop at the North western tip and throw your anchor, its about 70 feet at the deepest spot. drop a halibut line and check the weather. You'll have your limit in no time so if the weather looks good, point your bow towards the south tip of the Martin Islands, you'll be running outside of the Controller Bay Bering River area, its pretty shallow so the swell will seem big.Once you make it to the Martins, set a course for Strawberry Bar on Hinchinbrook, this is the Western most entrance to the Copper River Delta and a tremendous shortcut to Cordova and PWS. You'll save a lot of time going through Strawberry Bar vs going through Hinchinbrook entrance. Time it so its about 2 hours before high water on the flood, from Strawberry Can (buoy in the ocean) head straight for Strawberry Light. You can watch the surf and see where the water is. 125 ft crabbers cross that bar so theres plenty of water. Once you've made it inside the bar, follow the red and green navigation sticks to Cordova.


    Hey I didn't notice if you said how fast your boat was? Because when you leave Wingham Island, you'll want to time it so its almost high water when you get to Strawberry... Controller Bay/Bering River has been where I've gillnetted silvers for going on 30 years, I've spent literally 10's of 1000's of hours messing around that country...Promise me you're not going to introduce dipnetting to the Bering or open a guide business or I want all this info back!

    <edit> My buddy ripped down to Controller from cordova w/ his 16' wooldridge and 200 yamaha, I towed it back w/ a moose in it in 35 foot seas, when we got to Egg Island bar it was dark but when I was going in the bar the woolriidge passed me 3 times and I had a 300 foot tow line lol, it was what we call the pucker factor on the Copper..standard
    I forgot to mention I only had a 26' bowpicker w/ a 460 ford w/ a 1031 hamilton jet lol. We crossed the bar in the dark using radar. It was easy to see the opening on the radar screen because the breakers looked like friggn mountains, You don't want to come in Egg Is, It is 1 bar to the east of Strawberry, once you get inside from there its really tricky and you need local knowledge...anyway sort of long winded but i can't sleep
    Last edited by fullbush; 03-22-2011 at 06:49. Reason: I missed the edit time so I had to quote my post and change it that way...I spelled passed "pasted" like a fooking idiot

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBassking View Post
    How far is it from Yakutat to Cordova using the main PWS entrance?

    I see the Alaska Ferry takes 10 hours, but they move at a pretty good clip.

    Has anyone made this trip?

    I was flying from Anchorage to Seattle and it was a rarely clear day. Man it looks like a long way. The pinnacle at the end of Kayak Island was very visible from 30,000 feet!
    I made this trip on July 17th 2003 with my 30ft Almar. Don't remember the distance but I think it took 12 hours from Yakutat to Cordova. Sea's were great but beginning to swell as we approached Cordova. Gillnetters were everywhere so we had to play dodge ball. A tender gave us coordinates for traversing Strawberry. They took us over land according to the gps plotter which he warned would. Waves were breaking as we rode them in. It's was definitely the hairiest part of the trip. Planning to bring a 32' Almar/Northriver Seahawk up in May with a client from Seattle to Valdez. Hopefully the wx cooperates. We made it in my Almar to Cordova on about 100gals of the 150gal tank. This new Sewhawk will have a 200 gallon tank so we may skip Cordova and just go through Hinchenbrook entrance.

  11. #11
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halibutgrove View Post
    I made this trip on July 17th 2003 with my 30ft Almar. Don't remember the distance but I think it took 12 hours from Yakutat to Cordova. Sea's were great but beginning to swell as we approached Cordova. Gillnetters were everywhere so we had to play dodge ball. A tender gave us coordinates for traversing Strawberry. They took us over land according to the gps plotter which he warned would. Waves were breaking as we rode them in. It's was definitely the hairiest part of the trip. Planning to bring a 32' Almar/Northriver Seahawk up in May with a client from Seattle to Valdez. Hopefully the wx cooperates. We made it in my Almar to Cordova on about 100gals of the 150gal tank. This new Sewhawk will have a 200 gallon tank so we may skip Cordova and just go through Hinchenbrook entrance.
    Thanks all. The Strawberry entrance does concern me. reminds me of the mouth of the Columbia River/bar. If you make the wrong move you can go hard aground. But then again, fuel consumtion may give me little choice.

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    Strawberry ain't no place to be messing around in, i hated it every time i went through it. First its shallow, then its deep, then its real shallow. My buddy was following me in and i went through fine next thing i know he's calling on the radio "I'm Stuck" with breakers slapping the side of the boat, good thing it was a fairly calm day or it could have turned into a nightmare. If you got the fuel go the long way. One other thing fullbrush knows his way around that country well but remember he's in a jet rig.

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    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by potbuilder View Post
    Strawberry ain't no place to be messing around in, i hated it every time i went through it. First its shallow, then its deep, then its real shallow. My buddy was following me in and i went through fine next thing i know he's calling on the radio "I'm Stuck" with breakers slapping the side of the boat, good thing it was a fairly calm day or it could have turned into a nightmare. If you got the fuel go the long way. One other thing fullbrush knows his way around that country well but remember he's in a jet rig.
    Thanks Steve. I will not be in my jet. It will be a 30' Sea Ray Sedan Bridge with V-drives. Long way it is...just have to plan for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBassking View Post
    Thanks Steve. I will not be in my jet. It will be a 30' Sea Ray Sedan Bridge with V-drives. Long way it is...just have to plan for it.
    When do you plan to make the trip?

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    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halibutgrove View Post
    When do you plan to make the trip?
    I am still a few years off, but I do plan to cruise the Inside Passage a few time. Doing my time in SW Washington until I retire. Planning stage right now. Lots of boat mods yet to do, such as Flowscan so I can get an accurate reading on milage and fuel burn.

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