Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bits and pieces and miles

This week a number of little tasks were completed. The repair kit is all but done, I just need a few feet of fiberglass tape for the ultimate nightmare, a crack in my kayak. The kit contains a sleeping pad repair kit, silicone seal, devcon adhesive, a tent pole repair sleeve, the Whisperlite expedition repair kit and a multi tool.

The last of my dry bags have been ordered, I pulled the trigger and ordered a tapered bag for my stern which will hold all my clothes. As well as a new waterproof compression dry bag for my sleeping bag. And the first two 13 liter ration bags. The rest of the team will have to order their own ration bags.

Claudia from the NOLS Rocky Mountain Branch is sending me the first of the food, 8 pounds of the NOLS potato hash browns, and the plastic bags that will be used to pack the rest of the food.

I completed, printed and bound the topo maps of the route. They were printed on National Geographic Adventure paper which is waterproof and tear resistant. I am almost ready to print and bind another book, this on of charts of the route compiled from the NOAA booklet charts - which bring the majority of the route down to 8.5 x 11 size, and easy usability on the deck of a kayak. We will also bring along the charts on my office walls that were just about the first purchase made at the beginning of planning. They have been updated with marks for campsites.

Having the charts done I was able to run a piece of cord - marked with mileage - along the route. Doing so, I discovered two things. First, my preferred route has a stretch of around 40 miles that only have 'possible' campsites instead of solid knowledge. While this makes me a little nervous it is at its heart what adventure is about. The other thing is that I had done the math loosely on the route and found it around 375 miles. But by doing it with the cord it came up around 409 miles (though I just did a conversion to nautical miles and that is actually around 355). This is striking because an additional 30 miles is a fair bit of kayaking. It our daily average from 11 miles to 16. Of course I know full well that there wont be 'average' days. The distance we paddle will be dictated by weather, and conditions and the comfort of the team. But really we have 30 days to do this or we will all be late getting back to work. The plan calls for 25 days of kayaking, with 5 days for weather/rest days, which really isn't much.

Here is the schedule as it stands now:

Ketchikan to Pt. Higgins - 10

Pt. Higgins crossing to Caamano pt. - 11.5

Caamano to Niblack pt. - 7

Niblack pt. to Three islands - 11.5

Three islands to Emerald Bay (stopping in Meyers Chuck) -21

Emerald Bay to Change Island - 9

Change Island to Found Island - 12

Found island to Nemo pt. - 18

Nemo Pt to Wrangell - 13

Wrangell to Coney Island - 22

Coney island to Petersburg - 13.5

Petersburg to Dry bay - 19

Dry Bay to Cape Fanshaw - 22.5

Cape Fanshaw to Church Pt (?) - 28

Church Pt. to Mole Harbor (?) - 25.5

Mole Harbor to Windfall Island (?) - 19

Windfall island to Oliver Inlet (?) - 17

Oliver Inlet to Juneau Alaska - 21

Juneau Alaska to Auke Bay - 15

Auke Bay to Circle Island -16

Circle island to Point Bridget - 12

Pt. Bridget to Pt Sherman - 13

Pt. Sherman to Eldrid rock - 13

Eldrid Rock to Haines Alaska - 24

Haines Alaska to Skagway Alaska - 16

That's how I have it figured, 25 days, 409 miles. Will it play out that way? in terms of distance, it will, in terms of days or averages probably not. The key is just to continually be heading north. It will unfold however it unfolds. As a Buddhist I try hard not to worry about things I have no control over. But as a human, I can't always help it.


  1. Looks like a fun itinerary. You might want to keep in mind the option of paddling from Oliver's Inlet up the west side of Douglas Island (some great camping if you need it) and then into Auke Bay. Gastineau Channel gets really busy with cruise ships, other boats... and getting through the channel to Auke Bay is very tidal dependent - at low tides it can be impassable, even for kayaks. City bus runs from right near the small boat harbor to town. Kayak shop at the harbor might let you stash boats for a bit.

  2. First, I always need good camping info, it is surprisingly murky. Mainly we were planning on stopping in Juneau to resupply, but as I said, everything is flexible. good info on the tide for auke bay. thanks.

    do you live in the area?


  3. I do live in Juneau. I've been enjoying watching the process of planning and preparing for an adventure in my "backyard" with interest. I am semi-retired and planning to be out on my own adventures much of the summer so haven't chimed in to offer any Juneau housing as I don't know my schedule, depends on the weather and friends and ...

    I have a long-standing interest in developing some "water trail" routes and lurk on blogs like yours to see what information folks need.