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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Circumnavigating Revillagigedo Island


Ketchikan is on Revillagigedo Island.  Can anyone tell me how to pronounce Revillagigedo?  It's no wonder that locally it's called Revilla Island.  We were ready to slow down now that we were in Alaska, so decided to circumnavigate Revilla Island, including spending some time in the Misty Fiords.

Revilla Island is surrounded by the Behm Canal, aptly named the East and West Behm Canals depending on which side of Revilla you are on.  The Misty Fiords, a National Monument and part of the Tongass National Forest, branch off the East Behm Canal.  So we headed that way to do a counter-clockwise circumnavigation.

June 21, 2015 Winstanley Island

Our first stop was Winstanley Island which is a convenient half way point to the first major fiord.  It provides a great anchorage with excellent holding and moderate depths.  Another nearby attraction is this 240’ pinnacle called New Eddystone Island, situated in the middle of water that is otherwise around 1000 ft deep.  It just goes to show how quickly ocean depths can change.

New Eddystone Island
New Eddystone Island
June 22, 2015 Rudyerd Bay (Misty Fiords)

The next day we explored Rudyerd Bay which is one of the largest fiords.  It includes a couple of branches, two of which form a “T” at the end.  We first explored the north branch which winds through a narrow passage about half way up, then opens again into a beautify cove.  We poked around a bit to see if we could find a reasonable place to anchor, but it was all too deep, then a sudden shallow bar.  So we moved on.

Approaching narrows up north fork of Rudyerd Bay

Next we ventured down the south fork where there was supposed to be good anchoring.  The whole area is a very popular float plane and tour boat destination from Ketchikan, presumably serving the cruise ship passengers.  Planes were buzzing overhead the whole time we were there, but quieted down at night.  We found a good place to anchor, and were treated to our first bear sighting.  Sorry, no pictures – it was too far away.

The next morning we continued on, including a loop through Punchbowl Cove, then back out to the East Behm Canal.

Rudyerd Bay waterfall
June 23, 2015 Walker Cove (Misty Fiords)

The next fiord north of Rudyerd Bay is Walker cove.  It’s much smaller than Rudyerd, and not nearly as popular a tour destination.  Our kind of place.  We first did a loop of the far reaches of the inlet, then settled into a cover to anchor for the night.  An the way in, another boat radioed us to say there was a sow with three cubs that had been there all morning.  We got anchored, and watched these bears eat and play for the next 24 hours.

Sow and three cubs

June 24, 2015 Fitzgibbon Cove

The next day we continued on to the northern tip of Revilla Island where the east and west parts of the Behm Canal meet, and anchored in Fitzgibbon Cove.  I’m not sure what else to say other than “yet another beautiful anchorage”.  After a while it gets kind of repetitive, but it’s the kind of repetition that I can deal with…

June 25, Port Stewart

Once on the west side of Revilla, there are no fiords so we moved along a little faster, transiting about half the distance back, stopping at Port Stewart.  Port Stewart consists of nothing, and is a windy narrow path in.  It looks like at one point part of it was used as a staging area for log booms.  But the inner cove is outstanding. 

Today also was our first really rainy day.  It wasn’t too bad during the morning, but after we got anchored it just poured and poured.   As we were winding our way into this cover, we spotted three kayaks hauled up on the shore of one of the islands, and a small tarp lean-to.  These guys has apparently hauled out to get out of the rain, and remained huddled there until the next morning.  I sure was glad to be in our warm, dry boat in such conditions.

One sad event happened while we were at anchor.  I heard a Pan-Pan over the radio for a float plane in the Misty Fiord that was over due.  A Pan-Pan is an alert about anybody in trouble, and to request other boaters to be on the lookout for them.  A short time later the Pan-Pan was cancelled, so I assumed the plane had turned up.  Unfortunately, we found out a couple of days later that it had turned up, but pasted to the side of a cliff.  8 or 9 people were killed, all from one of the cruise ships, plus the pilot of course.  Very sad.

Overnight, the rain cleared, and as we departed Port Stewart we saw that the kayakers had emerged from their huddle and were getting ready to depart as well.

This leg of the journey concluded our trip around Revilla Island, bringing us briefly in range of cell service as we passed a few miles from Ketchikan, then we were off to Meyers Chuck.

2 comments:

keyporttrawler said...

Peter,

I thoroughly enjoyed circumnavigating Rivilla Island and still wonder how to pronounce the full name. Rudyard Cove's North Fork is one of the most beautiful spots and we wished we could anchor also. We also enjoyed Yes Inlet Resort and especially Naha Bay where there is a small wharf and access to miles of board walk hiking trails.

Fritzrips said...

That overdue plane was Promech who crashed into a cliff, killing all nine aboard. Sad day.