Whittier to Nellies Rest via Deep Bay

2014_06_16 Whittier to Deep Water Bay to Nellies Rest

This is our last day with the Mother Goose fleet before we go off on our own for 17 days.

We awoke to clouds, light rain and the sight of a big cruise ship tied up in Whittier. We waited with Patos went to take on fuel, then the “fleet of three” headed out.

Our overnight arrival

Leaving Whittier

We headed back out Passage Canal and saw a few porpoises along the way. We took Culross Passage as our most direct route to Port Nellie Juan and the destination for the evening, Deep Bay. Culross Passage was a good route, and seemingly quite protected from most weather. Deception and Patos toured a Goose Bay and Long Bay anchorages, while we just kept on going, hoping to find Telita.

We finally saw Telita’s AIS, she was anchored in Nellie’s Rest, a spot that Karen wanted to check out, so we headed directly for Telita. Her crew was out in the dinghy, so we just took a short tour of Nellie’s Rest and then went over to Deep Water Bay.

Mountains followed by more mountains followed by more mountains. That's the grandeur of Prince William Sound.

Deep Water Bay was just that. And it was quickly apparent that Deep Water Bay was not in a great position for the prevailing winds (which were only forecasted to increase).

There is a pretty sand beach at the head, but it was taken and not right for the winds anyway. It was hard to find another shallow spot to anchor, and with the fetch coming in from the east, we looked at three alternate spots on the eastern shore but to no avail. All were much too deep close to the shore. Even though they were marked 30 to 39 feet on the charts, we seldom saw less than 75. Further, even they afforded no protection from the fetch.

Eventually Deception got their anchor set, but Brian described the hold as marginal. They were still taking the full fetch of the bay, and so I suggested we all retreat to Nellie’s Rest for a four boat raft.

That seemed enough encouragement for Deception and she lifted all her ground tackle. After looking at Nellie’s Rest and a couple of other options, the Mother Goose crew decided to make good a course back to Long Bay in Culross Passage, an anchorage they had toured earlier. That direction was the inverse of where we planned to go for the rest of our trip, so we bid adieu to Deception, Patos and Telita and made our way to Nellie’s Rest.

Guarded by a straight and easy entrance, Nellie’s Rest is a circular hole, with good holding in 24 feet. Karen had read that the wind never makes into this bay. Indeed the wind dropped from 20 knots to 2 knots as we entered. There were some mild swells that made it through the entrance, but they were soft and gentle when compared to Deepwater Bay.

Already at anchor was the sailboat Ragdoll, with the bow picker Angel rafted alongside. After watching this raft for several hours, we figured that the fisherman used the sailboat as his basecamp.

We watched a few episodes of Homeland. As day changed into night, the wind picked up. Along with the wind came more fetch. We saw some gusts over 30, but when we went to bed about 9pm, it was mostly just a bit fetchy with no wind to speak of.

We later learned that the fleet faced winds over 50 knots in Long Bay, and at one point, Deception’s anchor chain broke under the load of her and Patos.

We liked Nellie’s Rest, though the weather was certainly not good for outdoor exploring. It would be fun to come back again and dinghy over to the Nellie Juan glacier area, or at least the moraine.