Madan Bay To Wrangell

At my usual sunrise (4am) trip to the head, there were light showers. By the time we awoke for real at 7:30am, the rain had stopped with a low cloud deck hugging the mountains at about 1000 feet. I love to watch the clouds play among the pine trees as they make their way carried by the soft winds of morning.

We have observed so far on this trip that the amount of critters is noticeably less than in the Broughton Archipelago, the Gulf Islands or the San Juan Islands. We see the occasional Bald Eagle or a sea gull or two. We hear the passing raven and spot an occasional Murrelet and a few other small water birds. It will be interesting to see if this holds true for the entire trip or is just a function of where we are. Remember this area is considered a temperate rain forest. That may well account for the limited populations.

Madan Bay was a very peaceful anchorage. The wind lay down as sunset approached and we enjoyed a quiet night. The holding is good in silky mud with small shells in 40-50 feet of water. The land drops quickly into the water so you’ll anchor within 150 feet of shore without problem. We found no hidden obstruction in our little portion of the bay. Probably a good thing, as the charts for the bay have no depth soundings!

The trip to Wrangell was uneventful.  Karen drove most of the way. We did a little sightseeing as we approached Wrangell. A few homesteads along Eastern Passage provided some diversion. It’s always fun to scope out the locals with the binoculars. At the head of Eastern Passage you see the Wrangell airport. At the north end, they removed half a mountain to make room for the runway. We spotted two airplanes taking off. It was different to see aircraft with wheels rather than floats.

Wrangell is a busy harbor. When we arrived, the docks were mostly full with commercial vehicles and a spattering of pleasure craft. We found a spot at the south end of the Reliance docks. They offer full services with water and electricity. However, these are the only docks we’ve ever visited that had individual meters for the electricity. Our location was perfect to see all the traffic in and out of the harbor, and also for Eagle Watching. There are many to watch in the harbor.

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The Grid in Wrangell. It's a hard working port.

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The aluminum work in Wrangell is a work of art


Even the small aluminum constructions area work of art. I think I'll have my tender built here.

The harbor master, LaDonna, is a highlight of Wrangell. She’s friendly and knows everything there is to know about Wrangell and what to do.

The provisioning is very good here. Bob’s IGA is OK but we did best at City Market. They also deliver to the boat. One thing we have noticed is that everyone is very friendly. Sometimes the people in remote locations can be a bit standoff-ish. That is certainly not the case in Wrangell.

We walked around the town for a while. It has a nice main street flanked with some stores and several bars. 



One of many murals in Wrangell

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Everyone in Alaska wears Extra-tuf's. They are referred to as Alaskan Sneakers.

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No Karen, that is Not Johnny Depp

We walked out to Shakes Island to see Chief Shakes Tribal House and the totems.

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Chief Shakes house

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Check out the size of the door into Chief Shake's House.

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Check out the size of the totems on Chief Shakes Island

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The Reliance Docks at Wrangell as seen from Chief's Shake's House

We also saw a house burning down off the inner harbor slips…apparently, it was a planned burn, but it certainly got our attention.

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That got our attention before we found out it was a planned burn

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Make certain to visit the Museum. It also has a great book store inside with lots of Alaskan material.

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Karen wants the boat that goes with a prop this big

If you do find yourself in Wrangell, be certain to look up Alaska Charters and Adventures. ( They offer exploration trips to see glaciers, or up the Stikine River and fishing trips for Salmon and Halibut.  John Yeager and his wife Brenda Schwartz (the watercolorist famous for local scenes done on marine charts) will certainly take good care of you.

Walking the docks is always a great way to meet people. We met Uncle Roy, Petunia and Gloria aboard the Coastal Messenger, a missionary ship that is based in Chemainus, BC. This mission is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary…the area they serve runs from Olympia, WA up into SE Alaska. The stories they have about their experiences ministering to the logging and remote communities are fascinating. They know all the folks in the Broughtons that we’ve gotten to know, as well as many, many more. We also got a tour of the steel boat, which was designed by Uncle Roy and was really well thought out. You can find out more about their mission and

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The crew of the Coastal Messenger: Uncle Roy, and Petunia

We also saw the Krogen out of Comox enter the harbor. This was the same boat we saw anchored in Santa Anna Inlet. The captain was singlehanding, so we went out to help him tie up. His name is Ken, and he is cruising for a while before meeting his wife in Juneau. He knows Don from Comox Valley Kayaks, where we normally rent kayaks for our trips to the Broughtons. Small world!!

Dinner was chicken fajita pizza and Alaskan Amber ale at the Hungry Beaver, a great local bar and pizza joint with some really good pizza.

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The Hungry Beaver, the best pizza in town

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Pizza is not cheap in Alaska

The highlight may have been the Hummer in the parking lot complete with antlers and some sort of drunken sailor on the hood with a boat’s wheel attached to the grill.

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Options you can only order for an Alaskan Hummer

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 He claimed he was the proud owner