We left Petersburg on June 16th, "racing" the Westward, a beautifully restored wooden 1920's era wooden cruiser as we bucked the tide out of Wrangell Narrows.

Once in the open waters of Frederick Sound we were soon left behind as the Westward made her graceful way north and we continued to the Sukoi Islands for our first night.

At Pt Vandeput we underestimated the size and strength of the tide rip as it raced over the shallow reefs and Kev got to surf some standing waves. A similar mistake was made by John Muir in 1879 when he browbeat for which he reportedly earned a stern rebuke from the Chief in whose canoe he was travelling.

 

We enjoyed calm seas as we rounded Cape Fanshaw, leaving Frederick Sound and entering Stephen's Passage. As we headed north we enjoyed the occasional humpback sighting and the abundance of sea lions, seals and birdlife.

We kayaked past some intriquing sea stacks and entered Sumdum Bay on June 19th. Endicott and Tracey Arms snake inland from Sumdum Bay.

Watching the amount of boat and cruise ship traffic entering and exiting Tracey Arm we decided to visit Endicott Arm - the Fiord less travelled.

Kim at Ketchkan had advised us to visit Ford's Terror, a smaller fiord braching off Endicott Arm. Guarded by a ferocious tidal rapid that can reach up to 15 knots on strong ebbs it was named after a Mr Ford in 1889.

After entering at slack he found the entrance to be impassable and full of whirlpools and grinding ice bergs when he went to exit. Obviously a traumatic experience, hence the name Ford's Terror.

When we arrived the ebb was running at 5-6 knots. After eating lunch we started to get chilled so decided to buck the tide even though no real change had occurred. After two attempts we managed to inch our way through the current and into Ford's Terror. Being cold was no longer an issue!

Inside Ford's Terror was amazing. Steep cliffs rose up out of the water and huge waterfalls thundered down the sides. We had entered on a gloomy day and the place had a dark brooding aspect. The next day was bright and sunny and presented a whole new aspect.

Approaching the rapids on our way out we encountered our first group of kayakers on the water. The guides kayaked over to talk to us and we got to meet Pat and Jenny who were running kayak tours for Pacific Catalyst Tours off the Westward, the ship we had been admiring at Petersburg. They encouraged us to invite ourselves aboard when we encountered it anchored outside the narrows.

Jenny turned out to be Jennifer Hahn, author of Spirited Waters, a book that we had both read as part of our preparation for ther trip. Incredibly friendly and enthusiatic about our goals, we were happy to meet her and later attended her book reading in Juneau.

Taking Pat and Jenny up on their offer we hailed the Westward and were invited aboard. John, the engineer, proudly gave us a tour of the boat, including the engine room. The 1924 Altas engine is the oldest commercially operating Atlas diesel in the world. we watched as John carefully oiled 118 different spots before starting up the engine; a task he has to repeat every two hours when the engine is operating.

While being shown around the Westward we were surprised to hear our names being called out. Looking out we saw Patrick, our friend from Juneau, sitting in a kayak below! He had also spent the previous day in Ford's Terror and had seen us leaving.

After relaxing onboard we set off with Patrick to Endicott Arm where he paddled off to the the head of the Arm and Endicott Glacier. We headed back to Stephen's Passage, in two days time we had to meet Kimberly who was taking the Alaskan Marine Highway to Juneau.

Two long days paddling had us pulling into Douglas Harbour across from Juneau on June 24th. The psychological half way point of our journey!.

After leaving Sumdum Bay on the first day we met Lars, Oddmund and Pernille, three Norwegian kayakers who would be joined by three more friends for a journey from Juneau to Ketchikan and beyond.

On the last day we had to give whale to a pair of humpbacks as we rode a squall across the mouth of Taku Inlet. With the wind blowing and the seas rising Riders of the Storm kept playing in our mind.

Five relaxing days were spent at Juneau and Medenhall Glacier. We managed to meet up with Patrick again, visited the Juneau's awesome museum and enjoyed hanging out at Silverbow Bagels and drinking coffee.

We also briefly run into Irish Mark and hear of his being stalked by a bear hiking near Juneau before he heads off on more Alaska adventures.

 
Fishing boat at Port Houghton,
   
       
     
Sea stack at entrance to Sumdum Bay
       
 
Waterfall in Ford's Terror
   
Westward anchored at Ford's Terror
At Medenhall Glacier
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