Stedman Bay and Rocky Pass

Friday morning in Wooden Wheel Cove, Port Protection

We are anchored in Stedman Bay just North of Rocky Pass between Kuiu and Kupreanof Islands with a tiny trickle of cell service. We will fill in the past couple of days, especially a terrific visit to Point Baker, with photos, etc when we get better connectivity. For now, let me just describe our memorable day yesterday.

We had a late departure from Port Protection in order to transit the narrow, shallow and, yes, rock strewn, Rocky Pass on a rising tide. We spent a little while right off of West Rock at Point Baker, where we saw several groups of humpback whales feeding. It was really cool and provided lots of photo opportunities for Gwen. Sumner Strait gets shallow right off Point Baker, and significant tide rips form, making this a preferred feeding spot for the whales.

It turns out that it also makes it a choppy and sloppy piece of water to cross, particularly when afternoon winds build to 25-30 knots. What happened to the 10 knots and 2ft seas forecasted? I don’t know, but we had an interesting ride across white-capped seas that were at least 6 feet on the quarter and the beam.

The seas calmed considerably but the wind remained high as we entered Rocky Pass. The navigable channel is very well marked, but it is shallow, and there is a lot of current to contend with in addition to the wind. The biggest challenge was at Devils elbow, which involves making a 90 degree turn in a very rocky area with several knots of current running through it. We found ourselves traveling sideways through the tightest spot in order to stay within the narrow channel. The rest was uneventful. We never saw depths of less than 13 feet, and never came too close to the namesake rocks. It’s just a challenge to maintain precision piloting for the 3 hours or so that it takes to get through.

We anchored at Stedman Bay, just North of the Pass. We were going to raft with Sanwan but it was just too windy to do anything but hunker down, have a celebratory drink, a good dinner and a good nights sleep.

Today we are off to Pybus Bay on Admiralty Island.

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