Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#52 - Entrance Island to Petersburg

Today we are off to Petersburg, a clean and neatly laid-out town famous for it's Norwegian heritage. Because it lacks a deep water port, the large cruise ships don't call here, so the town has retained its friendly, unhurried character. Petersburg's economy depends on the fishing fleet and seafood processing plants, it being the largest fish processing center in Southeast Alaska.

Our route takes us south, around Cape Fanshaw, through Frederick Sound, down the east coast of Kupreanof Island, and finally, we turn into the narrow channel between Kupreanof and Mitkof Islands. This channel is misnamed Wrangell Narrows, in my opinion, as Petersburg is located at it's northern end, not Wrangell. The town of Wrangell is located on the northern end of Wrangell Island, at the end of Zimovia Strait. Oh well!

Our route to Petersburg

Just as we turn into Wrangell Narrows, a couple miles from Petersburg, a large hulk of a ship is coming at us. It's a huge square catamaran, moving fast, and we need to give it room to pass in the Narrows. It's the Cape Fairweather, the 35-knot fast Alaska Ferry ship.

The Cape Fairweather needs room to pass in the Narrows

This boat's lines look a bit too utilitarian, and somewhat anti-nautical, but it is FAST!

The Wild Blue crew this week has been gaming a bit. The six of us have enjoyed a strange dominoes game called Mexican Train. The game comes with a really strange set of dominoes, actually a double domino set, from double-zero to double-12. The dots on the domino are also strangely colored. And to top it off, the first several nights we played using someones strange “oh I remember” rules. Finally we read the rule sheet. Wow it's a different game when you play it per the written rule. Different and fun, and based on a tiny bit of skill, with a huge amount of luck. I'm not sure who won for the week.

In a heated game of Mexican Train. Undole amigo!

We have three nights here in Petersburg near the fish processing plants. You easily absorb the sounds and aromas this town: fish boats moving at all hours, the backup beepers of busy forklifts, noise of refrigeration motors, the smells of flushed fish tanks. It's a busy 24-7 fish town with nice people.

Fish processing continues round the clock in season.

After a week of “Mexican Train-ing”, we've come to enjoy Peterburg's La Fonda, a fine bar and Mexican restaurant. Beside great food, they have a great beer selection, and the fastest free wi-fi connection imaginable. The most creative Alaska Blog posts originated here at La Fonda.

The Fontes and Frenchs head back to California cowboy country on Thursday. It been fun with this group, although I'm not sure they ever want to see another glacier. We've viewed 20 plus glaciers this past 10 days, so much that a couple of the crew have given up ice cubes for good!

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