Mark Bunzel’s Cruising ReportsWaggoner eNewsCrossing Dixon Entrance to Ketchikan, Alaska.

Crossing Dixon Entrance to Ketchikan, Alaska.

 Waggoner Guide Flotilla Day 19

Crossing Dixon Entrance to Ketchikan

Day 19 – Thursday

While everyone groaned about the 5 a.m. departure, I told them they would benefit from better weather conditions when crossing Dixon Entrance. The day before, I also told them the weather would be better for a crossing on Thursday rather than Wednesday. One of our boats, S/V Allusion, was looking for the wind to sail and left on Wednesday to cross and overnight at Foggy Bay. They would then join us as we passed by Foggy Bay.

As we crossed on Thursday, we were rewarded with flat calm or rippled seas. It was a great crossing in an area that can be treacherous. A lot of people credited the Flotilla Leader for the easy cruising weather, but it was really luck and good timing. I hope they had the same weather for their return southbound.

Ketchikan Customs and Border Protection

The Waggoner Guide has a good relationship with CBP over the last several years of bringing our flotilla groups in, and I worked in the background to coordinate a smooth entry through Ketchikan Customs and Border Protection. Before our arrival, we send them all of the information for each boat and then coordinate our arrival and clearance at the Petro Marine fuel dock. While we fuel up, the Customs agents come on board and match a passport to a face, and we are done. Welcome to Alaska! It is very pleasant, and the agents are friendly. Clearance is in minutes while refueling. The experience is very different when you enter through Roche Harbor or Friday Harbor.

This trip we had two Canadian registered boats on the flotilla. CBP had their information and only required $19 in US cash and a transit form. Then, they cleared too.

While many do not like the fact that you cannot make a reservation for Ketchikan’s city run marinas, it seems to work. Most of our group were given their requested moorage in Thomas Basin where they could be close to the downtown shops and restaurants for at least one night. Some then moved up to the larger Bar Harbor to be close to the airport or for provisioning at the large Safeway supermarket.

~Mark Bunzel

Click HERE to read more about the flotilla’s travels.

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