Saturday, May 31, 2014

Meyers Chuck

Ketchikan to Meyers Chuck
Day 15+                       32.8 nm

We always look forward to a stop in Meyers Chuck, a small settlement with a lot to offer. The urge to stay long term is tempting whenever we stop and take time to visit, wander the beaches and walk the trails, kayak the Back Chuck, tour the Gallery and chat with friends new and old. 

If you’re looking for a special Alaskan hideaway, this could be it. Buy a cabin or even a small island with its own dock. Keep in touch with the outside world or stay remote... well sort of remote but with weekly mail service and quick access to Ketchikan via small boat or float plane. Do you want grocery delivery by floatplane - it’s routine in The Chuck. Okay, moving on before this turns into a real estate pitch!

Photo: Meyers Chuck dock at a very low tide
Notable for its sheltered harbor with a long dock and fresh water, the Chuck is swell-protected spot to wait out chunky water in Clarence Strait. This year we stayed a day longer than planned during a moderate blow. 

Photo: Meyers Chuck dock's steep ramp at a very low tide

F/V Patsy and F/V Provider were in their usual spots at the dock when we pulled up, the second pleasure boat to arrive, and tied up between them. Within the hour 7 more boats arrived; 5 of them found space on the dock and the others anchored out in the bay. Setting an anchor well in the Chuck’s slippery mud bottom requires special care and just a touch of luck. A heavy, 3-masted, steel sailboat arrived later and discovered just how slippery that mud could be as she dragged anchor during the afternoon blow, her stern heading straight for Rhapsody! What?! Averting collision, the captain raised anchor and motored to another part of the harbor to reset, and the boat held position nicely overnight. I slept better knowing he would drift down on something or someone other than us if he dragged anchor again.

Afternoon entertainment was a lengthy (very lengthy) airshow, watching a skilled but cautious floatplane pilot make pass after pass to select his landing approach while 3 anchored boats swung around in the gusting winds. He circled at altitude once or twice to check out available “runways” and tried an approach up-channel from the north, buzzing the anchorage only to pull up and circle again. Then he tried a down-channel approach, dropping in steeply over the southerly tree-topped hills, and pulled up to circle again. 

Next he swooped in low across the westerly reef from the strait, and the onshore observers thought he had it dialed in, but he turned, climbing to circle again. The pilot checked out each approach again. Heavy, unpredictable gusting winds and moving boats made the landing a challenge but finally he set the plane down gently… and then had to taxi downwind while threading his way between those three anchored boats. What an airshow! His takeoff was noisy, but routine enough to be ignored without any photos.

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