Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Waiting Out a Storm

Lake Bay: a sheltered anchorage in a gale

Photo: Lake Bay by moonlight
We left Petersburg in mild, settled weather and enjoyed a routinely smooth passage down Wrangell Narrows but had to plan for forecasted stormy days ahead. Passing up several closer anchorages we headed directly for Lake Bay, a familiar, well-protected spot that would provide good shelter from the upcoming southeaster. If the predicted gale-force storm didn’t arrive, we could enjoy some fishing and shrimping opportunities.

Photo: our weather station reflected almost calm weather during our storm-caused stay inside Lake Bay

Stormy? Oh yes, the wind howled ferociously up Clarence Strait, while huge, ominous storm clouds piled high, their looming presence darkened the day far earlier than usual. Inside the anchorage our wind gauge registered steady 5-knot winds with mild gusts, never anything over 15 knots. No big deal. At the same time Lincoln Rock, six miles directly across Clarence Strait from our location, reported steady 48-knot winds gusting to 62! Lake Bay never felt so welcome.

We spent several days on anchor in Lake Bay, rocking gently in the barely discernible swells that wound their way around the point into the bay, and marveled at the continuing downpour – an “unseasonably wet” storm according to NOAA weather radio. I don’t know about that "unseasonable" label, we’re less than 50 miles away from Petersburg and they routinely receive about 109 inches of precipitation, half of that falling September through December. It feels like the deluge has begun a few weeks early. I'm commenting, not complaining, honest.

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