The Voyage of Krogen 48 North Sea Navigator: North to Alaska — by Miklos & Barbara Endrody
Miklos and Barbara Endrody had cruised Alaska in 1993 and 1995 aboard a 52-foot pilothouse ketch when Mik was able to trade off-duty time to put together ten-week periods away from his job as a Puget Sound ship pilot. They were looking forward to a return trip with no time restraints. Mik, a 1961 graduate of the California Maritime Academy, retired after 31 years of piloting over 6000 ships including submarines, aircraft carriers, large tankers and the new container mega-ships. This Unlimited Ocean Master license holder chose a Krogen 48' North Sea because "the efficient displacement hull would be economical to operate, have a long range and be comfortable in a seaway."
In the six years we have owned Navigator, KK48013 NS, we have gradually outfitted her for extended travel. It was our plan to again cruise southeast Alaska, this time for an entire summer, after Mik’s retirement from piloting ships in Puget Sound. Retirement came in April 2005. Navigator left her Lake Washington berth May 17 for the four-and- a-half-month cruise. Barb’s motto: "We have no schedule and we are sticking to it!"
After years of local cruising, surviving a 6.8 magnitude earthquake while up on blocks in a Seattle boatyard and then a marina fire that severely blistered her starboard side, Navigator–a lucky boat even with her hull number 13–was headed north and making a smile with her bow wave. She felt good to be underway. Our plan was to cruise at 1600 RPM and 8 knots speed through the water averaging 2.7 GPH fuel consumption. We could easily make the 640 miles to Ketchikan with our fuel capacity. Currents are encountered throughout the passage, and we intended to take advantage of favorable ones.
After clearing Canada Customs at Sidney, British Columbia, we headed for Nanaimo where we provisioned at the local grocery, and then northward into Georgia Strait to the famous Seymour Narrows. We timed the current and shot through the Narrows at 14 knots SOG while making 8 knots through the water. This certainly helped fuel economy.
From Seymour Narrows, our first major port was Port McNeill on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island. Here we kept an eye out for good weather for crossing Queen Charlotte Strait and rounding Cape Caution for the River’s Inlet area–known for good salmon fishing. We departed early in the morning; there was a moderate to heavy swell in transit, and shoal areas around this Cape could be uncomfortable. Navigator rode without effort, and we anchored in the Penrose group of islands in Rivers Inlet in a small bay called Fry Pan. We launched our dinghy, Speedbird, and caught a good number of greenling, rock cod and ling cod but they were small and we released them. A bald eagle sitting on a branch above us would swoop down and pick up the cod for a sushi lunch–how exciting to see these magnificent birds in action!
From Rivers Inlet we followed the well-traveled Inside Passage route, anchoring each night at inlets like Khutze (great crabbing), Lowe (classic fjord appearance) and Klewnuggit (one of our favorites, with snowcapped mountains). We stopped at the Shearwater Marine resort located on the north side of Denny Island across from Bella Bella, a large Indian village and the main supply center for the north central coast of British Columbia. Here we went online, downloaded our messages and checked our accounts. We met a good number of boaters also heading to Alaska.
Our last anchorage north in Canadian waters was at Dundas Island that afforded shelter from Dixon Entrance, a potential rough seas area exposed to the Pacific Ocean. We checked the weather and, after personal observation, crossed into Alaska. Since we could not clear customs in Ketchikan by day’s end, we called U.S. Customs and received permission to anchor in Foggy Bay. We celebrated our 21st anniversary there with steaks, roasted potatoes and merlot.
A pod of Dall's porpoise gave us an official Alaskan welcome as we approached Ketchikan, weaving back and forth across the bow. Navigator arrived at the Thomas Basin on June 12, flying the Alaska state flag on her starboard spreader halyard. Later, after shifting to Bay Harbor Marina, our slip was next to sistership Forget Me Not, owned by Bill and Cheryl Goodale, and across the dock was Vic and Linda Krucera's Krogen 42', Pacific Star. To date in this cruise we had 97.4 engine hours, took on 304 gallons of diesel, and traveled 749 miles by log. Even adding in 39 hours of furnace usage and 90 hours of generator time, we still averaged 3.12 GPH!Our decision on a Krogen with its seaworthy, fuel-efficient hull proved to be a good one.
Thus commenced the Alaska portion of the cruise, our only time consideration now being the August 2 beginning of the Alaska Krogen Rendezvous at Point Baker, Prince of Wales Island. We worked our way northward in Clarence Strait to Meyer’s Chuck and Snow Pass. From Snow Pass we navigated the many buoys and day marks up Wrangell Narrows to Petersburg, a fishing community with a strong Scandinavian heritage. We flew the Norwegian flag from the port spreader halyard in the city’s honor.
From Petersburg we headed north and west into Stevens Passage for Pybus Bay at Admiralty Island. Northward out of Ketchikan we started seeing humpback whales as well as orcas. Our personal wildlife favorite, the bald eagle, was seen almost everywhere. We saw our first small iceberg, calved from the nearby LeConte Glacier. Admiralty Island was magnificent with the snow capped mountains all around us. Here we met Tom and Pat Moses aboard Krogen 42' Aventura, also bound for the rendezvous. We fished for halibut, and we all enjoyed a delicious dinner.
From Pybus Bay we headed northward for Tracey Arm and the Sawyer Glaciers. It was exciting to be among the many bergy bits and marvel at the beautiful hues of blue ice and Mother Nature's artistic sculptures. Our next stop was Taku Harbor where we found a new public float dock on the southeast. We spent several days at this nice harbor, and a friendly local presented us with Dungeness crabs. Then it was on to Juneau for fresh provisioning. We were lucky to get a berth on Pier A, Auke Bay Marina, next to the shoreline. We enjoyed watching the eagles working the beach for spawning salmon. The marina had a good oil disposal facility so Mik changed the oil in the main engine and the reduction gears.
Out of Auke Bay we headed for Lynn Canal and Icy Strait for an anchorage near Hoonah. We fished in Icy Strait and soon had a moderate sized halibut–fresh fish and chips for dinner! We proceeded west into Cross Sound (exposed to the Pacific and the Gulf of Alaska) for Elfin Cove, a small fishing village tucked in between a group of islands and across from the magnificent snow capped peaks of the Glacier Bay mountains. After a two- day rest (during which Barb traded loaves of her focaccia bread for a 10-lb. coho and a ling cod), we departed for Pelican, Lisianski Inlet, where we stayed a number of days and enjoyed this unique village. There were the world famous Rose’s Bar and Karen’s Café, all on the main street–a twelve-foot-wide boardwalk traversed by golf carts.
From Pelican we stopped at Hoonah, where you have to navigate around a Tlingit burial ground. At the marina we met several cruisers and exchanged sea stories, including one by a man who had crewed on a Krogen 58' for a trans-Atlantic crossing. Then we were bound for Sitka through Chatham and Peril straits, arriving July 21 for five days in Sitka, our favorite larger city in southeast Alaska. We toured a raptor center where injured birds of prey were rehabilitated, and spent time in the old Sitka Hotel dining room where there was free internet access.
August was approaching and we headed to Security Bay where we met Alaska Rendezvous organizers Sam and Marvol Barnard on Krogen 42' Princess. Krogen 39' Kokopeli and Krogen 42' Telos were also there and together we transited Rocky Pass and Sumner Strait. We arrived at Point Baker on August 1 where there were six more Krogens already awaiting our arrival. Now the fleet was comprised of one Krogen 39', eight Krogen 42's, and our 48' North Sea. There was great camaraderie among all the Krogen owners and we enjoyed dinner in the Point Baker Bar and Restaurant.
We departed the next morning for El Capitan Passage. We had been tracking a frontal system for a couple days and were concerned about the southerly winds. For the first hour the eight-foot swell was gentle and Navigator, along with the other nine Krogens, rode them like ducks. The second hour the wind built to about 25 knots with rough head seas. Most of the 42' Krogens rigged their paravane stabilizers; Navigator turned on her fin stabilizers, and we all entered the passage about noon. The next day, the ten Krogens proceeded in single file through the narrowest sections of El Capitan and anchored in another bay where we rafted together for the evening’s social hour. Departure was early the next morning for the transit to Craig, where we berthed in the Craig Marina. It was now Saturday, the official end of the Rendezvous. We enjoyed a farewell dinner at the Shelter Cove Lodge. It was a pleasure to be part of this group of Krogen owners!
Now Navigator headed south for the return passage. During our adventure, all boat systems worked very well. We were happy to have added a deck freezer to accommodate the fish we caught. The water maker was a must, particularly in Canadian waters where lake water has a distinct brown cedar color. Perhaps most importantly, the Krogen 48' proved to be very comfortable for extended cruising. She is spacious and well laid out. As the owners of a seaworthy, efficient, and comfortable boat, we are looking forward to a second cruise to Alaska in 2006.