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To Glacier Bay National Park with a 14' 9" Zodiac and Etec 40Hp

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  • 1 Post By samckernan

To Glacier Bay National Park with a 14' 9" Zodiac and Etec 40Hp

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Old 10-04-2018, 11:05 PM
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Default To Glacier Bay National Park with a 14' 9" Zodiac and Etec 40Hp

So, yeah, I took a little trip, to Alaska, specifically Glacier Bay National Park.

Boat was a 2017 14' 9" Zodiac with a 2016 ETEC 40HP.
I didn't want to go on a cruise ship, I didn't feel like hanging out with all the "old people" (I'm 56yo) , I just figured I wanted to go it on my own...
From Redmond, WA, drove to Skagway, AK,~ 1,700 miles (took a half day, a full day, and finally another half day).
From Skagway, Alaksa, we boated to Juneau, AK, then on to Hoonah, AK, and then on to Glacier Bay National Park (GBNP) headquarters (at Bartlett Cove), and finally to a camp spot next the John Hopkins Glacier, in GBNP (4 days of boating averaging 63 miles a day). We stayed in National Forest Service Cabins mostly, but also camped out on the beach in several places.
We camped there at John Hopkins Glacier for one night, then we retraced our steps (roughly) but stayed at the Admiralty Cove National Forest Service cabin two nights (wow, big brown bears there), then returned to Skagway via Juneau etc...
Then finally drove the three days back to Seattle.


I tried to post some YouTube links, but I'm not able to right now


Go to youtube and search for "Took the Zodiac to Glacier Bay NP in Alaska" if you want to see the videos...


No problem with the boat or motor... Used a quart of TC-W3 oil about every 200 miles. Is that about right???

There was a day when crossing Icy Straits where the seas were running about 5 feet with 20 mph winds. It was kind of scary for a bit...

Oh, and kelp covering the water intake, and the engine over heating, that was kind of exciting (not)...

So anyway, it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my whole life (mentally and physically), and it was also the coolest thing I've ever done in my life (by far), but I just wanted to say that it can be done...
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Old 10-05-2018, 06:12 AM
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Hell of a trip!
Looks like you planned it well and did everything right. Did you fish at all?
BEARS!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-05-2018, 07:41 AM
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Nice first post!

You should have posted before your trip I'm in Glacier Bay (Gustavus, the only "town" there) !

And yes Icy Strait can get nasty, I fish it every day

If you didn't see any bad stuff in Lynn Canal or Chatham you were lucky lucky lucky . . .
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by JCC123 View Post
Hell of a trip!
Looks like you planned it well and did everything right. Did you fish at all?
BEARS!!!!!!!!

We did some fishing, but with all the traveling, then battling the tides to anchor every morning and night, at the end of the day, we we're content to mostly just relax, have a cold one, and maybe do a little hiking and exploring around.


Yep, we saw plenty of Big Brown Bears. Mostly from afar. The only ones we saw up close were at the Admiralty Cove Cabin, but they only came around after midnight (both nights) plying the stream for salmon. The stream is about 50 feet from the cabin, so we sat on the porch and watched them. It was to dark to get any pictures. Impressive beasts... to say the least.
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by rbhankins001 View Post
Nice first post!

You should have posted before your trip I'm in Glacier Bay (Gustavus, the only "town" there) !

And yes Icy Strait can get nasty, I fish it every day

If you didn't see any bad stuff in Lynn Canal or Chatham you were lucky lucky lucky . . .

Thanks, I'd been a lurker around here for a while, and I finally figured I had something worth sharing...


We stopped at the Gustavus pier on the way out of Glacier Bay. 3 and 4 foot seas that day. I remember the boats crashing against the pier, and the piers crashing against the pylons. Crazyness! We ducked into Excursion Inlet to get out of the wind.


Yeah, we also hit winds and about 3 foot chop coming right out of Skagway heading South. It was coming right out of the South, so we had to zig zag as we couldn't go straight into it. Took us 3 and a half hours to make the ~16 miles to Haines. I was questioning whether the trip was a good idea. lol.

We didn't get any pictures or videos of the rough seas as we we're to busy holding on...
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:47 AM
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Great post. I'll look for your youtube videos
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Old 10-08-2018, 07:40 AM
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Any wildlife pics?
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Old 10-08-2018, 07:44 AM
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epic trip man
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Old 10-10-2018, 03:29 PM
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You took a 14’ zodiac into 5’ waves while it was blowing 20 mph??? Cool sounding trip, but that part seems dumb as heck.
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Old 10-14-2018, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by superfishal View Post
Any wildlife pics?

Not really. Lots of seals and some whales, but the only camera I brought was my cell phone. My buddy brought a long lens DLSR but I havn't caught up with him to exchange pictures. I'll post some once I get them.



Originally Posted by porcha View Post

epic trip man

Thanks, and thanks for posting the videos.




Originally Posted by wdlfbio View Post
You took a 14’ zodiac into 5’ waves while it was blowing 20 mph??? Cool sounding trip, but that part seems dumb as heck.


In the morning the seas were glass calm. The weather report was for 5-10mph winds and 2-3foot seas in the late afternoon. We decided to make a go of it. Turn out the winds and waves were worse than predicted. Fortunately, the waves were swells and troughs with a really long wavelenth and not cresting, and our course was running mostly parallel (not straight into them) to them. I might try another trip in 2020, but I'll probably get a bigger boat.
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Old 10-31-2018, 02:38 PM
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excellent post! excellent trip! i am in that area summers. we live aboard a 29' aluminum. if you see us, say hi.
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Old 11-03-2018, 07:21 AM
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That sounds like a most excellent adventure! And a big one!

Wondered if you could share more of the details of the trip and what inspired it?

... grabbing an inflatable, heading to Alaska and island hopping - doesn't get better than that!
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Old 11-03-2018, 07:42 AM
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Oh that looks like great adventure. Got me thinking....
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Old 11-23-2018, 03:46 PM
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Did you consider the water temperature? Did you dress for immersion? Did you carry survival suits?
I think you were pushing the envelope right to the limit in 5 foot seas. You capsize you are probably dead.
You were either brave or really stupid.
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Old 12-01-2018, 02:42 AM
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I just sold a 15' inflatable boat similar like your boat. It has more capability than I can handle it. I used to take it at 4' chop sea, but you did it at 5' is better than I did. You make me miss my boat.
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