Page images


55 The waters westward of Middleton Island are clear of offlying dangers, giving an easy approach to the anchorage from this direction.

The best anchorage is about 114 miles west of the middle of the island in 10 to 12 fathoms (18.2 to 21.9 m) sand bottom. The anchorage is protected from the eastward from magnetic north to magnetic south, and furnishes fair protection from the prevailing easterly gales. The Surveyor rode out several severe blows here. The tidal currents at the anchorage have an estimated velocity of 2 knots, setting northward along the shore on the flood and southward on the ebb.

The best landing place on Middleton Island is in the bight on the western side, and is marked by the detached short section of cliff. At low water the shore 100 yards south of this spot is calm, due to the protection of a small hooked gravel spit which bares at low water.

At the northern and southern ends of the Island the current is irregular and sets eastward and westward. Tide rips are visible several miles to the south of the island and to the northward in the vicinity of Fountain Rock.

Fountain Rock, lying 4 miles 357° true from the northern end of Middleton Island, breaks only in heavy weather. The least depth found on it is 412 fathoms (8.2 m) although shoaler water may exist. It should be given a good berth.

WESSELS REEF, awash at low water and 2 miles long northeast and southwest, lies in latitude 59° 47' N., longitude 146° 12' W., or about 16 miles 11° true from the north' end of Middleton Island, There is a depth of 30 fathoms (55 m) or more close to the reef, and with a smooth sea no indication of it can be detected.


HINCHINBROOK ENTRANCE (chart 8520), between Montague and Hinchinbrook Islands, is used by vessels entering Prince William Sound from eastward and southeastward, while Elrington Passage (p. 94)

is used by vessels approaching from southwestward. Hinchinbrook Entrance is about 6 miles wide, and clear with the exception of Seal Rocks.

Seal Rocks lie off the entrance 6 to 7 miles south-southwestward from Cape Hinchinbrook and over 6 miles from Montague Island. They are two bare rocks, 30 to 37 feet (9.1 to 11.3 m) high, surrounded by low rocks. Sunken rocks extend 1 mile northeastward and a short distance southwestward from them. The entire reef within the 10fathom (18.3 m) curve forms an obstruction nearly 212 miles long.

The tidal currents in the entrance set directly in or out of the sound. In Hinchinbrook Entrance, Montague Strait, and Latouche Passage slack water occurs about the time of high water or low water within Prince William Sound; the mean velocity of the current at strength is about 1 knot. The ebb current running out against a large swell causes overfalls, especially in the deep water 2 or 3 miles eastward of Zaikof Point, which have been mistaken for breakers. There are also tide rips on the broken ground around Cape Hinchinbrook. The flood entering westward of Montague Island sets northeastward past Montague Point and causes rips between it and Johnstone Point.

Outside the entrance along the southeast coast of Hinchinbrook Island the current sets southwestward almost constantly. See remarks on currents under General Information, p. 4.

Current observations in Elrington Passage indicate an average velocity at strength of current of 112 knots. To obtain the times of slacks and strengths add 2 hours and 10 minutes to the predicted times of current in Sergius Narrows given in the Pacific Coast Current Tables.

With a strong southerly gale and ebb tide, very heavy overfalls and tide rips occur in Hinchinbrook Entrance, which are very dangerous to small craft. Tremendous seas, steep and breaking, are sometimes encountered just outside the entrance. During heavy weather, there are tide rips and confused seas in the vicinity of Wessels Reef. Many halibut schooners have foundered in the area between Cape St. Elias and Montague Island.

Tides.-In Prince William Sound high and low water occur about the same time as at Cordova. The mean range of the tide at Cordova is 10 feet (3.0 m) and the range between mean lower low water and mean higher high water is about 1212 feet (3.8 m). Daily tide predictions for Cordova are given in the tide tables published annually by the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Glacial ice is rarely found in the open waters of Prince William Sound. Ice is discharged by Columbia Glacier, northward of Glacier


57 Island, and is driven into the sound by northerly winds; it may be expected, depending on the winds, from Bligh Island to Bald Head Chris Island and as far south as Storey Island.

There are numerous discharging glaciers in Port Wells, the northwest arm of the sound, but the ice rarely reaches the entrance of the port. There is a discharging glacier at the head of Blackstone Bay, but the ice is confined to the bay.

Ice is discharged by Chenega Glacier on the southwest side of the sound, and occasionally drifts eastward as far as Point Helen and the north entrance of Latouche Passage through the passage south of Chenega Island.

During very cold weather ice sometimes forms in the arms of the sound which reach well into the mountains, and is at times sufficiently heavy to impede navigation for wooden vessels.

CAPE HINCHINBROOK is on the eastern side of Hinchinbrook Entrance, the principal entrance to Prince William Sound from the eastward.

There are a few rocky islets close to the southeast side of the Cape, and sunken reefs on which the sea breaks in a moderate swell lie 3/6 mile southeastward and southward from the Cape. It should be given a berth of over 3/4 mile.

Cape Hinchinbrook Lighthouse, flashing white every 15 seconds, is located on the southwest point of Cape Hinchinbrook, 235 feet (72 m) above sea level, and is visible 22 miles. The light is shown from a white square tower in the corner of a building. The fog signal is a diaphone (two-tone, air) blast 5 seconds, silent 40 seconds.

Records over a period of 18 years show an average of 773 hours of fog per year at the lighthouse. The figures range from 353 hours in 1926 to 1,521 hours in 1920.

Cape Hinchinbrook Radiobeacon is in operation. For position see page 22.

Zaikof Point is the entrance point on the western side of Hinchinbrook Entrance and the northeastern end of Montague Island. Schooner Rock, a pinnacle 75 feet (22.9 m) high, lies about 1/4 mile off Zaikof Point.

At the northern end of Montague Island are three prominent points forming Zaikof and Rocky Bays, and low depressions run through from the heads of these bays to the western side of Montague Island (p. 90).

Zaikof Bay (chart 8520) is clear and affords anchorage, but is exposed to northeast winds. Anchorage can be selected with the aid of the chart along the southeast shore, from 2 miles inside Schooner Rock to the head, also on a bar with 10 to 15 fathoms (18.3 to 27.4 m) which extends across the bay 212 miles from the head. A good berth is in 7 to 12 fathoms (12.8 to 21.9 m), depending on the swinging room required, in the cove on the southeast side 212 miles inside Schooner Rock, with Middle Point bearing 352° true. It is between the short reef at the western point and the middle of the cove, where two rocks bare at half tide lie close to the shore. This anchorage is exposed to winds from north to east, and a swell makes in during southeast gales.

A small vessel can anchor in the cove on the southeast side 15/8 miles from the head, with shelter from northeast winds. Anchor close to the southern side of the point, about 200 yards from the short spit making out from it, in 8 to 10 fathoms (14.6 to 18.3 m). There is no swell, but the williwaws blow with great force over the lower land inside the point. When the wind hauls southeastward or southward the williwaws come from all directions, and it is well to shift anchorage farther from the spit. There is a small shallow lagoon at the head of the cove, and the bank is steep-to.

Middle Point is the point separating Zaikof and Rocky Bays. An old wreck of a steel steamer is grounded on Middle Point.

Rock Bay has deep water and is exposed to northerly and easterly winds. A small vessel can anchor in good weather about 5/8 mile from the head and 400 yards from the northwest side, in 8 to 10 fathoms (14.6 to 18.3 m). Small craft can anchor in the lagoon, on the southern side 1 mile from the head, where there is a small area with a depth of 10 feet (3 m). When entering the lagoon care should be taken to avoid a reef, partly bare at low water, extending westward and northwestward from the north point at its entrance.

Two ledges, bare at low water and marked by kelp, lie nearly 1/2 mile off the southern side of Rocky Bay, 38 to 3/4 mile inside Middle Point. Kelp extends northeastward from them to a 334-fathom patch. Foul ground marked by kelp extends 1/4 mile off Middle Point.

A reef, the higher part bare at half tide, extends nearly 34 mile northeastward from Montague Point (p. 90).

PORT ETCHES (chart 8520) is an inlet in the southwest end of Hinchinbrook Island. It has secure anchorage, the best in Hinchinbrook Entrance, and is easy of access. The strongest gales are northeast and are not steady, but descend from the surrounding mountains in heavy williwaws of varied direction, and they sometimes blow hard in Port Etches when comparatively light winds prevail outside. Fresh water can conveniently be obtained from streams in Garden Cove and on the northwest side of Constantine Harbor.

The best anchorage for large vessels 's in the middle abreast Garden Cove, in 12 to 15 fathoms (21.9 to 27.4 m), muddy bottom. A flat extends 11,2 miles from the head, but the lead is a good guide to avoid it. The swell is quite perceptible in heavy southerly weather.

Garden Cove (Mosquito Bight) on the southeast side, 2 to 21/2 miles from the head of the port, is the best anchorage for small vessels. Garden Island, wooded and having a break throửgh it, lies in the middle of the entrance; there is no safe passage northeastward of it. Point Horn, the southwest point of the cove, is the most prominent of the projecting points on the southeast shore of Port Etches.

To enter Garden Cove pass 400 to 500 yards northward of Point Horn and steer 93° true. Anchor with Point Horn in line with the southernmost of the Porpoise Rocks, and about 250 yards southeastward of Garden Island, with the break through it open, in 4 to 5 fathoms (7.3 to 9.1 m), sticky bottom. No ocean swell reaches the anchorage, but, as elsewhere in Port Etches, the williwaws are bad


59 in easterly gales, coming both from the head of the port and the head of the cove.

English Bay, on the southeast side at the entrance of the port, is a bight about 3 mile wide. It may be used as a temporary anchorage by small vessels, but it is exposed to the ocean swell in heavy weather and open to northerly and westerly winds. Easterly gales blow in williwaws from all directions but do not raise much sea if anchored well in the cove. The holding ground is good.

The chart shows a rock marked position doubtful in about the center of the cove, and for that reason it should be used with caution.

The two bights on the southeast shore of Port Etches, 114 and 312 miles northeastward of English Bay, are rocky and should be avoided.

Porpoise Rocks, on the northwest side at the entrance of Port Etches, are three principal rocks about 48 feet (14.6 m) high, with numerous small rocks among them and also northeastward of them. The westernmost and largest is flat on top and grass-covered, and a rock covered at high water lies 200 yards westward from it. There is deep water close to the rocks except on their northeast side where there is foul ground extending to Point Barber at Nuchek, a distance of 1 mile, with no safe channel between. There is kelp around Porpoise Rocks and for a distance of 38 mile southwestward of Point Barber.

In good weather steamers have anchored off the shingle spit northwestward of Nuchek to land or receive passengers and freight. It is an uncomfortable anchorage on account of the swell. The best anchorage is abreast the spit midway between the village and the rocky wooded knob on the middle of the spit, with the village bearing 95° true, and the southeast one of the three largest Porpoise Rocks in line with the end of Hinchinbrook Island, bearing 191° true, in about 10 fathoms (18.3 m), sandy bottom.

Nuchek is an abandoned Indian village on the southeast end of the shingle spit at the southwest end of Constantine Harbor.

Constantine Harbor is the lagoon on the north west side of Port Etches, its entrance being at Phipps Point. . It is suitable only for small craft on account of the very narrow entrance channel, which is 50 to 100 yards wide with depths of 18 to 19 feet (5.5 to 5.8 m). The tidal currents have considerable velocity in the entrance. The best time to enter is at high water, preferably near slack water. The harbor is mostly shallow, but has an area 1,2 mile long and 38 mile wide with depths of 3 to 42/4 fathoms (5.5 to 7.8 m), sticky bottom, but exposed to williwaws.

On the northeast side of the entrance are three small, rocky, wooded islets with overhanging sides. Among them are rocks bare at low water, and 60 yards south-southeastward from the western islet is a sunken rock, all marked by kelp at slack water. The channel is close to the western islet, between the foul ground at the islets and a shoal of 9 to 10 feet (2.7 to 3 m) extending 600 yards eastward from Phipps Point.

To enter Constantine Harbor pass 100 yards southwest ward of the western islet on a west-northwesterly course. Before coming up to the western islet on this course, care is necessary to avoid the foul

61359—38— pt. II-45

« PreviousContinue »