A suggested itinerary from a local person’s perspective: For those who are more interested in sight-seeing and relaxing than in fishing or hunting. This is for a 10 to 12 day charter:
1. Travel south from Juneau to Taku Harbor. It only takes a few hours to get there, so it makes an easy shake-down cruise, even if you don’t take off until late in the day. There is a state dock there which can fill up fast in the summer, but there is plenty of excellent anchorage. Put a couple of crab pots down for the night and see what the morning brings.
2. Get up early and explore Tracy Arm for the day. About a three hour run to the entry point. The sights are majestic, with waterfalls and hundreds of feet of granite wall dropping straight down into the water. There are 2 coastal waterline glaciers at the end of the fiord. If you can make it very carefully through the floating ice to the end turn the engine off and listen to the sounds of glacier ice cracking. You may also see the glacier calving. This is worth a few minutes of video to memorialize the sights and sounds of an experience you will never forget. There is not much anchorage in the arm, and drifting icebergs can make it dangerous, so leave in time to go across to Gambier Bay and anchor up in snug cove for the night.
3. Spend a couple of nights in Gambier Bay. Fish, beach comb, or explore the bay (look for bear on the beach). Alternately, spend a night or two in Pybus Bay.
4. Head south and stop by Sail Island to see the sea lion rookery.
5. If you have time, make a side trip to Petersburg. This is a quaint fishing town with Nordic heritage. There are two or three restaurants and some shops within an easy walk of the visitor’s dock.
6. Continue on through Frederick Sound and cross Chatham to Baranoff Warm Springs. Tie off to the dock if there is room because anchorage can be tricky. This is a tiny town with only one small shop, but the large waterfall nearby makes the trip worthwhile. Hike the board walk to Baranoff Lake. Back at the harbor, be sure and take a bath in one of the tubs supplied by the natural hot spring.
7. Go north through Chatham. Consider visiting hidden falls hatchery. Visits are by appointment only, but the place is fascinating and beautiful.
8. If you have a few extra days, turn west into Peril straits and go through the narrows to Sitka for a few days. Be sure to time your trip through Sergius narrows to slack tide. Sitka has some great fishing. The Vitskari rocks area is usually productive and it is nearby to St. Lazaria Island, which is an eerily beautiful place, famous for puffins. In Sitka, eat at the Channel Club which will send a free shuttle to the harbor to pick you up if you call.
9. Continue north through Chatham to Tenakee Springs. There is limited moorage, so get there early, otherwise you can tie off to outer floats and punt in. Bathe in the hot spring (men and women have separate hours as clothing is not allowed).
10. Continue North. If you have time, go west into Icy Straits. This is your best chance to see orcas. Visit Elfin Cove and Pelican (watch the weather going out there!). They are both tiny towns with interesting culture. In Pelican, have a beer with Rose at Rose’s Bar then get up in time for breakfast with Karen at the Lisianski Inlet Café.
11. Spend a night in Swanson Harbor just to enjoy the serenity of this remote safe harbor. There are two state floats and lots of good anchorage.
12. Return to Juneau.