Peril Strait Sunset

Getting to Sitka from the inside passage you either need to sail around the North of Chichagof Island, through Icy Strait and Cross Sound, or south around Cape Ommany on the southern tip of Baranof Island, unless you go through Paril Strait. (Shee Káx’ in Tlingit, meaning “North of Shee.”  Shee is the Tlingit name of Baranof Island.  Sitka is Sheet’ká.) Peril Strait separates Baranof and Chichagof Islands and runs from Sailsbury Sound to Chatham Strait.  Entering Paril Strait from Sailsbury Sound on the west you pass through Sergius Narrows, (Haat xhishxhaak in Tlingit, meaning “whirlpool” or “back eddy”) a treacherous place with currents that you to navigate only at slack tide.   Most cruise ships are too big to transit the narrows but fishing boats, barges pulled by tugs, small expedition cruise ships and the state ferry do it all the time. (Or at least the state ferry used to do it all the time, now, thanks to Governor’s vetoes, the ferry is nearly an endangered species in Sitka.)

But that is not why it is called Peril Strait.  In 1799 a hunting expedition of Aleuts working for Alaxander Baranof and the Russian American Company ate shellfish along the straits.  One hundred and fifty died of paralytic shellfish poisoning.  So, bays along Peril Strait have names like Poison Cove and Deadman’s Reach, which is as far as the poisoned party got before they succumbed.

The destination of this leisurely two-night cruise was Lake Eva, on Baranof Island just a mile inland from a beach where the ship’s inflatable can land passengers. 

On the way we slowed down and lingered to watch the most beautiful sunset.

At Lake Eva many of the Sitkans on board took the inflatable that Chichagof Dream was dragging behind to a landing to hike into the lake.  Because I have a sore Achillies tendon Suzi and I, and several of the other older duffers stayed on board and continued to swap tales.

6 thoughts on “Peril Strait Sunset

  1. Great photos, Thanks. Hope we’ll have some good sunsets on our Alaska cruise starting June 9th. We’d appreciate clear skies, can you and Suzi order some for fellow Pole Pole passengers!

  2. Beautiful pictures! Amazing views. Sorry about your Achilles tendon. Rest!!!

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