Hunter Bay Cannery Charter
Minimum ceiling: 2000 feet
Minimum flying altitude: 1500 feet
Minimum visibility: 3 mile
Approximate distance: 40 miles
Landing Area NOT frozen in winter
Water landings year around
Direct from Gravina Point to Cannery: 33 miles at 199
Direct from Cannery to Gravina Point: 33 miles at 018
You just received a call from the Hunter Bay Cannery Manager. He would like for you to pick up the new Assistant Manager at the Ketchikan Airport and bring him to Hunter Bay. This is the Assistant Manager's first trip to Alaska and to the cannery. The Manager has asked if you would tell him a little about some of the sights along the way and fly a more scenic rather than direct flight to the cannery. He knows the new man loves the outdoors and wants to impress him with the beauty of Alaska. So you have two assignments, (1) fly your passenger safely from Ketchikan to Hunter Bay, and (2) sell Alaska to the new Assistant Manager. The VFR directions are bold and the narrative for your passenger is in italics. The VFR directions for your return to Ketchikan are also included.
VFR Directions: Flying to the Hunter Bay Cannery
- After leaving PAKT or 5KE, position over the center Pennock Island in the Tongass Narrows at a heading of 110
- We will be leaving Ketchikan International and heading southeast down the Tongass Channel. This body of water separates Gravina Island to our right (where the airport is located) and Revillagigedo Island to our left where Ketchikan is located. In the center of the channel is Pennock Island.
- In 1883, a man named Snow built a salmon saltery on the spot where Ketchikan now stands. Two years later, businessmen from Portland, Oregon, hired Mike Martin to investigate possibilities for building a salmon cannery on the banks of Ketchikan Creek. Martin and the cannery's manager, George Clark, set up a partnership and opened a saltery and a general store. Two years later, with the fishing trade flourishing, Ketchikan was definitely in business.
- And by 1900, with a population of 800, the town was officially incorporated. With mining activities beginning in the area, Ketchikan became an important trading community, with an estimated two-thirds of miners' wages reportedly ending up in the bars and bordellos of Creek Street. Despite a mining decline, the fishing industry and timber operations began to grow with establishment of the Ketchikan Spruce Mills early in the century.
- In 1954, Ketchikan Pulp Mill was completed at nearby Ward Cove, assuring jobs not only in town, but in the surrounding woods as well. Wards cove is behind us on the left. The mill is not running today. The lumber industry is in trouble world wide but the ever resilient Alaskans are starting to focus on another mainstay, tourism. Cruise ships, the Alaska Marine Highway and Alaska Airlines as well as many charter operators bring thousands of visitors to town through the summer months, while across Tongass Narrows, an endless stream of jet aircraft keep Ketchikan very much in touch with the world outside.
- At the midpoint of Pennock Island, set a heading of 141 to Gravina Point. This is the point of land at the southern most tip of Gravina Island (the large island on your right), about 2.9 miles distant. Prepare for a course correction to starboard.
- The large channel ahead of us before we make this turn to the right is Revillagigedo channel. On the left is Mountain Point, and around the point to the left is Herring Bay where there is another cannery and fishing village.
- The Island ahead of us about 1 o'clock is Annette Island. The large mountain is Red Mountain with the tiny settlement of China Town at the foot of the mountain beside the sea.
- At Gravina Point, set a heading of 194 for 3 miles to fly over Blank Island.
- As we make the turn to the right over Gravina Point, we are turning into the Nichols Passage.
- The small mountain to our right is Jody Hill and if you look back up the Tongass Channel, you'll still be able to see the Ketchikan airport.
- This first inlet to our right is Blank Inlet. At its mouth is Blank Island, our next waypoint. This inlet is known for it's wonderful sports fishing for salmon. Many people who come in on the cruise ships will charter a boat from Ketchikan and come to this inlet to fish.
- We'll be flying down the southern coast of Gravina Island (the landmass to starboard) using various points of land as waypoints.
- Over Blank Island, set a heading of 196 heading for Bostwick Point ... the point just ahead.
- Bostwick Inlet, coming up on our starboard side is another sports fisherman haven. On the other side of this inlet, the point of land is Bostwick Point. We'll be flying over that toward Seal Cove.
- Over Boswtick Point, we set a course of 170 for the Bron Island, fly to its center.
- We will pass over a little cove called Seal Cove, then head down toward the southern tip of Gravina Island. This is called Dall Head. Bron Island is the larger island showing up at the head of Dall Bay (the bay just before the Dall Head).
- On Dall Head, there is a very interesting Dall Head Marine Park that you should try to see if you have the time.
- Exactly over the center of Bron Island, set a course of 185. This course will take you to the mouth of Kendrick Bay, 18.5 miles ahead. In the mouth of the bay is the large Kendrick Island. You will want to fly over the center of Kendrick Island.
- This small group of islands we are crossing are called the Bronaugh Islands. The Dall Head is just to our right.
- As we cross the body of water ahead of us, the Clarence Straight is to our right. This is the body of water separating Gravina Island from Prince of Wales Island, ahead of us.
- The climate is temperate and is influenced by the Japanese current and gives Prince of Wales Island between 60 and 200 inches of precipitation per year. Mean temperatures range from around 35 degrees; in January to about 58 degrees; in July. Daylight on the longest day of the year is about 15½ hours with about 7 hours on the shortest day of the year.
- Most of the island is characterized by steep, forested mountains (2,000-3,000 feet high) carved by glacial ice which left deep U-shaped valleys with streams, lakes, saltwater straits and bays. The forest is made up of Sitka spruce and western hemlock with some western red and yellow cedar, alder, and shore pine.
- Sitka black tailed deer and black bear are the primary game animals, and the island supports several packs of wolves. Moose have been spotted on Prince of Wales. While the streams and lakes contain a variety of trout, most people fish the salt water for the five species of salmon, or for halibut, red snapper, and other bottom fish. Eagles are a common sight and waterfowl abound during the nesting season. Several species spend the winter in the area including the trumpeter swan. (see note 2)
- Over Kendrick Island, set a heading of 242. You will be flying over the bay and over the body of land ahead. As you begin to reach the west coast of the island, begin your decent. Pass to the left of Hessa Lake. You will be landing just after the ridge ahead of you. You will see a small round lake with a river leading away from it to the west. That river empties into Hunter Bay. Follow the river to Hunter Bay. The cannery is on the right of the bay. NOTE: Beware of fishing vessels often parked in the bay.
- We are now nearing Hunter Bay which is directly ahead of us on the other side of the island. We will now be reducing altitude for our landing in front of the cannery on Hunter Bay.
- Landing in Hunter Bay
- After you have landed safely, taxi to the cannery's dock and unload your passenger. (Be sure to give him your business card so he contacts you for his next charter!)
VFR Directions: Returning to Ketchikan
- Taxi out and take off lining up with a heading of 063. Hetta Lake will come up on the port side of the aircraft. Continue for 6.5 miles until you are over Kendrick Island.
- Over Kendrick Island, set a heading for 005. Maintain this course for 18.5 miles to Bron Island.
- As you pass by Dall Head and cross over Bron Island, set a heading for 355 and fly along the south coast of Gravina Island. On the way passing Seal Cove, Bostwick Point and heading for Gravina Point. If the weather is clear, you may cut across land to the left of Judy Hill and shortcut to the Tongass Channel. Watch for air traffic for PAKT in this area.
- Fly Northwest up the Tongass Channel to PAKT (Ketchikan International) or 5KE (Ketchikan Seaport) or on to MMI1 (Totem Bight, where, if it's summer a cold drink is waiting by the picnic table, or if it's winter, some good hot coffee by the fireplace will be waiting for you.).