42 paddlers with the One People Canoe Society left Petersburg’s North Harbor in three large canoes bound for Wrangell at about 4 pm Wednesday afternoon. They’re accompanied by three support boats. It was windy and rainy but a portion of Wednesday’s paddle runs with the tide through the relatively protected Wrangell Narrows. The canoe crews stayed the night at the Petersburg Indian Association Bunkhouse, where the PIA and others in the community provided the group with food.
Some paddlers started their canoe journey from Yakutat. Others joined the voyage in Sitka, Juneau and Kake. The group is on its way to Wrangell for the historic re-dedication of the Chief Shakes Tribal house. They’ve pushed on despite some seriously bad weather and the loss of a canoe under tow earlier in the trip. All the paddlers were safe thanks to their three support vessels, which take them aboard when the conditions are too dangerous.
Weather permitting, they plan to camp Wednesday night at Vank Island along with two other canoe crews that have paddled North from the Prince of Wales Island communities of Kasaan and Thorne Bay. The entire group expects to make the final leg of the journey to Wrangell Thursday.