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Taku Harbor to Ford’s Terror

What?? No crabs at all? (One male, but too small, and tons of kelp.) Boohoo. Taku has always come through in the past. (There are a ton of other traps in here though, so we definitely are late to the party this year.) Oh well. On to try for some halibut!

The seas were nice and calm this morning and we dropped halibut lines about an hour before slack tide and fished through it. We got nothing. Not even a nibble. Eventually we pulled the halibut lines and trolled a couple of spots for salmon, but got nothing there as well. We did see a big humpback hanging around the shore though.

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Okay so, no fish today. We timed our arrival outside of Ford’s Terror for the time of high slack in Juneau (which today was 5:45pm). (You can only enter Ford’s Terror on a high slack tide, and high slack at Ford’s Terror is typically between 20 and 60 minutes after high slack in Juneau, depending on the size of the tide swing.)


When we arrived at the tall waterfall there was an UnCruise boat anchored in there (not going into Ford’s Terror) and the Discovery out of Juneau, a gorgeous wooden smallish passenger boat. (This is my kinda cruise, if we didn’t have our own boat.)


We binoc’d the entrance and there was definitely still a bit of current. Small icebergs were hauling ass around the corner and into Ford’s Terror. And you know what that means….as soon as you turn the corner into that narrow entrance, there will be icebergs.

The Discover headed in on the early side (to us) but seemed to do just fine. We waited another 5 minutes or so and made our way slowly between the shoals and still had about a knot or two of current with us (and the icebergs weren’t a problem). We went in 35 minutes after Juneau high slack (6:20pm) and I don’t think we saw less than 16 feet under our keel.

This place!! I’m (a) so glad to be back here, and (b) so glad we are planning to bring our friends here with us in just over a week. It’s still the most incredible anchorage ever, and worth the trouble and planning to get in here.

There was a sailboat already in here, so three boats total. We made dinner and played a game and called it a (rainy) night in Ford’s Terror.

When we woke up this morning we were the only boat in Ford’s Terror. Apparently the sailboat and the Discovery caught the early high slack (around 6am) this morning, so we had the entire Terror to ourselves all day. The next high slack will be around 7pm tonight, and I believe Sam and some visiting family will be coming in then.

So, Ford’s Terror is kind of a T. You come through the entrance channel, and then turn left at the end to anchor in the west arm. We’ve never actually been in the east arm. Last year with Tiffani and Deke (and our substandard outboard) we thought we’d go over there to explore a little bit but the tide was flooding and the current started pulling us in fast, so as we turned around and gunned it to get out of there, our engine died (like it did often). We had a short bit of panic thinking we might be stuck in there or have to portage our dinghy over the grassy bit of land that separated the east arm from everything else, but we made it out. Whew!

This morning when we woke up and realized that it was just after high slack tide, we decided another shot at the east arm was in order. We could explore all we wanted, and by the time we came out, the current would be in our favor! It was raining a little bit, so we each donned what we call “the Full Alaska” (Grundens pants/jackets, Xtratufs, and Atlas gloves) and headed out!



There are waterfalls everywhere here. I don’t think there is any one moment where there are less than four in view. It’s crazy.

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To the far right of that low bit of grassy land in the shot above is where the narrow entrance is to the east arm. We made it fine (had about a knot of current against us) and once inside the water was icy blue and this arm is just as insanely beautiful as the west arm.

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We wove our way in to the very end and then turned around to come home. (Through the narrowest part we maybe saw 3.5 knots of current boost.)

The scale of Ford’s Terror is hard to show in photos. It’s so easy to just get lost in it, visually…like vertigo, or a dream. You’re gliding along in the dinghy or a kayak on calm water, with mountains thousands of feet high surrounding you, water falling from everywhere, and reflections diving deep that look almost as detailed as the land above. It’s a crazy dizzy feeling of beauty and I just love it.

See that waterfall down there at the end of the west arm? See the tiny white dot to the left of the waterfall? That’s Airship.



We got back to the boat and I made us some breakfast (brunch by now, since we were out for almost 3 hours touring around). Oh yeah, we took both Torqeedo batteries with us. Our first battery almost did the entire trip…we had to swap ‘em out when we were only about a quarter mile from the boat.

While I cooked breakfast, I watched this black bear on shore.


Later on this afternoon we noticed a brown bear on shore and decided to take the dinghy for a closer look. One of the best things about the Torqeedo electric outboard is how quiet it is for watching wildlife. You could not have done what we did from such a close (but safe) distance in a gasoline outboard.

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This guy looked like he noticed or smelled us once or twice, but he could not have cared less that we were there. He was just going about his business of moving gigantic rocks out of the way so he could eat the good grub underneath. The crows stayed nearby and seemed thankful for their super strong neighbor.

Dinner tonight is some grilled king salmon (that we caught!) with some risotto and roasted broccoli.


  1. Lupin Gloria Morgan Lupin Gloria Morgan

    Laura, those photos are just amazing! Thanks for sharing your adventures!

  2. Kevin McLaughlin Kevin McLaughlin

    Sounds like heaven, with king salmon on the menu

    • Yep, that’s about the size of it! 🙂

  3. eheffa eheffa

    Lovely Images Laura!

    Bucket list getting full… 😉


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