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  • Rosy

Thomas Bay and the Glaciers

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

After an overnight at Whitney Island East, we went to Thomas Bay, and anchored at Ruth Island. We had to cross a bar and go through an entrance channel (much like Tracy Arm) to get into the bay which is home to two glaciers. The glaciers are the Baird Glacier in the north and the Patterson Glacier to the south. The Baird Glacier has a large outwash plain and terminal moraine in front of the ice which is popular for hiking. We were not able to visit it except from the water by Sea Venture.

touring the cove, we noticed that we cruised over a 248’ depth marker and our depth sounder showed 40’. I mention that because on the day we arrived in Thomas Bay, the Rainer, a 250’ NOAA ship, also arrived. The Rainier had multiple 30’ tenders and they were doing soundings of the bay. They said it would take 5 days to complete their work. It was very interesting to watch them work. They offered, when they visited in their skiff, that were it not for Covid-19, they would invite us aboard to tour the ship. That would have been so cool! Such a bummer! I wonder when their results will be shown in updated navigational charts?

NOAA Ship Rainier

The Patterson Glacier is part of the Stikine icefield, but does not reach Thomas Bay. At high tide we could take the tender to a part of the bay and see up towards the glacier. However, the weather was never very conducive enough for us get get some good photos. We had sun on the first day of our visit, but the remaining days were rainy.

We had a nice visit in Thomas Bay. We tendered over to the forest service cabin and took a nice little hike to a waterfall. There are several additional hikes waiting for us the next time we return. With Thomas Bays close proximity to Petersburg and Wrangell, we are optimistic regarding a second visit.

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