Located on the western shore of Baranof Island, “Sitka-by-the-Sea” is Southeast Alaska’s most remote ferry stop, and the only major Inside Passage town to front on the Pacific Ocean. Getting to Sitka by ferry requires a long detour through the scenic but treacherous Peril Strait that separates Baranof and Chichagof Islands—a great place to watch for eagles perched on trees along the shore.
During larger tides, fierce currents prevent ferries from going through, and the ships must time their passage to coincide with a high or low slack tide. The passage narrows to only 300 feet in one spot (24 feet deep). When the tide is really cooking, the buoys are often bent far over by the wild currents.
This has one side benefit: The ferry is forced to stay for three hours or so in Sitka, long enough for you to get a taste of this fascinating town. But to see this pretty place better, be sure to stay awhile.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition