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Seven canoes land in Wrangell

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Seven canoes arrived in Wrangell yesterday afternoon.

It’s been a rough trip for many of the crews. Most encountered bad weather and rough seas on their journey through the Inside Passage.

Dry land and friendly faces were a welcome sight for the paddlers after a long and hard journey to Wrangell.

Doug Chilton, head of the One People Canoe Society and one of the canoe skippers, dances with his young son, Richard, after landing on Shakes Island. Photo by Shady Grove Oliver/KSTK

The Wrangell canoe headed to Vank Island Wednesday morning to meet the other crews.

At Five-Mile Island, Wrangell’s crew needed to board their support boat due to dangerously rough seas.

Paddlers from Kasaan and Thorne Bay were already on the island when the Wrangell crew arrived.

A teenage paddler from Prince of Wales became separated from the rest of his group while on a hike in the early afternoon.

Wrangell Search and Rescue responded to the crew’s call in the early evening. The paddler was found safe and unhurt about two hours later. He was missing for over 5 hours.

The rest of the paddlers from Juneau, Sitka, Yakutat, Petersburg, and Prince of Wales just before midnight.

They warmed up by a large fire pit in the main bunkhouse on the island and tried to dry out many layers of wet clothes.

The seven canoes left Vank at about noon yesterday to finish the journey to Wrangell.

After a brief stop at Five Mile, the canoes lined up and paddled through the breakwater.

Each canoe requested permission to land on Shakes Island. Wrangell elders welcomed each individually and gave them fresh water.

For full disclosure: KSTK’s Shady Grove Oliver was a paddler on the Wrangell canoe.

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