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Return to Misty Moorings - Trip Tic

Destination: Forrester Isld Research Outpost


Route Notes

  • This Scenery is for "Return to Misty Moorings" only.
  • Minimum Altitude: 1200 Feet
  • Landing zone is: Helipad or water, frozen in winter
  • GPS for destination: N54 49.08 W133 30.94 Alt 8.2 Feet
  • Print-Able copy HERE

Forrester Island Research Outpost

This group of islands, which consists mainly of Forrester Island, Lowrie Island, and Petrel Island, supports the largest seabird colony in the eastern Gulf of Alaska. These islands rise steeply from the ocean on the western edge of southeast Alaska's island archipelago. The terrain is very rugged and densely forested, with an abundance of blow-downs and nearly impenetrable undergrowth – ideal habitat for burrow-nesting seabirds.

Ornithologists have visited sporadically since the early 1900s documenting 135 bird species known to occur on these islands. In addition, Lowrie Island supports the largest Steller sea lion rookery in southeast Alaska. More than one million seabirds are estimated to nest on Forrester Island which is considered a place of ornithological superlatives: it is one of the larger Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Leach's Storm-Petrel, and Cassin's Auklet colonies in Alaska; it is the largest known Ancient Murrelet colony in Alaska; and it is the largest Rhinoceros Auklet colony in Alaska by an order of magnitude.

In addition to massive numbers of breeding seabird species, the islands also host a diverse range of other species, including shorebirds and raptors. These islands have been under federal protection since 1912, and have no known non-native predators. The cabin and small floating dock take a pounding here. But the scientific team here actually love their time on "Forrester". Solitude, nature and the elements combine to give visitors a truly unique experience.

Supply runs are made by sea plane, boat and helicopters. Choppers are used heavily by the research team to get out to the different study areas. There are multiple concentrations of bird species found all along the perimeter of the island. A flight down low, around the edge should give you plenty of reason for concern. Bird strikes are going to happen if you're not especially careful flying here. They like to congregate in groups at around 100 feet above the surface. If you take a perimeter tour, you'll need to be flying just off the deck! Be sure to take a helicopter flight up to the highest point on the island where the communications towers are. There is a helicopter landing pad up there and the views are excellent.

TreeTop / WaveTop VFR Plan

FROM: Misty's Place (PF20)
TO: Forrester Island Research Outpost

This trip can be flown easily (with care) at 1200 feet. It is a much longer route than the direct flight recommended. But on a day when the ceiling is very low (or if you just want to scare the tourists riding with you), this is an excellent rout. It takes you past Hunter Bay Cannery.

The supplies for the research center are stowed away, two researchers have boarded with us and we will be leaving Misty's Place (PF20) to head out to the Research Outpost.

COURSE: Take off from Misty's Place. Taxi up by the white cottage and line up on the runway on a heading of 169. As you lift off, fly to port to a heading of 120 to fly up the center of Bostwick Inlet on the way to Nichols Passage.

COURSE: At the end of Bostwick Inlet, turn to starboard for a heading of 183 over Seal Cove Rocks (rocks just off the point). You are heading along the south coast of Gravina Island heading for Dall Head, the point of land ahead.

COURSE: At Dall Head, set a heading of 216 ... you will be on this course for 12 miles until we reach the Moira Sound.

You are now crossing the Clarence Strait, the body of water between Gravinia Island and Prince of Wales Island.

COURSE: When you near the entrance to Moira Sound, you will see some small islands at the entrance ... fly over them and continue your heading .. adjusting to follow the sound.

COURSE: In about 6 miles you will see the South Arm of the Moira Sound veer off to port ... continue straight up the West Arm of the Moira Sound.

COURSE: After you pass the cutoff for the South Arm, you will see ahead a Y intersection ... take the port (left) arm. (The right arm is Dickman bay. Stay left ... follow the channel.

COURSE: When you see the end of the inlet coming, ahead, get ready for a SHARP to port. Fly over a small lake you will find there.

COURSE: Another lake shows up, fly to the near shoreline, then turn a sharp right following the valley there.

COURSE: The valley winds to the left ... follow it to the water you can see ahead. (heading of about 163. Follow the lake coming right to about 180.

COURSE: Set your heading now for 200 and fly 19 miles to Cape Muzon (19.3 miles) .

Look down to your left and you will see Hunter Bay and a great deal of activity around the Hunter Bay Cannery. Ahead of you Egg Island will appear .. you are going to fly over this set of little islands and head to the point (that you might be able to see in clear weather) 18 miles ahead. The last group of islands are the Round Islands.

COURSE: As you near Cape Muzon, adjust heading to fly around the left side of it ... you will be turning to the right (starboard) once past the cape.

COURSE: After you circle the cape, come to a heading of 264. On this heading you will come close to Liscomb Point. But you are on a direct course to your destination 29 miles ahead. Sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery.

COURSE: As Forrester Island appears, depending on the wind, our plan was to fly up the near coast of the island.

COURSE: As you approach the island from this angle, you will count four rises. The one to the left is the highest, the one to the right, the lowest. Your destination is 2nd one from the right. There are to buoys (red and green) to guide you to the landing zone. But in the winter, those buoys are locked in the ice.

Look on the large rise to the left, you will see the antennas for the research station up on that hill.

COURSE: As you near the island and the marker buoys, begin slow down and prepare for landing. Gear/Ski if ice, pontoon if water.

LANDING: in summer you can land on the water, in winter, you can land on the ice and pull up to the dock, gear down.

Welcome to Forrester Island Research Outpost. You now should fly up to the highest peak on the island and take a look at the observatory situated there. (Watch out for the birds, many live here, so many fly here!).

Doug Linn
Charter Manager
Misty Moorings, Inc