Periodically nuclear subs sail up and down the Clarence Strait between Ketchikan, Alaska, and Prince of Wales Island (POW.) . Clarence Strait is part of the inland passageway that protects ships from wild swells of the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. And is a popular water highway from Seattle, Washington to Anchorage, Alaska.There are some places in that protected waterway that are 1600 feet deep.
Our house was on the water 11 miles north of Ketchikan,Ak.where we could see the Clarence Strait. One afternoon on a beautiful summer day I was sitting on our deck looking across the water towards POW, when I observed a Nuclear sub heading south towards the lower 48. I pointed it our to Rhonda, my wife. It's a rare sight to see and very majestic. The next morning we got up before full daylight to go salmon fishing. I say full daylight since that time of year it never really gets very dark. We got our fishing gear loaded into our 24 foot Sea Sport fishing boat and headed south towards the south end of POW, Cape Chacon, about 25 Miles from Ketchikan. The salmon like to congregate there to rest and feed while waiting for a big rain to raise the level of the freshwater streams along the coast so they can get up the streams to spawn. We had been on the water for about 30 minutes and Rhonda was asleep in a bunk and I was driving the boat.The solitude and beauty of Alaska at that time of the morning is heart filling. I was concentrating on navigation add watching for floating logs and debris. Hitting a log that far from any help would not be fun. As I was observing the water just about 100 yards in front of us I saw a black, thin shape appear dead ahead. All I could think of in that split second was it was that sub's periscope and we were heading for a head on collision. I didn't want to play chicken with a sub so I came hard left, (expletive deleted) to avoid that sub. Rhona was thrown out of the bunk onto the floor ,popped her head up and said "what was that". I replied I was avoiding the sub we had seen heading in that direction the afternoon before. I looked again to see where the sub was and there was no periscope to be seen. I was momentarily mystified and confused. A sub couldn't dive that fast. While pondering and explaining to Rhonda that I was not seeing things, a large Orca with about a 6 foot, black dorsal fin, surfaced. Then it all became clear. The killer whale and I were on a collision course. I saw that black fin head on and it looked like a sub's periscope. So I was not seeing things.This is a true story and we got a few laughs after it was all over and my heart beat slowed down back to normal.