GSSR#3 – Redoubt Volcano Erupts


Greetings all!

Over the past few days I've received several emails asking me about volcanic activity along our GSSR route.

There was a major eruption at the Redoubt Volcano, near Anchorage Alaska, just last week. To be more precise, there were six eruptions, which sent a volcanic ash cloud 9.5 miles into the sky; dumping ash on the surrounding towns and triggering earthquakes.

Ash can clog air filters on engines. Alaska Airlines suspended flights, as ash can shut down the engines on a plane,and the same is true for boats.

Here you see the location of Redoubt, as well as our trip route:

I do not believe this eruption will affect our trip. My overall sense is that it will be months before we arrive in the area, and a lot can change between now and then. Although our trip north starts the third week of April, we won't actually be near the volcano until the second week of June.

Yuri Sushkin was on a boat in the Aleutians last year when a volcano blew as they were passing near it, caking their boat in volcanic ash:

"Ken, Add to your supplies list:
  • dust proof glasses
  • dust masks hard hats
  • CO2 gas detector
  • extra air filters for boat engines
If you near volcano when it is erupting, not enough time to run away and dust in air/water may damage engines. Make a bookmark for AVO site (Alaska Volcano Observatory), they have more less current conditions info, but most likely you will be the one sending the latest info to them. Hopefully not! Sincerely, Yuri "

Bill Harrington, the commercial fisherman going along with us, lives near the volcano, and sends this report:

"Hi Ken. Volcanos are just another part of life here. No major concern. Sans Souci, right? You just have to keep an eye on them. Last year when I was out west there were three volcanos going off. Okmok on Umnak Island, next west from Dutch, Cleveland on Islands of Four Mountains and Kasatochi out by Adak. When I was on Adak last year and Kasatochi was acting up, we had 27 earthquakes in one day. Definitely makes life a little less boring. Kind of shakes the dust off the houseplants. When we get out by Kasatochi my friends on the Tiglax, the Alaska Maritime Refuge boat, will be working with some volcanologists there and we have been invited to stop by. They are good people and I'm sure it would be an interesting, educational and unique stop. Something your average yachtie won't usually get to do. The weather is still atrocious here. I'm glad there's no end to boat work to keep me entertained. Check out: and Best regards. Bill "

Our weather router, Bob, from added this comment:

"Hi Ken. Thanks for the latest updates on the GSSR. I trust you have been keeping tabs on Mount Redoubt, which has started to erupt during the last week or two. The Volcano has been sending ash ENE-ward toward Anchorage, fortunately, the amount of ash has been on the low side. Hopefully this trend will continue. Should the eruptions become more frequent or more violent, then the threat of ash could increase. At this time, it is hard to say whether the eruption of Mount redoubt will impact the upcoming GSSR. There is plenty of time to watch it. Considering the expected upper level wind pattern should be more west to east by the time you reach this area, the upper level winds should bring any ask to your north. The ash could impact you should the upper level winds become more WNW-NW (or blow toward the ESE-SE). Should this occur then you could run into a period of time when ask could accumulate over the fleet traveling along the northern Gulf of Alaska. This is NOT something I would be extremely concerned about. Fortunately, the Volcano is not errupting 24/7 and heavy ash has not fallen in the anchorage area. At this point only time will tell, but I would not consider delaying your departure because of it. We will continue to monitor its progress and update accordingly. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI "

And lastly, here's an article in today's Alaska Daily News talking about the ash raining down on anchorage:

My last blog update, on safety, attracted a huge amount of comment. If you haven't been to the website, to share your own comments on my blog updates, or to read other's comments, you are missing the best part of my blog. There are some exceptionally smart people who read my blog, and I learn an incredible amount reading the comments page. To read the comments from my last blog update, click here: and look at the very bottom of the page. It helps to start at the bottom and read upwards. Or to comment on this blog update, just go to: You'll see the words "Post Comment" beneath each blog entry. 

Thank you!

Ken Williams
Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci


2 Responses

  1. With the “slowly” exploding Mount Redoubt, and with time as your ally, I can’t imagine that airborne ash would be a major problem. Fortunately, you have the ability to wait it out if need be. Another consideration, however, is asthma. We were visiting the Big Island in Hawaii a few years back, and my son had to take a visit to the hospital for his breathing. Though there was no visible ash in the air, the doctors stated that micro-ash and air conditions can definitely affect those with compromised breathing ability. Good news is that it took nothing more than some breathing treatments to cure, but if not adequately prepared on the Bering Sea, it can be scary when you can’t catch your breath. Just a thought. . . .

  2. Ken – Wasn’t too many years ago we here in Washington were getting the falling ash when Mount St. Helens exploded. You were probably around for that, but Mount Redoubt doesn’t look like it will be anything like that. Looking forward to reading your updates while you are on the trip. Chet

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