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Featured

ADVENTURES

ALASKA: 2015 LEG 1 – BISHOP BAY HOTSPRINGS

Glassy flat calm waters this morning in Culpepper Lagoon as we dismantle our raft and set off.  The fog has lifted, and we have a beautiful morning with clear blue skies to send us on our way.  We’ve been fortunate that the weather has held so well for our trip.  We make it through the narrows on an ebb tide close enough to slack but not too close to the low – we shoot through the rapids again and emerge back into Kynoch Channel feeling dwarfed by majestic granite.

We have a long run today to Bishop Bay Hotsprings – nearly 9 hours, but the scenery is killer for the entire duration of the trip. Passing out of Kynoch Channel into Sheep’s Passage where we keep an eye out for the passage’s namesake mountain goats.  Instead we see our first terns – quite possibly arctic terns, those ultra-migrants of the bird world, who remind us that the 75 miles that we have to go today are nothing in comparison to their globe spanning migration; they migrate from the Arctic to the Antarctic each year.

From Sheeps Passage we continue into Heikish Narrows which feeds us around the west side of Sarah Island into Graham Reach.  Here we begin in earnest to keep our eyes peeled for bears. We are entering the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest; home of the white spirit bear.  Here on Princess Royal Island and Sarah Island, the population of black bears have a rare genetic difference from those anywhere else in the world.  This is the only place in the world to see a black bear with a pale white coat. Even here our chances are slim.

Our fleet has spread out across Graham Reach by the time we reach Work Island, some of us diverge to the east side to pass by Butedale, site of an old cannery town, long since abandoned, while the others skirt to the east and scope additional marshy areas for bears.  Still no bears, but we encounter numerous waterfalls.

As we turn into Bishop Bay we are greeted by a pod of Dall’s porpoises which converge on our bow wave, skipping and diving and escorting our fleet into the anchorage.  Deception counts seven riding our bow at a time.  After a while they peel off and join up off Telita’s bow, then skip back and visit each of our fleet as we enter the bay.

Bishop Bay Hotsprings includes two pools that overlook the bay with it’s anchored boats.  Over the years travelers have strung yachting paraphanelia across the roof giving it an eclectic and well-loved feel.

After a long day a good soak is welcome.  Got to watch the tide though – drops fast here, and if you leave your dinghy tied up too high, you may be staying in those tubs longer than you expected, or struggling to get it off the rocks.  Of course, there are worse places to be stranded.

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