Meyers Chuck cinnamon buns! Homemade and fresh… what a way to start the day. To top that, just a bit later in the morning, as we travel up the sound, we encounter several humpbacks. We put our engines in neutral and drift as a group of them travel starboard of our fleet. We count four, or five of them? traveling together. Aquila comes on the radio to report that they are getting a great show with tail slaps and fin slaps, a full breach! Aquila’s crew shares later in the day, that they could actually hear whale vocals!
Further down the sound, we come to Easterly Island where we find a colony of Stellar sea lions. This day is shaping up like a safari tour of Alaska. We pass around to the starboard of the Island keeping a reasonable distance from the colony. We can still hear perfectly well the distinctive growls. Even without binoculars, you can see quite clearly just which ones are the males – they are considerably bigger than the females. There are perhaps just a half dozen males amongst the crowd of a few dozen sea lions. Each large male surrounded by his harem of females. As we are drifting off shore, a large male takes exception to something. With an astounding appearance of bravado he heads into the water. Or perhaps that’s just how 1800 pounds of sea lion moves. The surrounding females scatter to give him berth. It’s hard not to assign a dialogue to the scene…
Seward passage takes a sharp turn to the east, and we approach Anan Preserve. Anan Creek and Preserve is renowned for its runs of pink salmon later in the season, which bring in the bears. It’s early in the season, so we don’t much expect to see bears at the creek mouth yet, but Deception hugs the shoreline as we approach just to see what there is to see. At the creek mouth we encounter two crab pot boats throwing over their pots and a mess of crab pot floats. Dungeness season has opened! The fishermen are making quick work of getting their traps laid out.
Unfortunately, the crab season proves our bane though when we reach Berg Bay, also littered with crab pots making anchorages scarce without running afoul of the float lines. Deception radio’s the fleet encouraging them to wait on the outside while we navigate our way through the pots and confirm there is room for anchor. Given the pots, we decide to raft the fleet. We find a good anchorage, estimate swing room, consider the tides, and run a stern line while the fleet is patient and enjoys the sunshine (the afternoon turns out to be a pretty warm one) until we call them in one by one.
Telita and Ajax raft up alongside Deception with Eldean and Aquila on the outside. Brian and Rowan help secure stern ties to Aquila and Eldean, we launch the dinghys and generally ensure all is sound with the arrangement while passing around bug spray in anticipation of the afternoon’s planned walk along a through a nearby bog.
A bog walk conjures some negative images, but in reality it’s beautiful. The damp acidic environment is the perfect habitat for the miniscule sundews, for dwarfed tamarack and skunk cabbage. The US Forest Service has installed a well maintained boardwalk that is ours alone in this remote location and which leads out to an open, grassy wetland. We stop along the way to marvel at the stunted trees, carnivorous sundews, and ponder over the tracks we find. At the end of the walk, where the vista opens, we find indian paintbrush, lupine, and some beautiful and delicate yellow and brown chocolate lilies.
By 5:30 we’ve made it back to our boats. Darcy, Chris and Mackenzie aboard Ajax join Deception’s crew for dinner, although the boys – Kirk, Zach and Jackson and the two swabs from Deception, Andrew and Brandon, are content to take plates of jambalaya back to Ajax to hang out. With these long nights, it’s hard to resist a second excursion after dinner. So the Ajax crew, which had initially passed on the invitation to walk through a bog, but now convinced by Mom’s pictures that the bog walk was cool, load up in the dinghy and head over. Gratitude for long days when there is so much to enjoy.