Yet another flat calm day broke over the fleet, and the sun poured down form a nearly cloudless sky, a welcome change of pace! The day began with a happy note, as Ajax hauled in a pot full of beautiful Dungeness crab, all but one keepers!
The flotilla spread out across beautiful Blake Passage, passing long and narrow Blake Island, which Katie aboard Navigator taught us was not only a block of pure marble but also for sale! Ideas quickly percolated throughout the group for a new NW Explorations outpost. Certainly a concept worth considering!
After a couple of hours, the combination of sun and calm water worked their way into first mate Rowan’s skull, and just seconds later he had squeezed into his wetsuit and was leaping off the swim step of Deception, his homemade wakeboard tucked under his arm. Captain Rich pegged the throttles and the boat surged forward, throwing up a high wake, which Rowan rode with ease aboard his plywood steed. It is a rare sight to see anyone wakeboarding behind a Grand Banks, and rarer still to see it in the cold waters of Alaska! Rowan surfed until his arms were sore, and scarcely has he climbed back aboard than a group of Dall’s Porpoises streaked towards the fleet, and energetically surged around our bows, their stout bodies throwing up rooster tails of whitewater as they came up to breathe.
We cruised southwest, stopping along the coast of Easterly Island to take in the sight of dozens of lazy Stellar’s Sea lions sunbathing on the hot rocks before continuing towards the quaint and isolated coastal hamlet of Meyers Chuck which clings the hillsides around a rocky cove at the tip of Lemesurier Point. In the local parlance, a chuck is any protected bay or cove with a narrow or difficult of find entrance. Meyers Chuck has shrunk since its heyday in the early 1900’s and now only four or five hardy individuals live there full time. We raft against the public dock and set off to explore, stopping first at the tiny gallery where local artisans sell a selection of beautiful quilts, carvings, paintings, and other arts and crafts. The trail winds through the forest and behind and through the houses, emerging finally on a rocky west-facing beach, the tide is low and we find large beds of mussels, tide pools full of brightly colored starfish, and a host of other fascinating tidepool creatures. We walked back to the boats, browsing on wild thimble- and huckleberries as we went.
A long, soft sunset lingered to the west as we had a fantastic potluck, which included two fabulous chicken curries, a stew, mac and cheese, and fresh crab, among many other scrumptious dishes. We relived stories from our travels, marveling at how quickly perfect strangers can become fast friends.
Quiet fell over the chuck and gentle breeze rocked the boats as the last color drained from the sky and the quarter moon dropped towards the horizon.