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Featured

ADVENTURES

ALASKA: 2015 LEG 6 – CULPEPPER LAGOON TO RESCUE BAY

As we made for the mouth of Culpepper Lagoon, the dropping tide swirled around the rocks and the current ran noticeably downhill. Our bows dropped into the narrows and we were sluiced through the pass to emerge fishtailing into the calm waters of Kynoch Inlet. The clouds had returned overnight, and the drifting mantle of mist added to the dramatic scope of the fjord.

We turned south into Mathieson Channel and the fleet spread across the width of the waterway, cruising slowly across the coves and bays, our wake lapping the base of soaring cliffs and forested slopes. In amongst the waterfalls ravens and eagles jockeyed for space, and merganser ducklings paddled in tight groups in the shallows. Our lazy, curious pace was rewarded when Mike and Lana on Aquila spotted a mother Brown Bear with two little cubs playing at a river mouth on the Pooley Island! Sitting at idle, they stayed behind to watch the show. Only a few minutes later Judy and Todd aboard Eldean, on the other side of the channel, reported that they had encountered bear as well! A mother Black Bear and her two cubs foraged along a different river mouth, the mother flipping over large boulders with no sign of strain to browse on the insect larvae underneath. Eventually, the bears moved on, and the fleet followed suit, arriving in the early afternoon at Rescue Bay, gouged out of the NE corner of Susan Island. The bay’s name conjures up images of brave men battling out through ferocious winter storms to the aid of a ship in distress, but as the Naturalist Greg discovered, the truth is not quite as exhilarating. The hydrographic survey ship responsible for charting this area happened upon and rescued a cocker spaniel that had fallen off of a passing fishing boat, and commemorated the experience not only by christening the bay, but also the nearby Spaniel Point.

With our anchors set the rain began to fall more heavily. Undaunted by the inclement weater, the crew of Telita, joined by Teri, Greg, and Rowan from Deception set out to explore Jackson Narrows, just outside the mouth of the bay. Long fronds of kelp stretched gracefully in the current, ringing the rocks which rose to the surface, glowing white in contrast to the deep green waters around them. The abandoned floats of a defunct oyster farm sat neglected in a shallow bay, moss and small cedars sprouting from the rotting timbers.

As the evening twilight spread over the bay the rain fell in torrents. Two beautiful antique fishing boats slid in to anchor for the night, the chug of their motors and rattle of their anchor chains syncopating the rhythm of the rain.

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