Our departure this morning was delayed by reported winds of 30+ knots off Skull Island in Stephens Passage. The burgees in the harbor are blowing hard, and it is raining Juneau style – deceptively heavy spittle. We elect to enjoy another cup of coffee and a leisurely morning on the docks for a few hours rather than risk being tossed around outside on our first day.
The reported wind speeds are beginning to die down by 10 am, and so Captain Brian makes the call. We pull our shore power and prepare for an 11 am departure.
Despite the reported winds, it proves a beautiful day to be underway. Southeast Alaska is meant to be experienced in the rain. Wispy clouds stretched and steaming over the forests. The Passage ahead of us a textured landscape of soft blues, greens and greys. We begin to see whale spouts not more than an hour from the harbor. A humpback surfaces off Deception’s starboard. The sightings continue all the way until we reach Taku Inlet.
We have a long run today to make it to Tracy Cove. Given the late departure we’re eager to keep on course to ensure we arrive in Tracy Arm Cove at a reasonable hour. We decide to leave the crowds of whale watching boats out of Juneau and continue our lookout as we’re underway.
There is something else breaching in the waters: Salmon! A nice sign of the season. Silver flashes and splashes accompany us as we make our way along. This is the Tongass Forest, and salmon are a significant piece of the ecosystem both human and ecological. The number of gill netters prepping their gear in Auke Harbor are testament.
Rain and salmon and whales…. A few of the best things about cruising Alaskan waters.
We reach Tracy Arm around 7pm and Deception sets anchor and a shore tie before calling in the rest of the fleet to raft up. On the way in, Eldean sights a grizzly on the shore! From far away we see an adult, although they also report they saw much smaller bears – cubs? We’ll keep our eyes open this evening and tomorrow morning before we leave…
By 8pm the raft is secure, and each boat is settling into dinner. Deception hosts Todd and Judy for dinner and we watch the sun slowly sink behind the hills surrounding Tracy Arm cove as dinner’s conversation stretches into the evening and a light dusky wash fades out the day.