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ADVENTURES

Alaska Flotilla: Leg 3, Day 2 – Excursion Inlet to Elfin Cove

Elfin cove is a wonderful community of mariners. A stroll through the maze-like boardwalk around steep cliffs, emerald waters full of life below, the smell of spruce, gurgling streams falling gently down rock terraces, hidden gardens of gnomes, and an endless supply of fish as the salmon season kicks off. Yes, this is a very special place in the summer months. Only a handful of locals winter over in the various fishing lodges that dot the shoreline. Each are decorated with colorful gardens in full bloom, moose racks hung above doors high and proud from yesteryears expeditions. It doesn’t take long before you say to yourself, “I could live here!”

The journey to Elfin Cove was as beautiful as the small village promised to be. Upon exiting Excursion Inlet, Bob & Kim aboard Victoria spotted harbor porpoises hunting the rich waters surrounds us. A rare sight to see at Noon Pt, a small flock of harlequin ducks swam around the breaking surf close to reef exposed at low tide. These are small and colorful ducks that are not as common to see with males having stunning breeding plumage to attract choosy females. The sea otters made an appearance at Noon Pt., too.

At Pt. Adulphus there was no surprise to the many humpbacks that we encountered in these waters. However, what did surprise us the most was the activity of these whales. Perhaps, a small group of adolescents or young adults were present because of the amount of bobtailing and breaching that occurred. Craig happened to grab his camera while he skippered Change of Latitude as a humpback leaped fully out of the water creating one of the biggest splashes we’ve seen! More breaching occurred motoring South Idian Pass and we had whales surfacing between the flotilla up until we reached the channel markers outside of Elfin Cove.

The sun came out for the last few hours of the evening, perfect timing to catch the Fairweather Mountains. Interesting to think about, Cpt. Vancouver was anchored just outside of Elfin Cove, looking at the same mountains in the exact weather conditions we had to name them Faireweather. They are an impressive sight. The summits soar over 15,000ft from sea level! It’s a view that can take your breath away, one that can never be taken for granted.

Big Jordan had the idea to take the dinghy out to get some close-up shots of sea otters he suspected were in the area. To our surprise, a large group of stellar sea lions were thrashing left-over halibut chunks the local fishermen had discarded in the bay. The commotion was exhilarating as mouthfuls of fishy meat were flung tens of feet out of the water as the sea lions dined. With the last bit of light going behind the islands, we spotted a lone sea otter with her pup propped up on her belly to keep the baby otter warm and dry. Without disturbing her, we dinghy-ed as close as we could to capture the last wildlife viewing of the day before calling it quits.

Eventful and sunny are the two adjectives to describe the day best. Lots of time walking the boardwalk identifying native plants and birds, viewing humpbacks breaching, sea lions feeding, sea otters nurturing, and a sunset over the Fairweather mountains to bring to a closing the day’s festivities. We are blessed to be on the water and very fortunate to have seen so much already. One for the books for Leg 3 of the Mother Goose Flotilla 2017 cruise!

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