ALASKA: LEG 1 – BAKER INLET TO PRINCE RUPERT | NW Explorations
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ALASKA: LEG 1 – BAKER INLET TO PRINCE RUPERT

We threaded through Watts Narrows on a low tide with easy currents, the shear walls of the passage dotted with countless orange and white sea anemones. As the first boats through the bottleneck idled outside in the sun waiting for the others to pass though, we were at once surrounded by huge black fins knifing though the water. A small group of Orcas headed south down Grenville channel decided to pay us a visit and slowly cruised through our fleet. Greg the naturalist surmised that they were “transient” orcas- a subset of the species that lives in small social groups and roam over wide areas hunting their favorite prey; seals, dolphins, and whales.After a brief pause to investigate us, the whales continue southwards, evidently they have business elsewhere. Even for those of us who have seen orcas many times, it is still a deep thrill every time we encounter the world’s dominant predator.Calm seas prevailed as we passed out of Grenville Channel and past the broad island-studded shallows near the mouth of the Skeena River. South of Prince Rupert we passed the massive coal and grain terminals which export the resources of Canada’s rich interior across the globe. Despite its small size and remote feel, Prince Rupert has deep protected waters and is 24 hours closer to Asia than other west coast ports and as a result has increasingly become an internationally important port.We were the very first group to stay at the brand new city marina at Cow Bay, and Harbour Master, Marty Bowles, made us feel very welcome. After a leisurely afternoon exploring the waterfront, breweries, sunken gardens, and museums near the waterfront, the whole fleet went out for a nice dinner at Dolly’s, which specializes in local seafood.

Captain Brian, always alert to the weather forecast, has shifted our schedule slightly to get us across the exposed Dixon Entrance and in to Alaskan waters ahead of a late spring storm that is expected to blow in from the northwest. An early morning start tomorrow has us all in bed at a respectable time and ready for more adventures at break of day.

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