ALASKA: LEG 3 – CASCADE BAY TO SIWASH BAY | NW Explorations
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ALASKA: LEG 3 – CASCADE BAY TO SIWASH BAY

June 27, 2016

Awaking to The soothing roar of the falls we pulled our anchors and began our trip into Unakwik Inlet and to the Meares Glacier. The picturesque slopes and river valleys of Unakwik Inlet are productive fishing grounds, notwithstanding the fact that the region serves as home to the Cannery Creek Hatchery, which produces millions of salmon every year to augment the states wild fisheries. A few seiners ply the waters here, fishing close to shore with nets billowing off their decks like the skirts of a Mexican dancer.

We pass by and head up the fjord under glacier-scarred walls until at least the glacier is revealed around a bend. Until very recently the glacier has been advancing, bulldozing its way through stands of old growth hemlock and spruce- truly one of nature’s unstoppable forces. We idle amongst the drifting pack ice to watch the glacier calve, and are soon rewarded by our patience when an enormous pinnacle of ice we estimate at 250’ tall abruptly gives way and crumbles into the sea with a deep bass rumble.

After a while longer the breezes and currents conspire against us and we retreat to avoid being cut off by the constantly shifting ice. Siwash bay is a quick hour from the glacier and we spread out to anchor in its many coves, under peaks dotted with the last of the winter snowpack. In the afternoon we join Greg the naturalist to explore the grassy river flats at the head of the bay, where we watch herons, migratory geese and duck feed on the muddy banks. We follow fresh black bear tracks through the tall grass, and revel in the many flowers which attract Anna’s hummingbirds. The palate of the land is subdued, a thousand shades of blue green and grey, so the flowers stand out especially brightly here and attract the interest of animals and people alike.

In the gathering darkness our anchor lights stand out around the bay just as the flowers did. A wonderful way to spend another day in Alaska!

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