ALASKA: LEG 5 – COGHILL ANCHORAGE TO GROWLER BAY | NW Explorations
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ALASKA: LEG 5 – COGHILL ANCHORAGE TO GROWLER BAY

The little herb garden in Deception’s window dries out almost as soon as its watered. The weather here is feeling more Mediterranean than Alaskan lately! Bare feet pad the teak decks as we dismantle the raft and idle out of the bay past the melting fragments of Meares glacier ice that have managed to drift this far. It isn’t often that you can comfortably motor past an iceberg in shorts!

Curious sea lions snort and bellow and edgy murrellets skip and slide across the wave tops as they heave their chubby bodies skyward as we pass. The ships that tend the salmon fleet have begun to disperse across the sound in anticipation of tomorrow’s fishing opener and their cranes booms and masts can be seen poking above the horizon as they head to where they hope the fish are. On the west coast of Glacier Island, we encounter a humpback whale who blows twice and dives, his black back arching down and away until the great black flukes flip skyward and 50,000 pounds of whale slip noiselessly beneath the surface.

The convoluted coastline of Glacier Island slips by until the little used winding, rocky and shallow back entrance to Growler Bay comes in to view. Naturally, we take it (after a quick check of the tide level) and pass between overhanging trees and curving gravel bars. Sea otters lead us through into the main body of the bay where we anchor separately in secluded coves. One group goes ashore to explore the island as others head over to Deception, where naturalist Greg has agreed to reveal the secret recipe for the bread he bakes fresh almost every day. Everyone heads back to their boats with a fresh batch of dough and a light dusting of flour in their hair. The afternoon proves warm enough for a (very) brief swim, bearing in mind the icebergs aground at the mouth of the bay and a long easy sleep in the calm night.

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