The short trip in to Cordova today completes our loop around Prince William Sound. As we pulled back onto the dock in the small boat harbor it was a bittersweet realization that for the rest of the season the fleet will be moving steadily southwards. Even so, from our northernmost point at the Harvard Glacier above 61°N all the way down to Bellingham, WA at 48°N where our journey will end, lies some of the world’s most beautiful country and a hundred lifetimes worth of exploration and adventure.
After a restful night in Sheep Bay we throttled up and our wake curls away across the miles that separate us from Cordova’s sturdy fuel pier, where we stopped to top off our tanks before the long trip across the Gulf of Alaska. The fuel dock here is a rustic affair, and Deception ties up to the creosote soaked pilings to act as a giant fender for the rest of the fleet, who pull up alongside one-by-one to top off on diesel.
The sun poked through the clouds and shone down on our boats as we tied up neatly to the transient dock in the snug harbor. No-frills gillnet boats rumble in and out on fishy errands around the clock and big salmon tenders coast warily along the narrow fairways on their way in to the fish processing plants that send Cordova’s salmon out to the world. Our stay in Cordova will be a brief one as we wait for tomorrow’s highest tide to fill Strawberry Channel, a shortcut route to the south and into the open gulf. Groceries, last minute shopping, a stop by the Prince William Sound Science Center and a final dinner out before our trip flesh out the day.