The crap traps Koa Lanai set last night come up full of crab at first light today, and they are quickly cleaned and ready for the pot before the time comes to pull our shore tie lines and haul in our anchors. It is another calm day in the beautiful protected passages of SE Alaska, and our trip down to the protected hamlet of Meyers Chuck is a smooth one. In Ernest Sound seine boats fish along the shore, their nets flowing elegantly off their sterns as the crews work feverishly to bring them back aboard, hoping that the last folds of the net will come aboard laden with squirming quicksilver salmon. Steller’s Sea Lions bask on the sun-warmed rocks on the southern side of Easterly Rock, fat and happy having spent the last few months gorging on salmon as they return to their natal streams.
In the tiny cove at Meyers Chuck (a “chuck” being a well-protected cove or bay in the local parlance) we find space on the little community dock and set out to explore the tiny town. Meyers Chuck has its roots in the days of hard-scrabble frontier existence, and early residents eked a living from the sea and the woods. In its heyday about 60 people lived here, and the town boasted a post office, store, and schoolhouse. These days, however, there are only about eight full time residents in town, along with a number of summer-only inhabitants. The schoolhouse has been turned into a lovely home, and next door is a tiny gallery where locals display and sell their artwork and handicrafts. The towns postmistress, Cassy, opens the gallery for us. Like many people in remote small town Alaska, Cassy does a bit of everything to make ends meet. She is the towns postmistress, an artist, fisherwoman, and a baker. We are sure to place an order for her world famous cinnamon rolls, which she will deliver tomorrow morning in her skiff.
Main street is a winding path through the forest, leading at times through back yards and under the eaves of cottages. It winds through several gorgeous old-growth stands of cedar and spruce before ending at a scenic rocky beach on the south side of the Lemesurier Peninsula, where the oft-stormy waters of Clarence Strait have heaved enormous driftwood logs into the treeline. Today, however the waters are calm and so glassy we can watch the rising tide slowly cover the cobbles at the waterline. Tiny crabs scuttle from rock to rock and little sculpins sit in tide pools as we stroll the beach.
Tonight is our last evening together before we head in to Ketchikan tomorrow, and we gather on Deception to toast our journey and look back on the trip. While only a week long it has been such a full and eventful trip that it seems a lifetime ago that we left Juneau!