Our departure from Ketchikan today was marked by blue skies and warm sun. The beautiful weather gave the day a mellow, relaxed tone. Amidst the good feeling and fun, the biggest controversy of the day became, kelp; yes or no?
As we departed Bar Harbor, Tongass Narrows was bubbling with its usual morning hubbub. A couple of cruise ships headed into town as a couple of float planes headed out. Fishermen were warming up their deep-voiced diesel skiffs in preparation for a king salmon opening. The Alaska ferry Malaspina passed by and the fleet got a special treat. It turns out that Bonnie and Noel’s daughter is an officer on the ship, so we were able to have our ferry questions answered with an insider’s authority.
The humpback whales have made it back to Southeast Alaska for the summer, hooray! There was a small pod feeding in Behm Canal as we sailed past and three more appeared near Ship Island. These “fluked” us, diving to feed. When they reappeared, they were traveling in the opposite direction and gave the crews of Eldean and Grand Adventure exciting views.
As seems to happen with charming regularity in the small world of Southeast Alaska, we met a friend puttering around in his dinghy in the channel leading into Meyers Chuck. He immediately offered to be our harbormaster and we quickly had all six boats in the flotilla tied to the dock.
The crew of Discovery tried their hands at fishing, while others chose a nap as the best way to celebrate the sun. Much of the flotilla walked on the forest trail to the beach. The berry bushes were in full bloom and that’s not all. Paul discovered two species of tiny native orchids on the forest floor. At the beach the discovery was polar opposite of the plant world, a yards-long piece of bull kelp.
When Cassie opened the gallery for us after the hike, we found among the artwork, jars of spicy pickled bull kelp for sale. Well, who could resist! Having just made the acquaintance of this dramatic plant, we felt that in the interest of science we needed to buy a jar and sample it. The kelp looked like green sliced olives and tasted of cinnamon and cloves. With plenty of laughter, we debated the merits of kelp as a condiment, with a slight margin for the “yes” side. There was no debate about what a special day we had had.