Crews assembled bright and early at the Salty Pantry for coffee and a scrumptious pastry before getting underway. Coffee cake and plum turn overs in hand, the fleet let loose our lines and headed up Fredrick Sound bound for Cannery Cove. Crews spread out looking for wildlife, keeping a keen eye out especially for whales! Fredrick Sound is a renowned destination for whale sightings for researchers and visitors alike. One such group of researchers, the Alaskan Whale Foundation, has partnered with the Juneau Lighthouse Association to house a research station at the Five Finger Lighthouse. Positioned on the southernmost island of the Five Finger Island Group, the Five Finger Lighthouse makes an ideal research station to study the foraging and social habits of the humpbacks of Fredrick Sound and Stephens Passage.
The morning sky was a cool grey and the placid seas provided perfect conditions for scanning the horizon for wildlife. Boats called out sea lions and harbor seals. A little later on, Patos spotted a group of rafting sea otters, ten of them, floating on their backs peacefully napping. Pigeon guillemots and marble murrelets dotted an otherwise calm sea. And then, just when our eyes were becoming sleepy from scanning the horizon, Discovery and Eldean came across a pod of orca! Two males, both with dorsal fins over 6 ft, moved smoothly from boat to boat. Trailing further abeam was a full-grown female, possibly mother, sister or aunt to the grown males. The three orcas spread out, moving among our boats, and then slowly worked their way back together. With each breath they propelled their powerful bodies through the water, exposing the white of their eye patch and then the unique pattern of their saddle patch before plunging below. Our boats, sat at idle, as crews came out on deck to take in the moment with awe.
That evening found our fleet anchored in the peaceful Cannery Cove, the lush, forested island mountains reflected in the calm waters. Several crews hopped in their dinghies to try their luck at crabbing. Deception had the pleasure of having the Grand Adventure crew over for dinner; we talked and laughed as the Alaskan scenery revolved around and around. Thank you again for your fantastic company Grand Adventure!