“Gusts up to 40 knots!” Noel announced over the radio when we got up Friday morning. Mother Goose awoke a little windswept but happily hooked in the sturdy mud bottom of McMicking Inlet. With a bit of effort, the fleet washed and stowed our anchors and got underway. Today we made the 65 nautical miles from McMicking Inlet to Baker Inlet. Todd and Judy, captaining Inception, decided to take a slightly longer route to search for whales. Lucky goslings; both Inception and the rest of the fleet encountered whales in our route. The keen eyes on Patos called out “Blows on the horizon!” and the fleet slowed to watch 4 juvenile humpbacks feeding along a tideline. Humpbacks, and other predators of small bait fish, utilize the underwater topography to aid their feeding efforts. In this instance the steep rise in the ocean floor creates an upwelling, a pulse of water effectively collecting and condensing small schooling fish closer to the surface- all the better for lunge feeding! Dall’s Porpoise, small, rotund cetaceans with sharp black and white markings, darted in and out of the tideline feeding along with the humpbacks. Horizon awash with the misty breath of the cetaceans, Mother Goose watched the graceful feeding until time and tide required us to move on.
The entrance to our anchorage at Baker Inlet was through Watts Narrows, a sliver of a channel, doted with rocks most passable at slack tide. The fleet arrived just in time to make a smooth pass through the narrows and into Baker Inlet. Everyone anchored out around the glass calm waters of the cove. Meg and Fiona hopped in the kayaks and took a spin along the grassy shoreline spotting harbor seals and common loons. Todd and Judy joined the kayaking fun soon after and leisurely paddled about the still cove. That evening Jordan called out a grizzly bear across the inlet. A number of us grabbed the cameras, leaped into our dinghies and putted across the way. At 60 yards we cut the engines and floated in silence, watching a massive, graceful male grizzly use his exquisitely long claws to delicately dig sedge grass. The bear, undoubtedly hungry from hibernation, paid us no mind. He ate, we watched until dusk became dark. These quiet intrusions, a glimpse into the life of the wild, are the moments you remember for a lifetime.