After the appropriate amount of coffee and a glance back at the quiet Cannery Cove, the fleet got under way headed for Petersburg via Frederick Sound. Fredrick Sound is renowned for its humpback populations and our fleet was not disappointed. Throughout the day the we spotted spouts and flukes on the horizon- different boats calling out “Off our port!” and “Starboard beam!” as we headed south. Early on, the fleet passed the Five Finger Group, a small group of islands located at the convergence of Frederick Sound and Stephens Passage. Perched on the southern most of the islands is the historic Five Finger Lighthouse, which has been withstanding winds and waves in service of mariners for over a century. The original wooden lighthouse built in 1902 burnt down, and replacement cement lighthouse, built in the art deco style of the 1930s, was standing strong and proud as we cruised passed. Today the lighthouse is automated and operated by the US Coast Guard, however, the lighthouse is seasonally occupied by a group of researchers studying the humpbacks that pass through Fredrick Sound. The Alaskan Whale Foundation has partnered with the Juneau Lighthouse Association to maintain a research station at Five Finger Lighthouse that includes a permanently deployed underwater microphone, called a hydrophone, to record and catalogue humpback vocalizations. The research coming from this dedicated group of scientists and students is at the forefront of the field, enriching and expanding what is known about humpbacks foraging and social dynamics. A big thank you from the crews of Mother Goose to all who operate the Five Finger Lighthouse for offering us safe passage and a window into the lives of the humpbacks that we cruise along side.
By late afternoon Mother Goose crews had their fenders down, lines tied off and rain gear on, and were off to explore the quaint fishing town of Petersburg. Referred to by some as Little Norway, Petersburg is an active fishing town with a rich Norwegian heritage. Crews meandered along the boardwalk taking in the sites of the city. We stopped at the Sons of Norway Hall which has in its courtyard constructed a beautiful bronze monument dedicated to mariners lost at sea. Many crews were keen to provision and along the way to the store we enjoyed the distinct Norwegian flair of the town. Storefronts and houses proudly displayed Norwegian flags and were bedecked with rosemalings paintings, a Norwegian flower design. Many crews decided to sample some of the local fare and ate dinner in town. Discovery’s crew enjoyed some pub fare at Ingas Galley while the guys from Eldean opted for a slice at Papa Bears Pizzeria. Deception’s crew has the distinct pleasure of having Grand Adventure’s crew over for dinner. In particular, we were delighted to greet Alison, who joined her family aboard Grand Adventure that afternoon. Welcome Alison, we are happy to have your company in the fleet!