We picked our anchors for the last time and headed out on our way to Taku Harbor. New icebergs had moved down the fjord over night to the mouth of the inlet. One especially massive and turquoise blue iceberg was the last we passed as we left the cove. Perched atop was a majestic bald eagle as if it were the sentinel, there to wish us a safe journey and one last amazing photo opportunity!
The glacier towered over our boats and as I looked back at the flotilla, the scale of its enormity was evident. It was a sight to behold, a fitting culmination to one of the most outstanding sites in Alaska.
The travel day to Taku was a short and comfortable journey. Off of the Midway Islands we spotted a few harbor porpoises but they are timid and keep their distance making them difficult to capture in a photograph. As we entered Taku, Deception tied up first and then called each boat in one at a time. Once everyone was tied up, some ventured out in their dinghies to set their crab pots and try their luck one last time. Mei came by later with two large crab (Navigator was clearly not done fishing!) and Andy gladly boiled up a big pot of water, cleaned and prepared the last catch.
Chris went for a walk into the woods and was delighted when he came upon a rare Spotted Coralroot orchid which is generally not seen at latitudes above Prince of Wales Island. This is a saprophytic plant which has no green leaves for photosynthesis so derives its nutrients from decaying organic matter. Its spotted lip distinguishes it from the more common Western Coralroot.
That evening, at eighteen hundred hours, everyone gathered for a final farewell. There was plenty of laughter and shared stories. Everyone agreed they had never seen so many humpback whales in one day as we did in Frederick Sound. Together, we all watched a slideshow of our journey and relived the past ten days of our collective spectacular experiences on our cruise. It has been a lovely and very memorable vacation.
Tomorrow we head to Juneau where we will part ways. How wonderful it has been to get out into the wilderness of SE Alaska and to spend time at a slower pace with our loved ones.