The fleet lined up behind Mother Goose as we left Tracy Arm. We favored the eastern side of Stephens Passage along Point Astley to get a better look at the wild shoreline. The Deception crew had informed the fleet that they had ordered up a party date with the humpbacks at 10:00 a.m. at Point Hugh. We crossed over Stephens Passage towards the point, but no whales. Abe on Arctic Star chided, “Wasn’t there supposed to be a party? Where are all the whales?” We reminded him that we were early and the party wouldn’t start for another 15 minutes.
Just a bit south of Point Hugh at approximately 10:00 we saw our first humpback whale blows. We throttled back and for the next hour and a half, we were surrounded by humpbacks; pec-slapping, breaching, tail-slapping, tail lobbing and sounding with arched backs followed by flukes lifted high before the deeper dive. It was quite a show! Everything and more than what we had promised. The fleet were spread out over a large area with each boat enjoying their own show. We traveled slowly through the area which extended at least 8 miles. Hundreds of blows surrounded us in every direction, near and far. Everyone was aware that they had just witnessed an awesome and unforgettable event!
At Point Pybus we passed through the San Juan Islands, a beautiful little rocky archipelago. Shortly thereafter, we reached our destination, Cannery Cove. A tidy resort nestled at the base of dramatic mountains rising steeply from the water’s edge. Verdant green vegetation with vertical craggy rock valleys that enclosed white waterfalls cascading hundreds of feet. At the head of the bay a large flat shelf of sedge grass with a meandering stream running through it, perfect bear habitat.
We unloaded the kayaks and saw a brown bear along the shore exactly where it was expected. Sydney, Megan, Rick and Jane went kayaking slowly to get a better look at the bear but it was timid and walked back into the privacy of the woods. We continued up the creek watching salmon and harbor seals swim under our kayaks. The sedge grass was high above our heads obstructing our ability to view the grassy meadow, the water was getting shallow and the area was clearly bear habitat. Although we all wanted to continue up the stream, good judgement prevailed and we explored other parts of the bay instead.
As we explored other bays, we saw 5 or 6 eagles taking turns eating a freshly caught salmon and a mink swimming towards the beach with a bit of seaweed in its mouth. After a few hours of kayaking, we returned to the boats and heard reports from others in the fleet, who had gone on dingy adventures, of a mama bear and her two cubs walking on shore. We were relieved that we had followed our good judgement.