2020 Alaska Flotilla: Leg 4: Day 6: Pavlof Harbor to Warm Springs Bay | NW Explorations
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2020 Alaska Flotilla: Leg 4: Day 6: Pavlof Harbor to Warm Springs Bay

Leaving Pavloff we experienced another unusually calm day in Chatham Strait. As we passed Peril Strait, Chris congratulated the flotilla on their circumnavigation of Chichagof Island. Before reaching Warm Springs Bay, Navigator decided to take a quick detour to get a closer look at the Kasnyku Falls which cascades 300 to 400 feet before reaching the sea.

The rest of us continued on to Warm Springs Bay and by the time we rounded the corner to enter the bay, Navigator had rejoined the fleet.  We continued up toward the small hamlet of Warm Springs when it became apparent that the dock was already at capacity with fishing boats rafted together.  There was a wind building that was blowing directly into the harbor so we decided to take refuge in another arm off the bay.  Upon entering, it was immediately calm and evident that we had chosen the perfect anchorage.

Most of the flotilla chose to anchor and stern-tie to the shore. Once settled, kayaks and dinghies were launched.  Although there was a light rain, it didn’t deter Holden and Joe as they both set out on their own adventure exploring the area. Meanwhile, Bailey and Jane set off for the shore in their kayaks.  While kayaking up into the nearby stream, Jane saw a spotted sand piper mother and her 4 chicks.  The mother scurried back and forth, dipping up and down, calling to her chicks as each made its way across the rocks and found safety in the belly feathers of their mama. Only their little yellow legs could be seen sticking out from under her warm feathers.

As Bailey and Jane kayaked along the shoreline under the trees, we were discussing rockweed and its amazing powers of surviving 90% desiccation.  Suddenly Bailey calmly remarked, “There is a bear right there”.  Bailey pointed at a brown bear along the shore not 20 feet away! As we each noticed the other, too close for comfort, the bear gave a loud gruff and retreated into the forest a bit while we quickly paddled backwards into deeper water! Once a respectful distance was established, the bear soon returned to the shore to graze allowing us a rare opportunity to view a brown bear from the safety of our kayaks.  We radioed the fleet and Mindy decided to join us. Thea was perfectly anchored in position for the best viewing. Slowly, the bear ambled along the shoreline and after about 25 minutes, eventually walked into the woods and out of sight. The show was over, we were wet and it was time to turn in for the night.  We all headed back to our respective boats, giddy with the experience with the bear, and settled in for a calm evening.

When we awoke the next morning, we had new company, one of the fishing boats decided our anchorage was more comfortable than the dock.  We had to agree, we had chosen another great anchorage.

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