2021 Alaska Flotilla – Day 5 Leg 4 | NW Explorations


2021 Alaska Flotilla – Day 5 Leg 4

Red Bluff to Bay of Pillars

Before setting off from our comfortable anchorage, Finn went out to pull the crab pot and was rewarded with six massive male crabs reminiscent of the ones we ate last night. As we all made our way out of the fjord out to Chatham Strait, the clouds teased us with one last look at the towering rock pinnacles that surrounded the anchorage. Chatham was relatively calm as we made our way across towards Bay of Pillars on Kuiu Island.

As we approached the entrance to the Explorer Bay, a pod of 4 or 5 humpbacks surfaced closely along Deception’s starboard side as if to guide us through the last bit of our short journey. They were too close for the telephoto lens, so we quickly switched to the other camera. On the southern point of the Bay of Pillars is an old cannery and what looks like a lodge but is actually private property. The bay is very wide with a collection of coves and inlets. Gravel beaches backed by sedges line the shores, perfect black bear habitat as brown bears do not reside on Kuiu Island.

Each boat chose its own anchorage site and Eldean rafted beside Deception on a shore tie. Not long after were settled, a landing craft came along side Deception and a friendly man introduced himself as Allen and his golden retriever, “Juneau”. Allen owned the “lodge” that was his home and invited all of us to come over and check out the property and cannery ruins. Diana and Jane had an excursion planned for the beach and later Matt and Chris picked us up in the dingy. We all went down to Allen’s place and checked out the ruins with “Juneau” as our guide. Jane found a black bear skull and Allen allowed her to keep it for her collection at high school.

On the ride back to Deception, we spotted a black bear on the shore, although we did not crowd it, it seemed wary of us and made its way back into the woods. A few sea otters popped their heads up but they were shy and difficult to photograph. As we prepared dinner, another black bear was spotted on shore and made for good dinner entertainment.

Later in the evening, Rick and Floyd took their dingy into the inside lagoon.  Jane and Chris followed and we were all surprised at how much bigger the lagoon and channels were as compared to the chart!  Outstanding estuary habitat for dear, moose, bear, wolf, sea otters, mink, birds and fish, especially forage fish and juvenile salmon.

P.S. Is Alaska on your bucket list? We can take you there! Reserve your spot on our 2022 Mother Goose AK Flotilla today. 

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