2021 Alaska Flotilla – Day 2 Leg 2 | NW Explorations
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2021 Alaska Flotilla – Day 2 Leg 2

Klag Bay to Stag Bay

We wound our way back out through the many small islands and rocks this morning, cruising close to the shoreline where lichen covered hemlock and spruce boughs touched the calm water. Sea otters floated on their backs around the kelp beds, some with fluffy pups on their bellies. Most did not seem to mind our Flotilla passing by and kept about their morning business of eating and grooming.

Back out in the open pacific today the swell had grown to 8-10 ft, but there was less wind chop and it was a smoother ride than the day before. The boats spread out and rode the rolling waves, starting to get used to the rhythm of the swell. We came across multiple large bait balls where diving birds like cormorants, Rhinoceros auklets and murres had corralled a school of fish up to the surface to feed. A large flock of gulls and at least 10 bald eagles were getting in on the action from above. Then we started to see the humpbacks feeding in the area as well! We watched as they’d surface, spout and dive again.

As we turned from Lisianski Strait into Stag Bay, we were completely blown away by the scenery. Stag Bay is a stunning fjord that cuts a couple of miles into the mountainous Chichagof Island. Steep granite walls with vegetation clinging to every crevice framed both sides of the bay. Scattered snow covered the tops of the mountains and in some of the ravines the snow extended almost to the water. Snowmelt waterfalls cascaded down all around and at the head of the bay a large meadow and mud flat extended where the river met the sea. We marveled at the glacially sculpted landscape and the power of ice to shape rock.

We set up a six boat raft on one side of the bay near the meadow. Inspired by seeing a large king salmon caught by a fishing charter boat right near our raft, our crews set out with their gear immediately. While the salmon eluded us, we did catch several nice rockfish. This evening Bonum Vitae hosted a happy hour gathering onboard their boat. We had a great time getting to know one another, sharing stories, jokes and some delicious appetizers. We were also celebrating Bob & Lauren’s 55th wedding anniversary this evening!

After we dispersed back to our own boats for dinner, deception spotted a couple of bears close by in the meadow. We watched with binoculars from the bows of our boats as the bear foraged along through the sedges. The crews from Eldean and Bonum Vitae hopped in their dinghies and motored over for a closer look. At one point, three good sized brown bear all came out on the same small section of beach and jockeyed for position in the best feeding areas. It was fascinating to watch them interact and sort out the social structure of who could feed where.

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