2021 Alaska Flotilla – Day 4 Leg 4 | NW Explorations
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2021 Alaska Flotilla – Day 4 Leg 4

Baranof Warm Springs to Red Bluff Bay

Morning broke at 3:30 a.m. and provided a serene photo-op of the crescent moon setting over Warm Springs Bay. Blessed with another sunny day, departure time was 8:00 a.m. and as the fleet gathered and prepared for a collective departure, a humpback whale kept us entertained while it calmly fed along the shore.

Just outside of the bay, the shoreline is fringed with craggy rock outcroppings banded in different colors. The craggy tops are light grey to almost white, followed by a line of black lichens forming a distinct band above the waterline. The Fucus seaweed forms the lowest golden-brown band interfacing with the blue water. It’s a common theme that always delights.

As we left Warm Springs, we turned south in Chatham Strait and remained along the coast which offered up beautiful views of the snow-capped mountains. Calm seas allowed for more humpback sightings of whales leisurely feeding. Later, three Dall’s porpoise joined Deception to play in our wake, darting and zig-zagging, making it virtually impossible to get a photograph. They are one of the fastest of the marine mammals and are capable of speeds up to 35 mph! As fast as they appeared, they were gone.

No chart was needed to identify Red Bluff Bay.  The rocky bluffs are almost treeless and rust-red in color. The magnesium-rich rocks make for poor soils that do not support large trees, making the bluffs stand out. As we turned into the fjord, we craned our necks to look up steep walls covered in thick forests cut by huge waterfalls.  Hanging valleys towered above us with numerous waterfalls cascading down the valley walls. At the head of the bay was a large stream with massive tree snags, creating the perfect salmon habitat, evidence to the power of the water that must exist in that stream during other times of the year.

Deception and Bonum Vitae both anchored with stern ties while the rest of the fleet found anchorages that suited them, each with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and waterfalls. Kayaks were shared and anyone who cared to, had a chance to experience the falls and the maze of massive trees at the mouth of the stream. Friendly folks on a nearby catamaran gave four GIANT Dungeness crab (eight inches across the carapace) to Mark on Bonum because they, “had too many”! Deception cooked them up and Bonum rewarded us with two of the crab, plenty to feed all four of us. With the evidence of crab, Finn and Matt set our pot to pick tomorrow morning before we leave for Bay of Pillars. Another outstanding day surrounded by S.E. wilderness!

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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