2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 1A, Day 9 – Lagoon Cove to Kwatsi Bay | NW Explorations


2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 1A, Day 9 – Lagoon Cove to Kwatsi Bay

The fleet awoke to 3 pods of harbor porpoise fishing in the quiet and calm cove, listening to their breaths accentuated across the water. We sipped our coffee and prepared to toss lines for a 9am departure, taking in the last moments of our visit to Lagoon Cove.

Getting underway we reentered Knight Inlet, named after the British naval officer, John Knight, in 1792. The inlet was first charted by William Broughton, George Vancouver’s second in command, but home to many First Nation communities before these explorers ever visited. The 25,739 acres of winding islands and islets within Knight Inlet include three original Mamalilikulla settlements, with rights to the land having been taken from their jurisdiction nearly a century ago. In November of 2021, the land has been declared by the Mamalilikulla First Nation community an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area. The community expressed that the land itself was not being protected in ways that served the resident animals and native plants in a responsible and respectful way. They are now  intending to take a significant role in protecting, conserving, and sustainably managing this newfound IPCA.

Paying such diligent attention to our environment, noticing everything from waterfalls and waterfowl, we’ve had an opportunity to spot some pretty incredible scenes of local wildlife. Alongside Tribune Channel we spotted a very rare and silly sight of a harbor seal rafting on a log smack in the middle of the channel. Our fleet cruised around the moment in hopes to keep from disturbing the scene, but after we waked by them, the seal slipped right back into the water.

With a very low hanging fog, the overcasted treelines were highlighted in a way that made our cruise into Kwatsi bay feel very welcoming. The granite rock structures surrounding the bay dropped directly into the water and made for an incredible bowl affect around us. Kwatsi Bay was a marina owned by a family who ran and sustained these docks for over 30 years. Just recently retiring and selling the grounds to new owners it’s now under reservation and is a very quiet destination. Formerly inhabited as a halibut fishing station and trapping ground of the Kwiksootaninuk, there is a lot of rich history in this bay.

Even with the option of protected anchorage, we found that the nearby Watson Cove would be a better destination for the night. Once decided, we all made our rounds exploring the bay and headed off to our next destination.

Watson Cove is just a stones throw from the famous Lacey Falls, and harbors an ancient giant that brought chills to the small group of us that romped through the dense loamy forest to find it. Through a rustic trail overgrown yet holding proof of recent visitors, both forest dwelling and vessel dwelling, stands a 1,000-year-old cedar tree. It’s existence was brought to light by Billy Proctor’s Full Moon, Flood Tide.

Cedars are the official tree of Canada and are very widespread in the Pacific Northwest. Historically, western red cedars have been a very important plant for First Nation communities that thrived in these rich and lush coastal regions. Known as a the “Tree of Life” by the Coast Salish communities, cedars offer much more than just meets the eye. From clothing to totem poles, canoes to fishing nets, cedars became the jack of all trades for life sustaining use. Known to live over 1,500 years, western red cedar became an object of spiritual reverence and it was believed that when not harvested properly the person who felled the tree would be cursed by the other neighboring cedar trees.

After our visit paying respects to such an astounding ancient giant, we explored the flanking waterfalls of Watson Cove and spent time alongside their power, sitting in the mists. After heavy rains these falls can roar, feathering across the slick granite, wearing the stone with their persistent flow. These stunning cascades are not only incredible to observe, but this natural phenomenon can assist geologists and hydrologists in determining a region’s fall line and underlying rock structures.

Taken aback by the beauty, we all wound down with the sound of the waterfalls lulling us to sleep, welcoming in a soothing sunset. Today’s cruise was a perfect example of a PNW spring day, greeted by greys in the morning and ending our evening in a water-colored sunset. As we near the end of our trip, it’s quite special to feel everyone growing more grateful for the experiences we’ve shared together as a feet and feel all the quality time exchanged between each vessel’s crew.

P.S. Is Alaska on your bucket list? We can take you there! Email us to reserve your spot on our 2023 Mother Goose AK Flotilla. charters@nwexplorations.com 

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