2022 Alaska Flotilla - Leg 1B, Day 3 - Codville Lagoon to Shearwater - NW Explorations
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2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 1B, Day 3 – Codville Lagoon to Shearwater

Spending the morning in Codville Lagoon, some crew had left their crab pots out overnight in hopes to wake up to a catch. When they cruised over early this morning it was an exciting find to retrieve their pots holding catch that had wandered in during the wee hours of the night. Our lead boat gladly prepared the crab underway and handed it back in time for lunch after our arrival in Shearwater. Today’s 13 nautical mile cruise puts us at a quick 3-hour trip, and we are all looking forward to enjoying Shearwater and all it will have to offer.

Along our cruise we can still see the effects of the new moon on the low tides as we were amongst a wonderland of colors of bright sea stars and multitudes of activity from varying sea life. We crossed paths with a juvenile Common Loon and watched this young bird present as much grace diving for fish as their striking elders. Common Loons can grow up to 2 feet long, with a wingspan reaching almost 4 feet, and can weight over 9 pounds. These robust dimensions make their elegance that much more impressive.

Loon’s nest and sometimes winter in wooded lakes, but most often spend their winter months atop bays and oceans. Often found as solitary creatures, they are very prevalent in the pacific northwest and it’s always very soothing to be in their presence. Observing them diving with little splash, knowing they can reach depths of up to 250 feet on one dive, is just another reason why loons are such captivating creatures.

Pulling into Shearwater was a very exciting sight for the fleet. This is our first docking of the trip and will be our last until we touch down in Prince Rupert on our 9th day. One by one each vessel made their way into the marina and our lead crew got everyone tied to the dock and secured for the night, stopping by again a little later to let everyone know that we were planning an evening dock party. Once settled, each crew paid a visit up to Shearwater’s grocer, restaurants, and quaint marina town to snag anything they needed to restock or look for anything they may be wishing that they had.

Shearwater resort on Denny Island is now proudly owned by the Heiltsuk First Nations community. Their intent in purchasing this property is to honor First Nation’s reconciliation, showing that the hard work and joint leadership of their community is paying off, with the acquisition of lands and new businesses, and the creation of economic opportunities for their members.

This property was originally used as an antisubmarine bomber reconnaissance post in 1941 and then quickly abandoned in 1944. However, a large portion of this property was purchased in 1947 by a former marine superintendent who felt the importance of setting up a marine service business at Shearwater and spent 20 years developing it. Their son then took over what the family has spent so long building and nurtured it for 53 more years, being very proud and excited to hand off on this legacy to friends and family he has made with the Heiltsuk Nation.

After stowing away provisions and sharing late afternoon explorations of the town, it was perfecting timing for our dock party to get underway. We shared our festivities amongst not only our own fleet members but any other families and crew on the docks that were interested in joining us! Fresh baked bread, homemade dips, and generous contributions were offered to the celebration, and it was very fun to see everyone share space together, getting to know each other that much more.

Once the dock was cleaned up and the fleet began to wrap up their nights, a few of us wandered back up the trails and visited Shearwater’s local muskeg for a sunset exploration. Muskegs are similar to marshes but are unique in that they occur over dense layers of peat and are more comparable to bogs. Most muskegs and peatlands in Canada are less than 10,000 years old and are present in areas of poor water drainage that were covered by the last glaciation. Plants decompose slowly in wet, cold, and acidic environments and when they do, they form a layer of very spongey earth, called peat. These unique environments are home to even more unique vegetation including Sphagnum mosses, sedges, grasses and shrubs, and stunted coniferous trees.

However, one of the most incredible plants to call muskeg environments their home, are Sundews. Due to Muskegs lacking limiting nutrients, the evolutionary ability for plants to absorb important nutrients from other sources has been accomplished in astounding ways. These small insect eating plants have sticky red tentacles that can capture small-bodied bugs such as mosquitos, midges, and gnats. Sundews posses such an incredible superpower to use the digestive enzymes within their sticky “dew” to dissolve nutrients out of the insects caught in their adhesive. Known as “many hearts” by the Haida First Nation community, sundews have also been coined as good luck for fishing, and their sap is known to contain an antibiotic and can treat a handful of illnesses.

Our time in Shearwater has been very good to us, and we all basked in the sunset as the night wound down, tucking in early for our travels tomorrow. We have a 7-hour travel day towards Bottleneck Inlet, planning to head out of Shearwater at 7am. This departure time may sound early but starting our journey in the morning’s calm offers us plenty of time to settle in, explore, and fully enjoy our fleet’s next anchorage location.

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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