2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 3, Day 9 – Warm Springs to Appleton Cove | NW Explorations

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2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 3, Day 9 – Warm Springs to Appleton Cove

We awoke to another calm day, this time with patchy overcast skies more typical of Alaska which the guests on this leg were unaccustomed to since it has been sunny every day! We cruised north favoring the shores of Baranof Island. At the southern tip of Catherine Island near Point Lull, a pod of orcas surfaced on either side of the flotilla, six on the starboard and two on the port. A large male with a tremendously tall dorsal fin was traveling with a female. The remaining six seemed to include another male, although his dorsal wasn’t nearly as tall, and some females with one or two smaller calves. They were southbound while we were northbound, which allowed all boats in the fleet to idle back and enjoy watching them.

Appleton Cove lies off Rodman Bay and is surrounded by tall hemlock and spruce forests. The bay provides protected waters with relatively flat shores and beaches with approximately five miles of abandoned, isolated logging roads making it well suited for hiking. Sixteen of us from Koa, Mojo, Thea and La Vida all went hiking across the exposed mudflats. We enjoyed looking at animal tracks of Great Blue heron, Sitka deer and brown bear. The tide had been receding for about five hours, providing a rough estimate of the timing of the tracks.

Among the purple Fire weed blossoms, we gathered and ate sweet, plump golden Salmon berries, one of the earliest berries to ripen. The logging road was relatively clear with beautiful Dwarf dogwood blossoms, Black Lilly, Northern ground cone and delicate Sea watch flowers. We noticed evidence of springboard notches in the long-ago logged stumps covered in thick matts of moss. Lungwort and fishnet lichens provided examples of the organisms that form unusual symbiotic relationships between algae and fungi. As we hiked, we had time to get better acquainted as we shared stories and experiences.

Chris and Gary each ran a taxi service to deliver us all back to our respective boats where we settled in for a warm meal, cold drinks, and another restful evening.

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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