Sitka is nestled on the west side of Baranof Island, surrounded by snowcapped mountains. It is a small city with a mixture of Native Alaskan, Russian and American influences. The Sitka National Historic Park is composed of over 100 acres of oceanside forested trails that wind through several Haida and Tlingit totem poles where silence is only broken by the sound of birds. The high-pitched call of eagles and the hollow kloc kloc of Ravens captures the spirit of Southeast Alaska.
It was a rainy day in Sitka as Leg 4 guests boarded their boats on Monday afternoon. By Tuesday the rain was intermittent, mixed with periods of sunshine. Provisioning is a busy time for all, making the orientation a welcome break for socializing and a chance to enjoy some fresh crab, appetizers and drinks.
Wednesday morning, we cast off our lines at 7:00am and set off for Appleton Cove. Within the first half hour we saw our first humpback whale, a pair of sea lions and numerous eagles. The tidal exchange would be 22 feet today so timing our passage through Sergius Narrows was critical as the currents can be quite strong.
As we cruised through the Narrows, a buoy leaned as a tug and barge traveled in the opposite direction adding to the challenge of navigation. The flotilla passed through the Narrows with ease, and we were able to enjoy more sea lions and humpback blows followed by lifted tail flukes just before they dove out of sight. A small flock of surf birds flew together in patterned flight that seemed almost choregraphed as they changed direction. We did get a short tail lobbing show from one humpback before leaving Peril Strait.
Entering Appleton Cove, each boat chose their anchorage while Bonum Vitae, Thea and Mojo rafted alongside Deception. Almost everyone was ready for a hike, with dingy-taxi service being required since the tide was falling fast, and dinghies would be left high and dry during the hike. We set off along the logging road and the walk provided more opportunities to socialize and get to know each other a bit more. We radioed for our Uber-dingy service to come pick us up and we headed back to our boats for a warm meal and restful sleep.
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. firstname.lastname@example.org