2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 4, Day 10 – Sandborn Canal to Thomas Bay | NW Explorations
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2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 4, Day 10 – Sandborn Canal to Thomas Bay

Leaving Sandborn Canal takes us through Fredrick’s Sound on our way to Thomas Bay. The seas were almost flat calm, perfect conditions for whale sightings and there were many! Breaching, tail lobbing, sounding dives as well as surface dives were all reported as we shared our experiences over the radio.

We stayed tight to the shoreline which had shell beaches, rocky cliffs and gentle grassy slopes all backed with lush green forests. Harbor seals were hauled out on rocky outcroppings and a variety of birds including eagles, common murres and even a hummingbird that buzzed Deception for about 20 minutes.

Thomas Bay is a large bay with North Baird Glacier in the northern arm. The water is milky with glacial flour and the bay, like most places in Alaska, is very large. We anchored and rafted at the south end of the bay tucked in behind Ruth Island. A convoy of five dinghies all traveled across the bay to Cascade Creek for a hike up to the waterfall.

The trail winds through old growth trees draped in thick blankets of moss and is decorated with bright green lichens. Mushrooms peek through the dense mosses on the forest floor and the large broad leaves of devil’s club spread out and reach for whatever sunlight may make its way through the dense canopy. Granite blocks are built into the steep hillside above the falls leading to a wooden bridge that spans the powerful “creek” as it gallops over the falls below. It’s a well-maintained trail but also a bit challenging in places, however, the view is spectacular and the power of the water rushing through the narrow gap under the bridge can be felt through the wooden rails.

Nicole guided a group composed of folks from Thea, Arctic Star and La Vida a bit further up the trail while Jane returned to the dinghies with the rest of the crews. Once we were all together again, we boarded our five dinghies and returned to the warmth of our respective boats for dinner and our last evening in the wilderness. Tomorrow we will have a relatively short travel across Fredrick Sound to Petersburg.

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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