2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 4, Day 11 – Thomas Bay to Petersberg | NW Explorations

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2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 4, Day 11 – Thomas Bay to Petersberg

A light low-lying misty fog blanketed Thomas Bay this morning as we departed. Although the mountain tops were shrouded, we could still see the Baird glacier as we exited the mouth of the bay. The journey was calm and uneventful until, about halfway there we spotted a fairly large pod of orcas! We slowed down and they put on quite a show with up-side-down tail slapping, A few tail lobs and lots of active surfacing. There were females, a calf and one particularly large male. The male’s dorsal fin exceeded 6 feet tall and had a wavy trailing edge. They remained at the surface and continued from the front of the flotilla where they were spotted, all the way to the last boat, providing us all with an unexpected, delightful treat!

As we neared Petersberg, purse seiner fishing boats laden with nets on deck were headed out for an opening. The blue icefields of La Conte glacier resting in the mountains above could be seen through the clouds made a stunning backdrop for the fishing boats. Resting on a big red buoy marking the entrance of Wrangell Narrows were five or six lazy Stellar sea lions hauled out on the narrow edge of the buoy. It’s quite surprising to see how such large animals able to jump up four feet above them onto such a narrow platform!

Petersberg is a charming town of about 3,500 residents built along Wrangell Narrows. Many of the buildings are built atop tall pilings to account for the massive tidal changes. The economy is based on fishing and fish processing. The original settlers of this town were largely Norwegian and the town still reflects their heritage. The original location for the town was chosen to take advantage of the proximity to ice from the La Conte glacier for preserving the fish catch.

Petersberg is our destination before most of our guests depart. This group was a very social, lively and keen to do most any activity. It will be sad to see them go. We shared amazing wildlife adventures and I look forward to continuing with Bonum Vitae and Koa Lanai, who will continue along with us on the Leg 5.

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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