Low soft clouds rested in the hills surrounding the glassy flat waters of Snug Cove. Our route today would take us across Stephens Passage North to Tracy Arm Cove. As we slowly worked our way through the low-lying islands, we saw harbor seals resting on the beaches and bald eagles perched on driftwood. As they approach their landing destination, they raise their wings behind them to slow their decent and reach their yellow feet forward towards their perch, it happens relatively slowly and allows their graceful movements to be appreciated.
Almost out of the rocky passage but before increasing to cruising speed, we all began noticing humpback whales on the edges of the fog. Maintaining our slow speed, we watched them silently appear and disappear into the fog. Between Gambier Island and Point Hugh, the fog had lifted, and we had to throttle back to idle as we were amid numerous humpbacks clearly visible. We all watched for about an hour as the calmly fed and dived. In situations where whales are in the area, the best practice is to remain idle because their movements are unpredictable. Sometimes they surface unexpectedly within feet of the boat, dive, and surface much further away.
After the noon whale show we continued onto Tracy Arm Cove. As we approached Holkham Bay, a few ice burgs hinted we were nearing our destination. The entry to Tracy Arm is marked with two canister buoys that mark the narrow channel over the terminal moraine. The depth changes dramatically from over six hundred feet up to sixty feet as we pass over the moraine created by the glacier thousands of years prior when ice filled all of Tracy Arm down to the entry.
Once at anchorage/raft, groups ventured out in their dinghies to check out the massive blue icebergs just outside of the cove. There is a reef that the icebergs often ground upon as the tide ebbs. Bob, Kim, Marilyn, and Ray were expressing excitement from their dinghy as they had just witnessed the grounding and breaking of the ice at the bottom which quickly rose to the surface of the water all around them. Trey, Gigi, Camille, Bennett, and Jane all ventured closer in kayaks to get a better look.
It’s not until you’re up close you realize the scale of these bergs. They can be massive, and they demand a respectful distance due to their tendency to break off bits or roll over with little warning. While the bergs are bright blue, the ice that broke off from below them is crystal clear like glass. Bennett found a smaller bergie-bit with a hole in it. He threaded his kayak line through it with the intension of herding it back to Bonum Vitae. It didn’t take long before he realized its mass was more than anticipated and he released it. The paddlers continued around the bay exploring and bird watching Scoters, Pigeon Guillemots, Terns and various types of gulls.
Once everyone had received their 10,000 year old bergie bits to enjoy with their favorite beverage and/or use in their coolers, we all settled in for a warm dinner and another calm evening with anticipation of the tide-water glacier show tomorrow.
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