2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 6, Day 5 Foot Island to Thomas Bay | NW Explorations


2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 6, Day 5 Foot Island to Thomas Bay

Morning broke with flat calm water, no wind and clear skies for our trip south in Fredrick Sound to Thomas Bay. Deception pulled the crab pot before departure, it had six small Pacific Lyre crabs, so after taking a picture we released them back to their habitat. We passed by the Five Finger lighthouse, one of the first two lighthouses built in Alaska in 1902. It was built in an Art Deco style typical for lighthouses at that time but unique to Alaska.

We had a few whale sightings in the distance and four Dall’s porpoise, but none were close enough to photograph so we carried on our way. Linda and Chris on Arctic Star decided to take a detour to Farragut Bay to see what it was like, and they will catch up to the rest of the fleet later. The four fishermen on Athena decided to go straight to Petersburg for the night to buy more bait, they will join us tomorrow before we travel through Wrangell Narrows.

Entering Thomas Bay is a bit like Tracy Arm with a large terminal moraine at the opening marked with buoys. There was essentially no current as we entered, and the color of the water changed to an opaque turquoise due to the glacial flour from Baird Glacier. The four remaining boats all decided to anchor out behind Spray Island closer to the path that we will take up to the Cascade Creek Waterfall.

Once anchored, Annette, Clint and Jane kayaked over to the falls while Kit and Pam off Pamelican and Bob, Kathy Roper and Susan off Sea Stock as well as John from Theresa all took “Big Red” into shore. We hiked up to the falls through the mature forest of spruce, hemlock, ferns, wild blueberries and moss covering every inch of surface. The trail is well maintained by the forest service and makes for an easy quarter mile hike to the falls. From there the trail starts to climb up some large rock block steps. Without a railing, and the steep slope makes it a bit more challenging to get to the wooden bridge that spans the roaring creek. About a third mile further the trail is still well maintained but after that, it becomes less groomed and more challenging. We all took the opportunity for photographs and then returned to our boats. Following that adventure, everyone chose to explore the bay in dinghies and kayaks.

Bald eagles, ravens and crows could all be seen and heard on shore while marbled murrelets, gulls and the occasional harbor seal were in the water. While kayaking near the shore, Jane spotted a porcupine drinking from a small stream on the beach. The day closed as calmly as it had started with a red sun setting over the mountains surrounding the bay. Tomorrow we are off to Wrangle.

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