2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 7, Day 15 Alexander Inlet to Shearwater Harbor | NW Explorations


2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 7, Day 15 Alexander Inlet to Shearwater Harbor

The departure was delayed this morning by half an hour due to fog. We slowly retraced our sinuous track back out of Alexander Inlet and in the silence, we heard a loud quacking or gull-like wailing which turned out to be red-throated loons.

The water inside Tolmie Channel was glassy calm and at the juncture with Finlayson Channel an unnoticed humpback suddenly breached just off Deceptions bow; we noticed it! On the point of Sarah Island is Boat Bluff light station, notable for is three colored lights to help guide boats safely through this “interaction” of waterways.

Klemtu is a small indigenous village marked by a welcoming totem and white canoe at the ferry landing and a beautifully painted longhouse at the point of the village. Finlayson Channel is quite protected, but it opens into Milbanke Sound which is open to the Pacific Ocean and can be rather rough. Today, however, the seas were light and innocuous as we passed by Ivory Island light house. Since its construction in 1898, this lighthouse has been destroyed twice by tidal waves and survived a severe storm in 1998. Despite resignations of numerous keepers over the years, the lighthouse remains staffed to this day.

Seaforth Channel leads past Bella Bella’s interesting totems and lovely homes and continues into the protected Shearwater Harbor where we will refuel and restock before crossing Queen Charlotte Strait in two days. The entire flotilla decided to have dinner in the only restaurant in town. Built on the shore overlooking the harbor, it has a great location and good food too. After dinner, Chris and Jane walked on a short trail through a sphagnum bog and forested area. The trees in the bog are severely stunted but other unusual plants grow there like the tiny insect-eating sundew, colorful lichens, and delicate Ladies’ Tresses orchids.

Tomorrow we are headed to Fury Cove, a staging bay for boats intending to cross Queen Charlotte Sound, which is fully exposed to the Pacific Ocean north of Vancouver Island. There we watch the forecast and make plans for the crossing.

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