2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 7, Day 18 Port McNeil to Forward Harbor | NW Explorations


2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 7, Day 18 Port McNeil to Forward Harbor

I awoke early this morning to capture the beautiful red sunrise. Today Julie from Athena will fly home from Port McNeil to Portland via Vancouver because she needs to get back to teacher meetings before starting her year teaching. Julie Joined us the day we arrived in Haida Gwaii and was able to share the amazing experiences in Gwaii Haanas with her mom. Barbara and Bob and Sharon. Julie will take the ferry to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island and she is in for a treat!  We will cruise past Alert Bay to view the totems and quaint island town built along the water’s edge but Julie will be able to experience it firsthand.

Alert Bay is home to the second tallest totem located near their cultural museum. A boardwalk runs along the shoreline and a cemetery with numerous totems is visible from the water as all the totems face the water. After a short pause to view the bay, we continued on our way. We passed a few humpbacks, but most were resting and quite distant. Sea otters entertained us with their playful antics, and one was floating with its lunch on its belly; sea urchin was on the menu and a nearby gull floated by, hopeful for some scraps.

Forward Harbor is a long inlet about 2 or 3 miles long. We made our way about halfway in and built a raft with Sea Stock and Pamelican anchoring out. Many of us went for a paddle when all of a sudden, a great blue heron flew very close, providing an opportunity to capture photos of its slow graceful wing beats. After the paddle, Barb, Sharon, Pam, and Jane went ashore to look for the trail through the forest to the other side of the point. The trail was a well-marked bear path that ended on a sandy beach where we strolled around talking and laughing.

On our return through the forest the four of us were joined by Nate and Oliver when we heard a loud HUFF! It repeated a few times, so we decided to turn around and go back to the beach to give this bear more space. The last huff was followed by laughter, and we realized we had been duped! It was Bob from Sea Stock imitating a bear! With much relief we all laughed, and Oliver claimed that he was not fooled. The six of us carried on and arrived at our floating kayaks which we had securely tied before the hike but Barbara had apparently not secured her boots as they had floated off shore. Jane was able to retrieve the boots and as we prepared to paddle back to the boats, Karen and Bob emerged from the woods. They decided not to go to the beach on the other side when they saw a black bear where the trail meets the beach… was it karma? We all had a good laugh and headed back to our perspective boats for the night.

That evening, Jane took Sharon, Marnie, and Andy up the head of the bay to see if we could spot any wildlife. The tide was high and most of the grasses were submerged so no bear were about but we did see a flock of Canada geese emerge from the grass. We returned to the boats in time for dinner and another calm night of sweet sleep.

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