ALASKA 2015 LEG 1 – CULPEPPER LAGOON | NW Explorations



Culpepper Lagoon is a magical place. Rare thing perhaps, to find consensus among a group of 18 boaters, but indeed we all agree.

John aboard Ajax, who is a veteran Mother Goose skipper comes on over the radio as we are traveling into Kynoch Inlet to admit to mate Rowan aboard Deception that his last Mother Goose experience was so memorable he didn’t really believe anything could beat the experience.  But here we are, he says, and this beats it.

We left Rescue Bay this morning with misty northwestern BC coastal weather.  The water and forest are muted shades of grey and green.  In Mathieson Channel we hug the shoreline.  We are perhaps 50 yards from the Channel walls but in several hundred feet of water.  Melissa and Steve aboard Navigator ask over the radio for a depth sounder check. Melissa requests that Deception snap a picture of their depth sounder for friends back home in south Texas, where apparently, 50 feet of water is deep.  The depth finder aboard Navigator has long since quit.  Deception registers depths that run between 500 -900 feet of water.  These fiords were carved by glaciers over tens of thousands of years and the depth of these channels help to convey the scale of those long-ago ice fields and their transformative power.

Entering Kynoch Inlet we stop at Kynoch Falls, a magnificent waterfall, where Deception gives the fleet an opportunity to have pictures taken in front of the falls.  When was the last time you had someone take your picture at waterfalls while on your boat?

As we leave the falls, the clouds retreat revealing domed peaks 4 -5,000 feet tall.  We have entered Fiords Provincial Park. Hard to capture the sense of grandeur in words, and even photographs can’t capture the scale.

And of course this wouldn’t be Mother Goose without a navigational challenge thrown in for the day!  We have timed our entrance to Culpepper Lagoon to ensure we arrive with a relatively slack flood tide.  It’s the only way to make it through the narrow, shallow cut in the rock that provides entrance to the Lagoon.  Upon approach, we can see the riffles in the water.  Captain Brian’s advice over the radio to the fleet is to put the engines in idle and let the 3+ knots of current carry you through.  Once through, immediately engage your engines full throttle and make a hard turn to the right.

Forget the waterfall photo op… When was the last time you went river rafting in your 40+ foot boat?

Deception makes it through and disappears around the bend, calling in the fleet one by one over the radio. Telita, Eldean, Ajax, Navigator, and Aquila make it over the rapids and we are home for the evening.  Given the depth of the Lagoon there are limited anchorages so the fleet rafts for the evening.  Deception drops anchor and sets a stern tie to the shore.  Ajax and Telita come in to raft off Deception and Eldean and Navigator and Aquila follow suit.  Aquila and Eldean set additional anchors and stern ties to hold down the raft.

After we’ve secured the big boats, we launch our little boats (our dinghys) for an exploration up the tidal lagoon and river.  The grassy mudflats provide potential bear habitat, and a quiet place to enjoy the forest and this place. No bears, but we love the splendor of the moss covered trees and the fern felted forest floor that falls down into the water.

Earlier in the day, Deception had proposed that since we would be rafted for the evening, perhaps people would enjoy dining together.  Ajax offers to host dinner, with crews moving over to Telita for dessert.  Deception kicks it off by hosting appetizers.  The evening rolls in and we find our crews gathered aboard the back deck on Telita enjoying homemade cinnamon buns and coffee – thank you Annette!  And appreciating fiddle music provided by Rowan, who proves himself a fiddle playing phenom.

In the middle of beauty, with good company and lovely music.  We all agree, it’s a lovely way to spend the evening.






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