From one spectacular anchorage to another.
We have rafted at the mouth of Tracy Arm in No Name Cove for the evening to better position ourselves to head up to visit the South Sawyer glacier tomorrow.
Not long after we had left Pybus Bay this morning for Stephens Passage, Aquila was calling out whale spouts and Navigator announced a Dall’s Porpoise sighting. We idled our engines as several humpbacks surfaced and dove again, exposing their signature flukes about 500 yards off Aquila’s bow.
As we made our way up the passage, the cloud layer appeared to tear open exposing a gaping hole of blue sky.
We turn into Holkham Bay and Sum Dum glacier comes into view. A deep blue face of ice flowing between the two peaks. Sum Dum is a former tidewater channel that has retreated over the last number of decades, and no longer reaches the water. But Sawyer glacier, where we are headed, is still a tide water glacier that is actively calving, and as we turn in we begin to sight bergs in the water further up the arm. We turn in, entering No Name Cove and raft the boats to maximize our use of anchorage space. As we are bring in the boats. Aquila calls out over the radio that they have just seen Orcas at the mouth of the cove. The joke is that Aquila is carrying a whale magnet. Ajax has already rafted, and is lowering their dinghy in the water. They are off to investigate just as soon as it hits the water. Leaving the cove in the direction of Tracy Arm, they encounter at least two orcas, but the orcas are headed north. They disappear further up the arm surfacing briefly adjacent to one of the larger bergs. Eventually Ajax dinghy turns back for lunch back at the boat.
Back on the deck of Deception the crew are grilling hotdogs for lunch, when a brown bear lumbers out of the brush. Brian had alerted the fleet to the opportunity for a bear sighting here in this lovely tucked away cove surrounded by grassy beach. But just off our stern ties? And at the moment we happen to be on the deck enjoying lunch? We’re a fortunate bunch, and our voices fall to a hush while he investigates and eats some of the grasses along the beach before lumbering back into the undergrowth.
We finish our lunch, and with most of the fleets dinghy’s in the water, we head out to explore around the cove along the beach and zip out to the larger of the bergy bits in the mouth of Tracy Arm. We pull our zodiacs up to the floating ice to admire its blue hues. Up close we can see the dense crystallization that results over millennia under the unbearable weight of thousands of feet ice. The ice is impeccably clear and dense beyond what you would expect.
We return to the boats in time for dinner with a few cooler-size pieces of ice that we pick up on the way. Liz and David aboard Eldean join Deceptions crew for a nice dinner. After dinner, the fleet gathers on the back deck of Telita for desserts and coffee prepared by Annette. Rowan brings his fiddle for evening entertainment. Annette has outdone herself. Rowan has Karen dancing and impromptu jig that is remarkable convincing.
Tomorrow morning breaks the longest day of the year. Which makes it remarkable how quickly they seem to pass.