An 0600 departure for Ketchikan.  We get ourselves a cup of coffee, bring in the dinghy and make sure that all the hatches are battened down tight and anything else secured down.  The forecast is still for up to 20 knot winds and four foot seas in Clarence Strait.

We pass Easterly Island on the way down Earnest Sound where there is a Stellar’s sea lion colony that gathers on the rocks there.  The females have their pups around this time of year, so we try and maintain our distance, watching through the binoculars, and get a good photo of the male perched on the rocks. He seems unperturbed by our boats.

As we are approaching Clarence Strait the water is starting to show some chop, white caps and swell.  But it’s blue skies and beautiful and the wind is to our stern.  Ajax encounters porpoises which play off their bow wake for several minutes.  Suddenly Deception comes on the radio to share that they have just sighted a few whale spouts and then – WHOA! A full breach!!  And ANOTHER full breach!!   AND ANOTHER!

We are off Union Point and rounding Cleveland Peninsula for Clarence Strait.  The whale is breaching several hundred feet off Deceptions starboard side.  Aboard Deception, we continue our course and speed.  As the rest of the fleet approaches though, we can see they are slowing.   And then the whale performs a breach that, from Deceptions vantage point, looks like it is going to land on Telita’s deck!  Eldean gets a great show too – they come on the radio to share that they believe the whale is following them.

This last day of whale watching is proving to be a bit of a grand finale!

We reach Ketchikan and are struck by the sense of bustle that this place brings.  Cruise ships and the airport ferry, float planes landing and of course the usual mélange of fishing vessels and pleasure boats plying the harbor.

We pull into the fuel docks under a gusty breeze and then move over to Bar Harbor where Brian has secured slips for the fleet.  Maybe it’s just the breeze and sunshine, but something feels festive here on the docks.  Or perhaps we’re just adjusting to the bustle of town which is a contrast from the slower pace of cruising and evenings spent in secluded anchorages.

The Ketchikan Fourth of July Parade starts just up from the docks tomorrow at noon, and we figure our fly bridge will provide some good seats for any fireworks display.

For this evening, however, Telita invites the fleet over to take advantage of their aft deck and their remaining provisions of appetizers.  We have a glass of wine, and enjoy the breeze in our T-shirts before the sun begins it’s slow, slow descent and the temperature fades.

We have made it to our final destination.

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