On the lay day in Haines, some slept in, Eric with his father Jan from Patos took up fly fishing on the Chilkat, while others gathered on a bus to take a jet boat tour. Eric and Jan had a great day. Outfitted with quality gear with their guide, Greg, whom had a great sense of humor as much as his sense of the river, guaranteeing a few hefty Dollies on the end of their lines, “Fish on!”
The Alaskan Jet Boat tour was very promising, too. Our guide, C.P. was a certified bus driver with his commercial license and has a 200-ton Coast Guard license, so he was the captain too; a man of many hats. He was very energetic. After 20 years on the job, his local tour of the historic town of Haines was informative but also very comical with his cunning sense of humor. After the quick tour of Fort William H. Seward, we were carried off to the Bald Eagle Preserve up the Chilkat River. There the company owned some private land where the jet boats departed from. Everyone was given blankets, oversized parkas, gloves, and hats to survive the wind chill of the open cockpit jet boat was we raced upstream in search of rare wildlife.
Once the boat picks up speed (twin 105hp outboards with jet drives) the craft is able to run with only 10 inches of water underneath! Even still, there were sections that we did hit bottom, but only briefly. C.P. was a wonderful guide with his extensive knowledge of all the channels to the river system, the extensive wildlife he has seen on past trips, and anecdotes of the locals that live in the area. We covered over 30 miles in two hours working our way through braided river channels in search of our elusive moose. Finally, after drifting afloat in a shallow lake for some time, we spotted our moose! Just a youngling, actually he was a bull, probably no more than two years old, but still impressively massive.
Afterwards, the company hosted a cookout with grilled hotdogs, hot chili, soft-baked cookies, and good coffee to soothe our appetites after a full day of exploration. A solid dose of vitamin D, warm food, a quick nap, drinks at the local distillery, a fantastic dinner at the Fireweed again, and it was easy to call it a day. Rest easy, knowing we depart for Skagway.