Alaska Flotilla: Leg 4, Day 3 – Haines to William Henry Bay | NW Explorations


Alaska Flotilla: Leg 4, Day 3 – Haines to William Henry Bay

We were blessed with another beautiful day on the water today.  We left Haines at 8am and headed south through Lynn Canal toward William Henry Bay.  The mountains towered on either side, straight up from sea level to almost 7,000ft.  Many of the peaks still held large patches of snow.  As we traveled through the deep fjord, we had fabulous views of our first glaciers.  Glaciers are rivers of ice formed from snow fields in areas of high precipitation.

We cruised past Rainbow glacier which appeared icy blue way up on the mountain and had a massive waterfall running out from the bottom.  Next, we passed Davidson glacier which was the largest we encountered today.  The giant ice flow we saw ended just above sea level.  A dark line of rock and debris ran through the center, this is called a medial moraine.  As the glacier moves it picks up rocks along the sides (lateral moraines) and when a smaller glacier meets a larger one these moraines collide and form dark stripes in the ice.

As we traveled, Patos and Discovery-who had spent a lovely night out at anchor- rejoined the group and we all cruised down the side of Sullivan Island.  We spotted many bald eagles, surf scoters and some loons.  Surf scoters are hardy sea ducks that dive for shellfish and swallow them whole!  They have a thick, sturdy beak and fly in large flocks close to the water.  Change of Latitude even spotted an eagle catching a fish and carrying it back to shore to devour.

We arrived at William Henry Bay in the early afternoon, set our anchors and went ashore to explore the beach.  Walking along the shoreline, we found many treasures. We discovered fascinating pebbles of all shapes, colors and sizes, worn pieces of driftwood that looked like faces and animals, along with mussel, limpet, urchin and crab shells, and seaweeds in a full palate of greens.  Further up the shore were salmon berries ripe for the picking and thimble berry bushes still flowering.  Some old logging equipment was exposed with the low tide.  This quiet anchorage is framed by steep hills and set to a backdrop of jagged mountain peaks.

Each crew enjoyed a relaxing evening on board in the quiet bay.  Discovery went fishing in their dinghy and managed to catch more fish than they could keep!  They shared their haul of trout and salmon with the rest of the fleet. Patos had a birthday girl (Jackie) on board to celebrate.  On an exploratory kayak trip and hike up a small stream, Dave and I found fresh moose and bear tracks.  It really feels like we are out in the wild now.

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