Alaska Flotilla: Leg 5, Day 5 – Pybus Bay to Petersburg | NW Explorations


Alaska Flotilla: Leg 5, Day 5 – Pybus Bay to Petersburg

Pybus Bay was so scenic and full of wildlife it was hard to leave.  Last night, harbor seals and sea lions fished around our boats, leaving what looked like comet trails through the bioluminescence.  Early this morning, Don took a kayak out and spotted a young brown bear foraging near the stream at the back of the bay.  Bald eagles were everywhere and we woke to the chatter of their high-pitched voices.  It was a scenic and wild anchorage that gave us a taste of the true Alaskan experience.

Today we crossed Frederick Sound, which is a common feeding ground for humpback whales.  And sure enough, not even 10 minutes out, a whale breached in front of us!  The water was completely glassy, the sun was shining, and whales were spouting all throughout the channel.  How can you beat that?!  It was incredible to be able to see whales in almost all directions.

After a while of cruising and soaking up the sunshine, we were greeted by the rooster tail splashes of approaching Dall’s Porpoise!  It was a great joy watching these graceful creatures keeping pace with us and diving in and out of our wake.  We also had wonderful views of the surrounding mountain peaks, snow fields and alpine glaciers.  As we neared Petersburg, we saw many sea lions hanging around the harbor, and lounging on the buoys marking the channel.

We arrived in Petersburg in the early afternoon.  Petersburg is the self-proclaimed “halibut capitol of the world.”  The small town of around 3,000 inhabitants is also known as Little Norway.  The town began when Peter Buschman opened a cannery and halibut fishing company in 1897.  It still has a Scandinavian feel to it.  Petersburg is inaccessible to the major cruise lines, so commercial fishing is still the base of the economy.  The town is very quaint and yet feels very authentic.

It also felt nice to be in a town for the night.  We were able to re-provision, do laundry, make phone calls, check up on loved ones, and easily explore off of the boats.  Most crews chose to eat out in town for dinner, finish up chores and look for souvenirs in some of the local artists’ shops.  Everyone we met was very friendly and helpful, and we greatly enjoyed our time in Petersburg.

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