Alaska Flotilla: Leg 6, Day 7 – Bishop Bay to Culpepper Lagoon | NW Explorations


Alaska Flotilla: Leg 6, Day 7 – Bishop Bay to Culpepper Lagoon

Today’s route took us through some very tight narrows.  These areas are a breeze to navigate at slack tide, but if timed wrong one can encounter a whitewater river with currents strong enough for one’s boat to be overpowered.  In order for us to time the rapids correctly today, we were up with sun.  All the boats were underway by 6am.  Then it was coffee for the skippers and nap time for the crews!

We left Bishop Bay in the warm, still morning air.  As we rounded the first bend in the channel, we were greeted by the full moon, which was just setting, and by resting humpback whales.  Whales do not sleep like we do.  They are voluntary breathers, so if they were to go all the way to sleep they would drown.  Instead, they are able to rest half of their brain at a time.  This whale was just floating at the surface, drowsily taking a breath every few minutes.

It was a lovely, calm day out on the water today.  We cruised alongside Princess Royal Island which is home to the Spirit Bears.  These are a subspecies of black bear that are born with pure white coats.  This is one of the only places in the world that they are found.  Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in spotting any bears, but it was neat just knowing that this is where they live.  We did have great sightings of killer whales, humpback whales, and Dall’s porpoise today.  The killer whales and humpbacks were fishing right next to one another!  We watched as a couple of female killer whales and their young offspring fished right along the shoreline.

As we neared Kynoch Inlet, the landscape changed dramatically.  The rolling, forested hills gave way to sheer granite faces and towering slopes on either side.  This impressive inlet is part of the Fjordlands Recreation Area and is a protected wilderness land.  It was an incredible and awe-inspiring journey through the fjord to Culpepper Lagoon.

We had this beautiful anchorage to ourselves this evening.  Those brave enough to face the bugs and the heat, headed out on a beautiful dinghy tour of the river that feeds into the lagoon.  Deception hosted a potluck dinner and everyone contributed wonderful dishes.  Afterward, each crew opened their boat up for an open house.  This allowed everyone to check out the different styles of boats and to continue to get to know one another and share their experiences so far.  It is nights like this that we are reminded how fun it is to be traveling in a group with others who share our same passions.

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