We cast off our lines early this morning with excitement and anticipation for the start of our adventure. This leg of Mother Goose will take us from Sitka, north around Baranof Island and through inland waters to Ketchikan in just over a week. The route will take us through narrow passages, deep fjords, open sounds, and along the rugged coastlines of Baranof and Chicagof Islands. On the way, we’ll stop in a few small towns, tour a Tlingit tribal house, visit a natural hot spring, and be on the lookout for wildlife.
The first half of the trip took us through multiple sets of narrows. We passed by tens of salmon trollers with their outriggers down and lines streaming behind them hoping for a good catch. At the Surgis narrows, our crews got to see the power of the tides first hand. We arrived just after slack tide and still had about 3 knots of current against us through the channel. At peak tides, there can be over 10 knots of current through here, making it look much more like a whitewater river than the ocean.
Cruising out in the open water of Hoonah sound, we were excited to see a pod of Dall’s porpoise making a beeline for our boats. We watched as they joyfully surfed in our wake, effortlessly swimming from boat to boat. The water was glassy and the puffy white clouds reflected on the surface. A humpback whale broke the surface with cloudy breath. Glacially carved valleys and the rounded mountains of Baranof and Chicagof Islands surrounded us.
Once anchored in Appleton Cove we wasted no time getting out to explore. A group of us went to shore and walked along some of the old logging roads there. We enjoyed the lush forest, the banana slugs, and the bear tracks we found there! Other boats headed out in the dinghies to fish and set crab pots and take in the scenery.
A happy hour on board Deception and Bonum Vitae gave all of the crews a chance to get to know one another. The night was made even better when Discovery pulled up crab pots full of keepers! We cooked them on the back deck and shared them around. What a fabulous first day out! Eating fresh Dungeness crab in the beautiful evening light we all felt incredibly fortunate to be here.