Mother Goose fleet awoke after a night on the hook to bright sunshine streaming through the forested peaks making the waters of Berg Bay sparkle and dance. With our crab pots pulled and anchors stowed, the fleet said goodbye to our little bay and made way for the quaint hamlet of Meyers Chuck. After a brief and lightly lumpy passage, Bear, our captain in training, brought the six boats through the narrow, rocky entry way and arrange the boats along the small dock in Meyers Chuck. Many of the charming houses of Meyers Chuck are visible from the dock, and looking around the scene evokes a comfortable, slow pace of life. Take a stroll up the hill and you’ll find a well establish garden bursting with greens and tomatoes overseen by several noisy, gossiping chickens, their glossy black feathers setting apart their wobbling red combs and bright, intelligent eyes. Across the water sits the Meyers Chuck post office, with dock out front for ease of access, officiated by long time Meyers Chuck residents Steve and Cassie. Or, as many of our crew decided to do, take a stroll down the forested path, past the old school house, renovated into a beautiful home by Carroll and Dan, to the local one-room art gallery and peruse the wares made by artists in and around Meyers Chuck. On a summer’s day in Meyers Chuck life moves at the speed of streams and tides, and there seems to be plenty of time to sit and breathe in the tangy, forest air made pungent and heavy by the sun soaked pine-needles.
After tying up, crews take an afternoon ramble to the beach strolling past the old school house, up the hill and through the cool old growth forest. The towering Western Hemlocks shade the forest, muffling the sound of the tides and causing the sun to fall in golden bands across the mossy, green forest floor. Here in the cool, damp forest skunk cabbage thrives, giving the forest a other worldly Jurassic look with their ample, fleshy leaves jutting up from the ground on thick stalks. Over the log bridge and down the driftwood made steps and the ocean, never far from this coastal temperate rainforest, reappears. The tides is in, forming a moat around a nearby house and leaving only a sliver of rocky beach exposed. Plenty of rocks remain however for a lively rock skipping contents to ensue before meandering back through the forest to our boats for dinner.
Fortunately for Deception, our dinner guests that evening were some of the fleet’s excellent fishermen! Joy and Steve, off of Thea, gave us a portion of their halibut, salmon and rockfish, caught a few days earlier in Wrangell, to cook up for a delicious dinner. Even more scintillating and enjoyable than the fish, was the lovely conversations. Thank you for your delightful company Rick, Char, Joy and Steve!
That evening, our last evening together before arriving in Ketchikan, Captain Brian called us together for a farewell bonfire. Together, we walked through the forest, now golden green with the evening light, and returned to the beach at low tide. We built up a driftwood fire, the embers floating up to melt into the reddening sky. As the sun set over the islands, Brian pulled out two worn American flags and asked us to name those we would like to remember. Around the flags were passed and we spoke aloud the names of loved ones who came before us, loved one who we wished to invite into our small circle of now friends. With the names of our loved ones in the air, and the flags honored in fire, we looked around at our small group of once strangers, knowing that the memories we made together on this trip, in this wild beauty of Alaska, are special and will bring us joy for a lifetime.