Another gorgeous, blue sky day today. Low tide at Altanhash was at 8 AM this morning a little before we cast off. Several of the boats found that the water was so clear that we could see Dungeness crabs scuttling across the sandy bottom. The biggest lion’s mane jellyfish any of us had ever seen pulsed by looking very threatening. It was like a really big aquarium that we happened to be floating around in!
It was a short day from Altanhash Inlet to Clothes Bay, our next anchorage, but not without marine interest. Thea had Dall’s porpoises playing in her bow wave and we saw yet another elephant sea, a female. Three elephant seals in the last two days is one more than Chris, a marine biologist, has seen in his entire life. Our marine mammal luck is holding up!
Clothes Bay is about a quarter-mile from Klemtu, a native village of the Kitsaloo people. Fourteen of us climbed into the dinghies and headed to town. We had the great pleasure of getting a guided tour of the Klemtu big house. This is a truly spectacular building that serves as a meeting house for the tribe. It is built of native cedar and smells wonderful. Inside and out it is colorfully decorated with the four family crests of the Kitsaloo, the eagle, raven, killer whale, and wolf. In the center of the building is a sandy floor for dancing and a fire pit for a warming bonfire. The roof includes a smoke-hole, just like big houses of old. Shane, a hereditary chief, told us that this was but one of several initiatives the tribe is taking to keep their traditional culture alive.