May 27th, 2016 | By: Christina Hornett | Leg 1: Inside Passage

We wake up to a bit of an overcast morning, but there is evidence of blue skies appearing as we leave the quaint cove here. Truth be told, I am a little sad to be leaving – Coffman Cove grew on me and I hope one day to return.About five minutes into cruising Noel on Patos comes over the radio announcing, “whales…starboard side of islands!”. Everyone grabs their binoculars and turns to the right as humpbacks breach several times as the blue skies begin to appear and the sun shines down. You almost have to pinch yourself to remind yourself that this is all real. Alaska. Whales. Sunshine!Our course today is Stedman Cove…accessed by traversing Rocky Pass. Rocky Pass is one of those places that people say to avoid…at low tide the water level is 4 feet in some places, at high tide maybe 13 feet. But the adventure and beauty of the area is enough for us…onward we go! As we begin to enter Rocky Pass we encounter several otters frolicking and floating around – fantastic opportunities for everyone to get those good pics in. As we begin the entrance to the Pass all engines go down to gentle purrs as we make our way through the labyrinth wonderland. Little island rocks, dense forest, and rocky shores surround us as the sun beats down, creating a plethora of deep greens and blues to delight the eyes. A small burst of rain does nothing to damper our spirits as it brings with it that fantastic rain smell and only lasts a few minutes. The sun reappears again and stays out for the duration of our day. While stationed up on the flybridge I get some gentle teasing from Noel on Patos over the radio regarding the fact that I need to produce some bear sightings today for the group…I had been diligently watching the coastline for bears through this narrow passage crossing my fingers that we would get lucky, and now my concentration has increased ten-fold. Sure enough…five minutes later I spot something dark and large along the water in some tall grass. Could my eyes be deceiving me…this must just be a huge log piece or darkened boulder. Then this massive boulder moved slightly and I grabbed Jon’s attention down below at the bow pointing to the coastline. Greg immediately sees what we see and gets on the radio to announce the black bear sighting to all the goslings. I whip out my camera and take a fortunate photo…later on I realize I got a clear shot as the black bear looked right at us! So amazing for my first bear sighting and I continue to be in awe as he bounds up into the cover of the trees. He was so beautiful and it was incredible to have this opportunity. Even if he/she was the only bear I will ever see again in the wild…it is an image and moment that will forever stay with me. Absolutely incredible!We get into the secluded and peaceful cove and while Deception anchors with Patos and Ajaxrafting aside, the rest of the fleet anchors out into their own little spots to enjoy another peaceful and relaxing evening. We hosted dinner tonight for the Patos crew: Noel, Bonnie, Richard, and Stephanie join us for a chicken pasta dinner, salad, and freshly made bread courtesy of our naturalist and chef, Greg. Kudos Greg for another delicious meal…you are spoiling us all, and we are happy to be spoiled! We get to hear about Bonnie’s civil engineering past, Stephanie’s nursing career, Richard’s days in Berkeley, and Noel’s days in the film industry. The flotilla is graced with having a really eclectic group of folks from various backgrounds and differing talents. I am continually in awe of the awesome people gathered here on this trip – I feel darn fortunate to be among them.

After dinner, Jon and I dinghy Captain Brian over to Koa Lanai and head to the other boats to do a garbage collection. Returning to Koa Lanai, Jon and Captain Brian do some troubleshooting on the radar while I get to chat with Anita and Donna. It was a fantastic opportunity to review the day and have some lady-time with these fantastic women. I hold my own amongst the all-male crew here onDeception and have enjoyed my time, but it was refreshing to have some girl-time for a bit. We dinghy back to our home as the sun slowly begins to set despite it is nearing 9pm. As the colors mingle into a palette of pastels everyone hunkers in for the evening to socialize amongst their crew, enjoy oysters on their deck like Don & Liz, or enjoy some chocolate and an episode of Rome like our crew.

Another rough day out there on the water…Christina from Deception signing off.

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