I sit on the bow of Deception as the town lays sleepily to my left. A float plane takes off to the right as a bald eagle in front of me just two boats over keeps his eye on me. He occasionally burrows his head down but then springs up to keep a quick inventory of the happenings in the harbor. It is just the two of us out this morning and it feels like pretty good company.At 0800 the boats leave the dock and head into Tongass Narrows as the massive cruise ship Millennium makes its way into one of the berths in town, bringing with it new visitors waiting to explore this eclectic town. The flotilla travels along Clarence Strait which a few chops here and there, but it is a mostly smooth cruise. We pass on our left Kasaan Point and the old Indian village which reminds me of the totem poles I had just visited the day before.  While it was a relatively overcast day, as we near the entrance to Meyers the sun begins to poke out as a wee hello to our flock. We raft up along the dock: Hele Mai next to Deception, AnamCara joining us from a solo detour to Misty Fjords – rafting next to Patos, with Ajax having Koa Lanai raft to them.It is lunch time once we are all tied up and people begin to fix a bite to eat, while some sit out on the aft decks to enjoy the scenery. As Don says (in his Australian accent), “It is like I have found myself in National Geographic, ya know?” I couldn’t agree more. I have only just begun this journey into Alaska – but even I have found that while the landscape is not too far different from back home in Washington, everything is just on a grander scale here. The trees are higher and brighter in color, the water is more expansive, and the sky seems to be never-ending before me.

Naturalist Greg took everyone on a hike early in the afternoon. We gathered and went up the steep steel walkway and then across to the shore.  A small bulletin board welcomes us and displays a cottage for sale, how to order some of Cassie’s famous Cinnamon Buns, and a slot for outgoing mail. Right next to this is a small cedar shed which is the fire station. We scratch our heads a bit here…but continue on. Next up on the trail is a delightful little gift shop in a small building simply named “Gallery”. A sign says to come over to the bigger house in the back if you want to do some shopping here…but no worries to our guests, we have already called ahead and the doors are open and waiting for us. As some guests take a peek at the crafts, artwork, and such inside – the rest of us look around at the foliage and woods around us. Meyers Chuck certainly has a sleepy and tranquil vibe that we are really catching onto. As we continue on the path we pass the local “park” – a handmade slide to one side, with a horizontally hung ladder and a wooden teeter-totter opposite. Further ahead a piece of artwork that is sure to give a startle and then an appreciative “ahhhh” ….an intricately-laid web with a metal spider waiting for its prey. The snaps of everyone’s cameras capture this surprise before we move on…the path leading alongside cottages before it goes into moss-laden woods that shield the sun and create a darkened oasis filled with large trees, a woodsy scent, and a cushiony cedar pine floor. This path opens up onto a beach where everyone fans out to explore. Jon and I both migrated to a large rock formation and climbed along looking at our surroundings while others began a very intense high stakes game of rock skipping. While it was touch and go there for a bit – the general consensus is that Noel took the crown. Good efforts were noted by Greg, Dave, and Paul. What was most intriguing was a small island in which some wooden steps led up to the top…but where did they leave? What we found was a beautiful new cabin with windows that overlooked the entire area…which led to a discussion of which of us would be able to live in such a place? Could we live in such a place full-time and be away from the internet, the media, the conveniences of the places we all currently live? I can attest…with 24 hours of remote Alaska under my belt and every care of the modern already behind me…I could do it!

Early in the evening the Ajax crew of Don & Liz graciously invited the Deception crew over for some wine and appetizers. Also joining us was John & Judy, a couple that the flotilla had seen earlier on our route. Their vessel Stella Maris we had rafted up next to Koa Lanai as they came in just behind our fleet into this wonderful little oasis. What a fantastic start to the evening as everyone shared stories, and we learned that John & Judy cruise on their DeFever six months out of the year throughout Alaska and the Broughtons, and head to Florida for the winter months. After a lot of laughter, the crew of Deception says their goodbyes and thank you for the thoughtful happy hour.

Next up, the Deception crew heads over to a dinner hosted by the Hele Mai crew of Andy, Cathy, Joyce, and Paul. We were treated to astounding salmon cakes with a sriracha sauce, followed by melt-in-your-mouth pork, quinoa, and a delicious fruit and cabbage slaw that was out of this world. And for dessert? Homemade apple pie! What really made this evening special was getting to know everyone onboard Hele Mai a little better. Especially for myself, I do a lot of correspondence with clients via email or over the phone. Yet now, to be sitting with them and hearing about their fun travels, what they do in “the real world”, and discussing nearly every subject…I sit in wonder at how lucky I am to be spending time with all these amazing people.

A sleepy and tummy-filled Christina, signing off from Meyers Chuck.

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