We pull into Warm Spring Bay mid-afternoon and raft up again to the small floating dock. Just when we think our locations can’t get any better…bingo! All of our boats have a view of a thunderous waterfall. It almost makes you chuckle in disbelief. I could just pinch myself – it seems almost dreamlike. Just up the ramp and to the left is a large hut with three individual bathing tubs. Each room has its own lockable door, stool, hooks for your clothes, and a curtain to pull across the open window for privacy. The tubs are continually fed water from the hot springs…something I may just have to experience before we leave! Further on is a small boardwalk that continues straight to a lake and hot springs we will explore tomorrow – so I follow it to the left as it continues past 6 cabins. At one cabin, a husband and wife are painting outside so we talk for a few minutes. They own a 32’ Grand Banks Tarka which is tied up on the opposite side of Deception. They remember meeting our group in 2014 in Whittier when they too, cruised through Prince William Sound. They had actually been down to our homeport of Bellingham, WA when they were looking to buy their boat…a small world it is, indeed! They live here May through August and have one of the most spectacular views in the world, in my humble opinion. The falls here provide power to the small community while pipes flow under the cabins to allow the hot spring water to flow through and heat the floor boards in the winter. A sea plane can be called to take you across the island to Sitka, or if you have your own vessel you cruise to get your provisions and supplies. The rest of the residents are hidden away during our visit and I wonder how many actually live here year-round and brave the winter months.
I run into Anita and Dave from Koa Lanai who were just at the waterfall and came across a mink. This area houses many otter and mink dens and I am quite jealous of their encounter. I continue on and when the boardwalk ends you walk onto large rocks that sit at the base and side of the waterfall. The thunder of the falls is really quite humbling and I sit awhile, mesmerized by the dancing water as my mind empties and I am just here in the moment…in a little jewel of Alaska.
The Deception crew had the honor of being invited over for dinner by Judy & Todd of AnamCara. Todd whipped up a fantastic meal of pork chops, herb-roasted potatoes, and homemade applesauce. The wine was poured, stories were shared, and laughs were had…topped off by ice cream (which seems to be a recurring theme here on Deception). As the evening wore on, everyone began their nightly routines of a movie, reading a book, or playing games. All of a sudden the crew of Hele Mai came over the radio – a humpback was here in the cove! Everyone scrambled like ants on a hotplate to their flybridge. Sure enough…across the cove was a humpback, moving across the edge of the cove. Per Greg, this fellow (or lady) was lurch feeding – pushing the fish into one location for easier dining. To get a better view we crossed over the aft deck of Ajax and to the port railing ofPatos rafted alongside. We were all in awe as the whale playfully obtained its dinner and slapped and waved his pectoral fin out to us all. Photos were taken, inhalations of joy were had, and the awesome experience was felt by everyone. We held our breaths momentarily as the whale seemed to be edging closer and closer to our rafted fleet. With our senses on edge, and our breath held, we continually scanned the water expecting an up and close encounter at any second. Alas, our whale buddy had actually swum underneath the fleet and was seen on the other side headed back out of the inlet. It was quite a show!
Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better…it had! There is that old saying: “there is no place like home”. I always thought this was true. Everywhere I have traveled has become something special to me, and added something to my life and the person I am becoming – yet I still held home deep in my heart. Something different is happening to me here on this trip…Alaska is rooting itself deep in my heart and will forever stay.
There truly is no place like Alaska.
Signing off from a whale-of-a-day,