On our second visit to Ketchikan we met fellow kayakers Patrick and Danny from California and Mark from Ireland. Some good times were spent in the local coffee shop swapping stories and adventures.

We left Ketchikan on Jun 7th and made our way north to Cleveland Peninsula and past Meyers Chuck in Clarence Strait.

A 50 mile day took us through Ernest Sound and Seward Passage to Anan Creek Bear Observatory. Although we were too early in the season to see the black and brown bears feasting on salmon we did encounter two sets of brown bears with cubs.

On our way to Anan Creek we literally passed underneath a mother and her very young cub as they stood on a small headland looking down on us. Unfortunately the moment passed by all too quickly before they retreated into the forest.

         

After leaving Anan Creek and heading up Blake Channel we were able to spend 40 minutes watching a mother and adolescent cub as they grazed on the tall grass along the shoreline. An awesome experience!

Persistent headwinds in Blake Channel and Eastern Passage resulted in our not stopping at Wrangell in order to make up time. Through this scenic region we encountered some of the most abundant spring wildflowers of the trip and a thundering waterfall at Mill Creek.

A dramatic change in water colour heralded our reaching the heavily silted outflow of the Stikine River. Crossing Koknut Flats and Dry Strait we were often able to touch bottom with our paddles, even at high tide!

When grass started rising up from the water we knew we were in trouble and it almost seemed unavoidable when we had to lead our kayaks, having cut too close to Dry Island.

A very hot and sunny June 14th found us in Le Conte Bay, site of the southernmost calving glacier on the West Coast. As we navigated our way through the ice floes there was a never ending barrage of sound: a constant popping could be heard as the bergs melted and allowed trapped air to escape and the sound of running water was everywhere - both from streams along the shore and from little rivulets running down the bergs themselves as they melted.

As we made our way into the Bay the bergs became bigger and bigger and the passageways between them became smaller and smaller.

We watched as one large berg broke with ice rocketing 40 ft into the air before crashing down and rolling over before surging skyward again. After this sobering display we decided not to push on between these giants and gave up on viewing the Glacier headwall.

Le Conte Bay is a seal birthing area and we encountered many mothers and pups as we passed quietly through the ice floes.

The next day we kayaked over to Petersburg and had another orca encounter near the entrance to Wrangell Narrows.

In Petersburg we tracked down Scott Roberge of Tongass Kayak Adventures who had kindly agreed to hold a food package for us. Unfortunately we arrived at a busy time for Scott and were only able to sppend a breakfast gleaming some local knowledge from him. However his good friend Don Holmes generously took us in for our short stay in Petersburg.

 
Mother and adolescent brown bear, Blake Channel
   
     
Le Conte Bay
       
     

Petersburg Harbour with the Coast Mountains in background

Don is a school teacher and an avid kayaker, sailor and outdoorsman. We really enjoyed spending an afternoon with him hiking the Sand, Hill & Crane lakes of Mitkof Island and learnt a lot about local geology, flora, fauna and history.

Don has also been actively involved in the establishment of the Petersburg Marine Mammal Center and also runs a whale watching & fishing charter service in summer with M/V Juno.

Petersburg was a beautiful town to visit and we were treated to some awesome sunsets on Devil's Thumb and the Coast Mountains on the mainland.

 
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