Thursday, September 02, 2010

Round Admiralty

Away we go from Juneau - troublesome cabin heater is in the mail to Seattle. Hopefully repairable. They are expensive little boogers.


We decided to do our own "Round Admiralty" regatta of one. This way we can't lose.

A quick pull into Tracy Arm with the active tidewater glaciers, but we decided not to head in due to fog, and other intangibles. We put it on our list for later, though. Locals say it is better than Glacier Bay. Very hard to believe, so we’ll have to check it out. There’s almost nowhere to anchor, and the run in is in the 30 mile round trip range. We’ll see.

The bears are drawing us, and we got to do some viewing at Pack Creek - a bear observatory jointly run by the Forest Service and AK Dept. of Fish and Game. Apparently because the two agencies didn't trust each other in the eighties.
A nice shot of a great blue heron along the way.
We anchored out and took the kayak to shore after radioing the rangers. They tied the kayak to a rope and pulley system that allows skiffs and such to float well off shore (and away from hungry ursine mouths). We are met and briefed and given the bear talk by an ranger with a rifle. He tells us that their policy at Pack Creek is to never give way to bears and never back down. The thinking goes that if a bear is able to push around one human, they will try with everybody. It’s a whole lot easier to do when carrying a gun. Very different than Katmai, where the bears are given the right of way at all times.

At the beach lagoon viewing site –just two logs to sit on – we met the ADF&G technician Jane, and quickly realized that we both were friends with Greg and Marnie in Haines. Quite a little world.  
 This burly sign wasn't quite stout enough... Design standards need to be more like Jurassic Park. We liked the 3-inch thick cedar planking and fishnet over the slippery logs on the canoe trail is a nice way to recycle.
We hiked the trail to Alexander Lake and found a SAGA crew replacing the aged shelter. These are vital for folks doing the cross-Admiralty canoe route like we did in 2005 with Shaun, and we’re glad to see the Forest Service putting some effort into keeping them.

The new Friends of the Tongass Cabins had something to do with it, as did economic stimulus funds. GObama! Though we suspect this sign will last all of a week.

 The trail up to the upper observation platform was nice, and we managed to startle a sow and cub along the way, but she was probably Mocha, and used to people, so we lived.
 One large female bear named “Pokey” was dredging the lagoon for dead fish. She must like the “aged” variety better than those 100 feet away in the creek.

 Later Mocha came over to fish the creek and play with her cub in the meadow. She’s the money bear and always delights, we were told.

It was nice having the place all to ourselves and we got to quiz the rangers on bear behavior and biology. It turns out that this year has an exceptionally large run of pink salmon. Good for bears and other forest critters.


Blain caught his first Dungeness crab in a while and we made omelets with him. It’s been a dry spell since we lost our shrimp pot in Glacier Bay. But we did learn something. It might just still be there.

We looked and looked for our shrimp pot and couldn’t find it anywhere. We’d placed it in around 250 feet and had 400 feet of rope, so we knew it didn’t just float off, and assumed it must have been stolen or a whale got tangled in it, but we didn’t want to admit either of these.

We anchored for the night and went back in the morning at low water slack to look for it. Lo and behold, it was right where the GPS said it should be. Weird. So Blain pulled it up and we saw that the float was all pruned up like fingertips in the bathtub. It must have been held under by the current when we looked for it the evening before. Poor thing. Six shrimp in it. Hmph.

Speaking of tides, Chance sometimes gets a little ahead of them. Here he is wondering why the dinghy isn’t going.
We were escorted by a large pod of Dall’s porpoises on the way to Pack Creek and back. On a sunny day in the clear water of Seymour Canal, we cavorted. You won’t believe the video. The water was so clear. Will post soon.
Our propeller zinc has rattled loose a couple of times and Blain gets to dress up like Jaques Cousteau to tighten it. And he loves it. Though we have to figure out how to roll up the drysuit closure better so it doesn't look like a uniboob.

Some gorgeous clear nights under a frisky moon.

And finally, a lichen with a great name. For some reason, fungus and lichens seem to have been named by a kindergarten glass after a cookie break. This one's real and actual scientific name is "Fairy Barf". Seriously. Look it up. Icmadophila ericetorum.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, still some incredible sights to view and hopefully share the next time I get up there.