After 1 1/2 magical days in Warm Springs Bay, made of hot baths, dinners with the interns of the Alaska Whale Foundation and a meteor shower, we left with a little bit of a heavy heart and headed up northern Chatham Strait.
Leaving the busier coast of Stephens Passage was proven to be an excellent choice! Chatham Strait has an ever changing coastline with beautiful bays and inlets. We stopped at a hatchery along the way, where we got lucky to spot brown bears (picture taken with telephoto lens and cropped).
By talking to fisherman, we have experienced how fond Alaskans are of their fisheries. In contrast to BC, there are no fish farms to be found up here, solely salmon hatcheries, part of a fishery enhancement program. We have been noticing fishing boats all over Southeast Alaska, mainly seiners.
During the entire Leg 9 we have been observing humpback whales, feeding either alone or in bubble netting groups and it is one of the most spectacular scenes we have seen on the water. Apparently whales have been seen later in the season than usual here in SE Alaska, so we were even more stoked to spot some!
Paddling the 35 nm into Tenakee Inlet was a treat – breathtaking scenery, whales and the cutest community of Tenakee springs was astounding! Around a 100 people live here, operating a bakery and pizza place in the middle of nowhere.
At the end of Tenakee Inlet we portaged over into Port Frederick – starting off on a well maintained path, we continued over to a pond-like body of water and then dragged our boats through shallow and rocky waterways for an entire mile.
Here is a piece of advice: It is definitely worth waiting for the high high tide here 🙂
We made it to Glacier Bay after 3 months of paddling and over 1000 nautical miles! What an overwhelming and exhilarating feeling to finally be here, knowing that we have come all this way in a human powered way.
Leg 10 brings us up the east arm of Glacier Bay, we are going to explore Muir Inlet with our long awaited final destination – Muir Glacier, that has retreated more than 30 miles of where it used to be in 1879.