Saturday, May 9, 2015

Bears and Bergs

Port Houghton
Port Houghton
Waited for the current to ease up and departed Petersburg around 11am with Uno following behind heading northwest along Frederick Sound.  The seas were calm and the vessels running well.  From Cape Fanshaw and Storm Islands, we turned north into Stephens Passage, a wide channel that extends 88 miles northward.  Several interesting anchorages are located along Stephens Passage and we had read that Port Houghton is one of the best places to view wildlife.  The guidebook “Exploring Southeast Alaska” by Don and Reanne Douglass, dated 2007 is a helpful planning guide; and yes, the wildlife is still abundant at Port Houghton - we saw dolphins, birds, bear, and whales.  
Sanborn Channel Anchorage
Sanborn Channel within Port Houghton is a lovely spot to anchor and view bears feeding along the grassy shores.  We took the dinghy out at dusk and spotted one young black bear in search of his evening meal.  
Bear Sighting in Sanborn Channel Anchorage
In the meantime, Phil and Uno were watching a pod of whales at the entrance to Sanborn Channel through their binoculars; the whales were putting on quite a show.  When we departed our anchorage the following morning we saw several whales spouting and breaching as we had the day before when entering Port Houghton - not close enough to take pictures but the show was great just the same, probably Gray Whales or Humpback Whales.  Leonard jokingly said we should add some more quarters to restart the show.  The new day was beautiful with glassy smooth water and dolphins came briefly once again to play in front of our bow.  We continued up Stephens Passage passing Hobart Bay backed by more beautiful mountains.  
Holkham Bay (Entrance to Tracy & Endicott Arms)
As we got closer to Holkham Bay (the entrance to Endicott Arm), we could see icebergs in the distance.  Holkham Bay discharges large chunks of ice into Stephens Passage which originate from the glaciers in Tracy and Endicott Arms. 
Impressive Mountains and Snow Avalanche (Hokham Bay)
It was apparent we would soon reach an iceberg that was directly in line with our heading, a great opportunity for some photos of Uno and Got d’ Fever alongside an iceberg.  
Uno motoring past an Iceberg
Got d' Fever checking out the Iceberg
We approached cautiously and took turns snapping some photos.  Of course the glaciers and mountains in the distance were also wonderful photo opportunities and we couldn’t have asked for nicer weather.  
Got d' Fever, Hokham Bay in distance
Continuing north in Stephens Passage, we cruised past Midway Islands and Port Snettisham in gentle 1-2 foot ocean swell.  We arrived at our next stop around 4:30pm at Taku Harbor, the site of an old cannery.

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