Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

End of Season 2017

 Ok, so this post is gigantic, and I'm sorry.  I didn't get internet for a while, so this is a sort of total last of the season picture post.  I'm also working on a video, to come out a little later.
I saw my first ever Kestrel in Alaska, this one was in Beartrack Cove, in Glacier Bay National Park.  I went for a cool shore/meadow walk up the left side of the beartrack river and found really nice short new growth spruce forest, the kind that comes from glacial rebound and is super easy to walk in.  I'd like to go further up this river some time.
 We also found some brown bears in Tidal Inlet
 And this is a view of Reid Glacier as we came by it.
 We also got a pair of wolves up near Margerie glacier, and this one was jumping over the river.
 After a night anchored in Russell Cut we had a spendid morning sunrise
 complete with reflection

 And then at Bartlett Cove we had a grouse visit
 as well as some Sandhill Cranes.
 We went to Hidden Falls and the bears were in full force
 eating coho salmon
 and looking pretty
 And everything brown was looking cute.  This is a mink.
 Then I kayaked in the Magoun Islands and found some Black Turnstones
 And a pair of Harlequin Ducks (females) that let me get close.
 and closer. 
Then we were in Sitka, got new folks and looked for whales on our new trip.
 And found some deer.
 and I did a cool hike in Florence Bay, up a small creek and through a muskeg to a nice lily pond.
 We went to Hidden Falls again, I did a hatchery tour
 And found some bear cubs!
 The bears were pretty happy, but still jostling for position
 and getting big Cohos still.
 And a few were just lounging around.  This one has a big scar on his face.
 From there we went to Glacier Bay, and I got a squirrel eating a cone
 And on a kayak up the Beartrack River, I found some American Wigeons
 These ones are my favorite picture.
 Margerie at sunrise was nice
 With otters on the ice
 And a Cinnamon Teal
 At South Marble Island the Sea Lions were looking pretty
 And we got a few Horned Puffins
 And then overnight, a Fork Tailed Storm-Petrel landed on the boat and stayed a while.
 At the Inian Islands we got a closer look at the Sea Lions
 And an otter that didn't want to get his paws wet.
 He swam all around us but kept his paws out of the water.
 And here is a look at some Ancient Murrlet's wings.
From there, we got to Juneau, turned around and headed for Ketchikan.  We saw a few Harlequin Ducks roaming around.
 And in Windham Bay I saw a Porcupine on the beach.  I was kayaking and got this little fuzzy hairball shot.
 And some Long Billed Dowichers, roaming a tidal flat.
 With some more Black Turnstones aflutter.
 Then on the last day, in Misty Fjords (Walker Cove) I did a kayak up the fjord and had a nice close look at a kingfisher.
 And a brown bear walked along a river with me.  It was a nice season
 As we got set to depart the boat I got a group photo of everyone.
Now that we are done, they have all become pirates....

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Moku Iki trip 2

 I just got back to Juneau after a two week trip out on the Moku Iki, an Albin 28, in Southeast Alaska.  My friend Danny and I spent the time doing a slow loop of Admiralty Island, and looking for the places that we have overlooked in the past or wanted to go to but for some reason could not.  We also went to places we know and love.  There is a no-name bay that we went to, just south of wood spit, to start, and I'd been there before with Altair, just for a night and without exploring much, but this time we stopped for a bit of a look.  It was late afternoon and the darkness was coming, but we took a skiff up the river and found some bears!  I got this shot of the boat as we wound our way down the river and through the meadow back.  We continued on...
  Our first night out was in Windham Bay, and that spot I'd been before, but we had to start somewhere, right?  There was great shrimping, so we breakfasted on some fresh caught prawns and went for a hike.  I got a nice close look at a surfbird too.

  From there we went to Robert and Crow islands, another place I'd been before, but I wanted to walk up the river there and see how far I could get.  I'd taken guests up the river a few times but there are time constraints with guests, and so we went with the idea of going further than ever before.  In fact, I was able to go about 50 ft further before deciding that it was not a good idea any more.  So that taught me something about how far you can go, right?  The river was full of salmon and we saw a few bears, and a bunch of wolf tracks.  We also tried out a new invention of Danny's.  It is a slow motor that drags a camera across a line, so you get a time lapse of the crossing.  I'll be sure to show you video in a later post when I do the editing.  Here's a picture of the set-up.

Then we went to the back bay of Port Houghton, one of my favorite places of all, and walked the river there.  We saw tons more salmon and then spotted a wolf!

 We had been making lots of noise, but for some reason it didn't seem to mind us being there.  Or it didn't know we were there.  It was in the river and that is loud.  And full of fish!  So after we saw it, we tried to sneak up closer to get a good video or picture of the beast, and some sixth sense plucked the awareness of this wild thing and it began to trot away.  So I didn't get a very close look at it, but here is a picture of it going into the meadow and away.  It looks so skinny!  Also zoom way in to the eyes and they are beautiful and wild.

 From there we went to the back of the salt chuck and hiked up the river and found cool things, including more bears and huge tracks and the sounds of a pack of wolves howling in the daylight.  I got a shot of this stellar's jay watching us.
 Then it got rainy and we hid out for a little bit and then blasted over to Baranof Island.  And on Baranof, we found a tiny little place I'd never been before that was super cool.  It has a little waterfall, that if you go up it, leads to a nice flat reflective lake...
 And in the back of this lake there are two wonderful little sockeye streams.  Full of Sockeye Salmon!
 The waterfall is tough for the salmon to make it up, but some do, and we watched the battle of gravity versus determination.
 From there we went to Red Bluff Bay and found an eagle that might have been hired by the mafia...
 And more bears!  These are brown bears, and we had good bear watching in the flats.
 A few other boats came in as well, and we made friends  with them.
 Then we climbed up on top of the red bluff that the bay is named for and looked over the world.  It was sunny and nice.
 From there we zoomed around to look for whales.  The winds were calm and the ocean perfectly flat.
 We headed up to Warm Springs Bay, where the town of Baranof is.  This town might have 6 people in it right now, but I'm not quite sure of the number.  Fred Sharp of the Alaska Whale Foundation is there and he does whale research, so after a dip in the baths that are fed by the warm waters of the springs...
 We went up to his place and talked about all sorts of things.  He's got this homestead in the woods with a tiny cabin and a few shelters and him and Pauli are working on making it into a paradise.  It was neat to talk with them and visit for a day.
 From there we went to Hidden Falls, so that we could find some more bears...
 And we found 31.
 Then we went to Basket Bay and I discovered that I have another favorite place in Alaska.   There is this marble grotto, or tunnel of marble that has been carved by the waters (like a limestone cave) and you can take a skiff in there and look around.  So we did.
 We ended in Tenakee Springs and found some Orcas that were gliding along next to the docks and said hello.  Its been a great trip and I've got a lot of video to edit and then I'll post that.  Summer is going.  I can feel everything is giving its last hurrah and then will head out.  The salmon are in full swing and will soon peter out, the whales are munching as fast as they can and the sun is lower in the sky every day.  I've got three more weeks of Alaska and then the southbound to Seattle and then my season is over and I'll work my way south as well.