Friday, July 24, 2015

7/1/2015 -- Orcas! Orcas! -- and on to Helm Bay!

Sun hits the tops of the mountains in surrounding Walker Cove at 5A and we have full sun by 5:30, with a few wispy clouds and contrails.  We loose Nudibranch’s lines rafting to us, then cast off our line from the mooring ball. We reflect how quiet it is in this cove – no other boats and no float planes or tour boats.

We cruise back out into the channel, turn on the water maker and begin our journey to Helm Bay.

Ray points out an eagle in a drying creek just past Hut Point.

More gorgeous scenery!  Mineral deposits and granite.

We have light chop in Behm Canal, see a deadhead in our path, and miss it! 

Always scanning the shores for wildlife, we see an eagle at Channel Islands and maybe a loon.


Peering out over the stern, I see ten peaks with snow filled crevasses.  They will have two more months for potential melting.  I do note these patches remaining are on the north side of the mountains.

We watch the color of the water in the canal change from muddy brown to sea foam green; its surface is gentle ocean swells.  Chickamin River must be flushing debris out to cause the muddy color.

After the water maker fills Willie’s Tug’s fresh water tank and begins to overflow out the thru-hull, Herb turns the “Y” valve to divert new product to a portable container to share with Ray.  The literature says much of the water available at docks in this area is not treated.

The waterfall is near Saks Cove and the rock formations near the turn to the west around Point Whaley of Revillegigedo Island.

We are the only two boats enjoying this flat calm canal.

Wow!  Orcas!

Ray enjoys watching them, also.

There are two groups on either side of the canal – one pod?  Ray reports seeing a male and a small orca.  I am filming so fast I don’t stop to think what I am seeing.  This is just awesome.  Unbelievable!

Long-Lat is 55 degrees – 57 minutes – 39 seconds North and 131 degrees – 20 minutes – 6 seconds West in Behm Canal.  Our show lasts 16 minutes from 11:17A to 11:33A.

I take what I call a priceless photo of Nudibranch, her green hull, sitting on green water, which is made that color by the reflection of the forest above, and she is leaving a green wake. 

Oh, we are not alone – An interesting sailboat motors past us in the Behm Narrows. 

As I follow our route on the chart, I see three interesting names and suspect many of the landmarks were named after aerial recon.  Looking on the Navionics chart, I see the face of a person, showing the brow, nose and chin.

Brow, Nose and Chin

As we go north of Black Island, we turn south toward Ketchikan and now have almost circumnavigated Revillegigedo Island.  Seas are now 1-2 ft wind waves in the Narrows.

Cleveland Peninsula is on our starboard with Brow Point, Nose Point and Chin Point on the port side.  Now that we have turned, I wonder where that glass water went! 

We have a long fetch and the water is now rough.  4 ft seas.  We toss a bit, and then Herb gives it max throttle for a time.  Our windshield is washed with salt.  

These folks seem to enjoy being in the rain.

South of Point Francis I see a humpback and then the fluke!  Wow – not believing this.  I never see him again, and my camera is not expecting it, so no photo.  Bummer, but at least we get to see it.

How much better can this day get?

Soon we come to Forss Island and look for the Alaska State float behind it.  Wonderful!  We see the four pilings and hold our breath waiting to see if there is space for us at the dock.  If there’s no room, we would have a few hours of rough travel to get anywhere else and no guarantee of moorage.

Yea!  No one here – only a skiff that someone left.  The wind is still high and it is hard to drift toward the float.  The wind keeps pushing us off – and the other side of the float is too shallow – but after a second try, Herb gets us close enough to tie up.  We walk Willie’s Tug forward to make room for Nudibranch and catch her lines.

Find Willie's Tug

Find Nudibranch

We are very thankful to be safe and at home for the night at Helm Bay – and on the dock!

Later the owner of the skiff speeds in with two families in another boat and unloads their backpacks to spend the night at the Forest Service cabin nearby. Ray and Lilly can be seen in the backgound on the beach getting a little exercise.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, July 1, 2015

We do not see a bear!


  1. Replies
    1. Can you imagine my thrill? I have thought of you so many times when we see the orcas and humpbacks, and know you would be able to share much info. At Baranoff Warm Springs that we just left, a guy in the Whale Research center gave me a brochure showing the relative sizes and tips for identifying. Cool stuff!
      I could not stop filming! SLR! Over 200 shots and it took a while to eliminate most of them. Thanks for your comment.