August 29, 2011
Hike to Lake Eva
Mom and I woke earlier than usual this morning and got in a kayak to explore a little more of the inlet together. We headed out towards the opening and saw a few mink running around on shore, tons of star and sun fish. The best thing about this inlet though, was the coloring. The rocks along the shore are nearly black, and covered with this incredible green moss. The reflection was again, perfect. Words really can't describe how beautiful it all was. And the complete silence of the inlet, with just the two of us, the kayak paddle, and the occasional fellow traveler saying hello as they kayaked by.
During breakfast, we headed off along the coast of Baranof island, looking for more wildlife. We have already had quite a few whale sightings already, but I was still waiting for that "OMG" moment. I would get it, soon enough. This afternoon, we anchored and got to put our feet back on the ground. It didn't really occur to me that we had spent so much time on board already, but hadn't touched the ground since we left Juneau! We got to shore, gathered up as a group, and headed off in two groups (fast and slow) towards Lake Eva. The slower group went with Vanessa and took their time, stopping to talk about all that they were seeing. I, needing a little more exercise, wanted to head off with JD in the faster group. Mom agreed, so off we went. However, about half a mile in, we came across a nice little crossing…. covered in knee-deep water. No one hesitated, we all just started taking off our shoes, rolling up our pants (or even taking them off as one woman did!) and we walked across the "creek". Apparently it had rained a bunch, and it was an extremely high tide, so the water was higher than they had ever seen. Some guests might have been out of their element, but I think the fear of being left behind in extreme bear country was enough to make everyone start taking off their shoes. The rest of the hike was along the creek, complete with tons of salmon. The edge of the creek was littered with salmon remains, discarded by bears. Everyone kept close together, the guts quietly scaring each of us just a bit. We got to the lake, which was a beautiful lake surrounded by trees, and pretty quickly turned back. The added time to cross through the water was enough to put us a little behind schedule. As we got back to the shore, and into the skiffs, our captain called us on the radios that he had spotted a mama bear with two cubs on the shore just around the corner from us. We crawled quietly around the corner, and had a front row viewing of the bear and her cubs. They wandered slowly along the shore, stopping occasionally to look at us, the cubs playing and rolling in the grass. After over half an hour of watching them, they slowly wandered off into the woods. What a show they put on! They never startled or changed their plan, just wandering and playing along the shore line. Absolutely amazing! This is what I had come to Alaska to see!
We motored on tonight, and a few people were murmuring about the slow pace we seemed to be keeping. Apparently, one of the engines was down, and the poor engineer and captain were working like mad to get it fixed. Luckily, the Safari Spirit had a part for us and stashed it behind a sign where we were planning on anchoring for the night. My mom stayed up that night and watched as the captain dropped anchor, and the first mate and engineer zoomed to shore to get the part.