15th August

I don’t know where the time went, 6 days since I last sat here and it seems like yesterday.  I left you as made our way back, across the Gulf of Alaska towards Yakutat Bay and Hubbard Glacier.  One can never presume that we will be able to make one’s way through the ice in Disenchantment Bay.  Prior to our entering, another cruise vessel had visited, however they told us they couldn’t get closer than 5 miles, because the ice was impassable.  Not to be deterred, we made our way towards Point Latouche, where Yakutat Bay stops and Disenchantment starts.  While we can transit Yakutat at a good speed, when approaching  Latouche I am never going fast, reducing speed to 8 knots or so; this gives us time to assimilate the challenges, where the ice is, how much and where its  moving with the tidal current.  We have a pilot with us, in this call, Capt. Jeff Baken.  I have known him for years and have a good rapport with him and he is a keen photographer too!  So, between us we decided to ‘have a go’, even though the ice ahead looked plentiful and with few ‘leads’, the sight of Hubbard in the distance, the majesty of the panorama would make it worthwhile.  

Too tempting, Hubbard beckons us….Point Latouche is right, foreground.

We took it slowly, down to 3 or 4 knots at times, as made our way through and it took us 90 minutes to get close to the face, 0.8 of a mile.  The GoPro doesn’t quite show all the ice, in fact it makes it look as if there were very little!

Hubbard is ‘fed’ by smaller glaciers, running from the valleys

So, having stopped, a (slightly wobbly)  🙂 hand-held of the face.

Then, we had to get out of course!…….

Sitka has a lovely dock in a sheltered bay, it can be blowing a ‘hooly’ in Sitka Sound, however here it is usually calm.

Approaching Sitka dock

Then on to Victoria, paralleling the coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands and latterly Vancouver Island.  Again a bit of a blow, a south-east gale which always seems to wait for our passing :-).  There has been talk that there are fewer whales in Alaska, when compared to previous years; well, they didn’t bother going further north, they found their krill and herring in the Juan de Fuca Straits!  In my 18 seasons of Alaskan itineraries, I have never, ever, seen so many Humpback whales  gathered in so small an area.  At the western-end of the Straits, with the sun rising, all one could see were spouts of whales glistening in the sun, literally scores, (I would estimate 80 to 100).  The sea was ‘boiling’ with herring, many of the whales weren’t even bothering to dive and get them, instead staying on the surface, mouths open, scooping them in.  Unbelievable.  I tried to take photographs, however none of them did justice to the scene.

Just a few; they stretched as far as the eye could see.

K1 is with me this cruise, she wants me to go on the zip-line while she takes photos, am I missing something here?  🙂