Becky and I arrived in Juneau at 1:30 am on Saturday. We crashed out with a few other paddlers on the lawn in front of the ferry terminal and attempted to sleep during the few hours of darkness that night. In the morning we were greeted by a text message from our friends Erik and Haley. Congratulations to them both on the arrival of Tilly! They make a beautiful family. Thanks for the photos Erik. We're thinking of you!
Our ferry ride north was idyllic. After weeks of hectic planning and studying suddenly we had absolutely nothing to do. Right out of Bellingham, between Sinclair and Lummi islands, we were sent off by a pod of leaping Orcas! Catching up on sleep, reading, writing and simply watching the inside passage slide by kept us entertained. We pitched a tent on the beck deck of the boat and stayed dry despite a bit of rain during the passage. Our fellow passengers ranged from families on vacation, a USFS fire crew, wannabe and veteran fishermen heading north, folks relocating to new lives and jobs in AK, and a few paddlers, bikers, and hikers out for adventure, from genteel to truck-stop rugged. Our longest layover was in Ketchikan where we had enough time to walk down to the recreated native village at Saxman to view the totems and carving studio. It was nice to have a chance to stretch our legs after 40 hours on the ship. Continuing north we stopped briefly in Wrangell and then headed through Wrangell Narrows in the pitch black ghosting between the bouys with only yards to spare on either side. Petersburg was shrouded in fog and backlit by the glow of dawn, but by then it was time to head back to bed. By morning of our third day we were in Frederick Sound and staring at the biggest crossing of our paddle trip south. That morning the 10 mile wide channel was as calm and flat as a lake, a beautiful day for a crossing. We're crossing our fingers to have similar weather when we finally get there in our kayaks. Arriving in Sitka via the narrows of Peril Strait we had just enough time to run to the NPS historic site to soak up a few more totems and history. Then it was north to Juneau for an early morning arrival, a snooze and a short but painful carry down the Glacier Highway to our put-in spot next to a fish processing plant. A short 1.5 mile paddle, our first in the expedition loaded boats, took us to the USFS Auk Village Campground, on the site of an old native settlement. A little bubbly to celebrate Tilly's birth and the beginning of the trip topped off the day. Tonight, Becky and I will be boarding the ferry to Bartlett Cove and Glacier Bay. Oh and by the way, Becky and I did a little roll practice in loaded boats today and are happy to confirm that, yes, you can roll a fully loaded sea kayak! Again, three cheers for our coaches Shawna, Matt, and Leon from Body, Boat, Blade!!