Sunday, August 12, 2018

Stuck in the Muck - Glacier Bay Day 1 & 2

Day 1 in Glacier Bay was lovely. After attending the mandatory boater orientation at 8am, we had a quick breakfast and went ashore to briefly check out Bartlett Cove as a family. Frankly, there wasn't that much going on, and we were anxious to get up in the bay, and catch as much of the tide as we could. We pulled out of Bartlett in pea-soup fog at 10am, bound for parts unexplored. Shortly, we were in the Sitakaday Narrows, running with a pretty extreme tide. Kyrie measured a speed over ground through this stretch of 12.6 knots. Not bad in a 6 knot boat! However, that was in the fog, so we were running on the AIS and radar. Thankfully there was zero opposed traffic so we had the place to ourselves.

As we passed Willoughby Island, the fog began to lift, exposing some blue sky peeking through. We decided to motor over to the protected area of South Marble Island to see just why it was protected. We saw hundreds of sea lions, and nesting seabirds were just covering the cliffs of the island. We identified Seagulls, Oystercatchers, Puffins, and Cormorants, along with a few we didn't recognize. It was a wonderful introduction to the bay.

As we motored on (there was zero wind, but it was sure pretty!) we decided to not be on the move too long our first day as we had pushed for 12 hours the previous day. We decided to head up into Shag Cove off Geikie Inlet, hoping for an isolated spot to call it home. Unfortunately, as we pulled around the point, it became obvious we would be in the dark all afternoon and into the evening, as the clouds and the high mountain peaks were fully shading the whole area--not quite what we were looking for in an anchorage.

With our hopes dashed a bit, we decided to push on an extra hour and a half up to Blue Mouse Cove. This is noted as one of the best, most popular anchorages in the entire park, so we anticipated sharing it. Lo and behold, we turned the corner to find it completely empty! We happily motored around a bit trying to figure out where we would like to set up shop for the night, and dropped the anchor. We had dinner and took the kids to the beach for a bit. Frankly, the beach was nothing special, but the scenery was beyond spectacular. After about an hour we headed back to Kyrie for the night as we were all pretty beat.

We awoke to partly cloudy conditions after thoroughly enjoying the still calm conditions all night and decided to stay put for the day. After a batch of peach oatmeal, we loaded up the dinghy with all of us and the two kayaks in tow to go explore the "motor restricted" area of Hugh Miller Inlet. This required a short portage of the dinghy and kayaks over a 300' wide stretch of land, along with dismounting the motor from the dinghy and leaving it behind on the beach to comply with the regulations.

We had no idea how hard this would be. It turned out the little portage we had set up for ourselves was through one of the nastiest chunks of mud any of us have ever experienced. The kids did OK, generally not going deeper than their ankles, but for the adults it was a different story. Both Kristen and I sunk to our knees at least a couple times and Kristen actually got stuck and fell over.

Undaunted, but pretty tired and filthy from that nasty slog, we boarded our human powered rigs and proceeded to explore the area a bit. We were able to see sea otters playing in kelp, a whale off in the distance, sea lions, and tons of birds. The real hit was a trio of loons that seemed to follow us around the island we landed on. Their calls were haunting.

After taking a break and hiking all over the island, we decided it was time to head home as our mud pit was now covered with water!! We rowed back, not aware that there would be a pretty good current against us (2 knots in a few spots!) After struggling, we made it back to the beach with our motor on it, hooked it back up, and motored the mile back to Kyrie. Thoroughly tired and a bit cold, we headed in, Megan took a nap, and the 4 of us made popcorn and watched the first episode of a new-to-us series called "Legend." (Richard Dean Anderson and John deLancie)  It was a lot of fun, and a good way to unwind.

Then, it was time for dinner. Kristen made an awesome cabbage salad and Pork Ragu for dinner. We are now cleaning up and preparing for family game night.... If the kids get the dishes done in time!

Until next time!

-The Kyrie Crew

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