Day 22, 23, 24 & 25 - Wrangell to Petersburg (x2) to Red Bluff Bay - and a Macallan's on Glacier Ice
Day 22 - We woke on day 22 in Point Baker and were introduced to a very cool wet reality (for the uninitiated, anyway), that much of South East Alaska is considered a Temperate Rain Forest. More smooth seas, but a test of Perfect Pitch's wipers, as we crossed Sumner Straight and made our way to Wrangell. As we had been travelling, Sue and Wiel had quietly and very kindly set up a jet boat tour into LeConte Glacier, the southernmost tidewater glacier of the Northern Hemisphere. Wrangell, one of Alaska's oldest cities (a 2,500 person Alaskan metropolis), was to be our launch point the next day. We struggled to find moorage in the rain, but eventually ended up bow to stern with Buttercup, and enjoyed Halibut pizza at Nic's, the only place serving food on a rainy Sunday.
We spent time searching for a fuse for our Kabola heater and got a kick out of local art installations like Copper Griz and Captain Morgan. FMD whipped up a Memories of Langara Teriyaki/Soy sauce for more of our fresh Salmon.
Day 23 - The rain and iffy seas continued unabated, so our trip to LeConte Glacier got canned. That's what happens on adventures aboard Perfect Pitch. Weather, tides, plans, emotions - all are subject to change - it's an exercise in perseverance, adaptation and patience. Captain Wiel, man of action, said "let's head to Petersburg", about 40 nautical miles north west, through the amazing Wrangell Narrows. Little did we know that Sue, undaunted, had kept phoning and connecting until she found a jet boat operator in Petersburg, who would take us to the Glacier the next day. An approach to LeConte, from the north, and the weather looked to be in our favour. Thanks so much, Sue and Wiel, for living and sharing the true nautical spirit of kindness with us.
And we LOVED Petersburg. Credos, and a Norwegian heritage, to be admired.
We got some retail therapy, too, and FMD bought in hard on Grunden's gear - "it's only available in Alaska, you know". And MORE real estate shopping - when are we moving!
Note the orange Grunden's rain jacket - it's quality stuff! For the 5 days of rain a year in Calgary - gotta have it.
But best of all, perhaps, in this amazing place, surrounded by natural beauty and inhabited by beautiful people, who wouldn't live anywhere else, was their public restroom near the harbor front. Wiel and FMD agreed its the finest on the planet. Somewhat surprisingly, Sue and Samara didn't seem to care.
But the people of Petersburg sure seem to...
Day 24 - We found a Breakfast place that we embraced called the Salty Pantry. How they turn out the best cinnamon buns in SE Alaska, and such an elaborate breakfast and lunch spread, is beyond us. But a hearty start set us up for one of the Best Days Ever. Our Jet Boat tour of the LeConte Glacier. Wiel was determined to get us to see "some ice", and Sue refused to stop calling around, until she found our guy, Captain Rob. A fifth generation Norwegian, fisherman, school teacher and tour guide - you do what you have to survive and thrive in Alaska. Perfect guy for us.
Salty Pantry could use some SSI Condiments.
Forging our way up the narrow Fiord.
To get to this! Most certainly one of the natural wonders of the world, LeConte Glacier is 34 km long and 1.6 km wide and flows southwest to the head of LeConte Bay, coming down from the massive Stikine Ice Field which straddles the border between Alaska and British Columbia along the Coast Mountains.
The most visually striking natural phenomenon imaginable, shared with our new found friends...
And Captain Rob and his first mate, Sage, from Kalispell, who was named after her Dad's favorite fly rod. Catching Captain Rob in one of FMD's favorite moves, the IPhone Pano, was super appropriate. A larger than life guy and if you're ever in Petersburg, AK, let us know. We'll send you his way.
Sage landing about a 20 pounder, of Glacier Ice, for our cocktails by the GLacier, with an audience. The Harbour Seals give birth on the ice flows, to stay safe from the Orca's, until the Orca's knock them off, and the eagles dine on the placentas. It's quite the food chain in Alaska.
Skol - the Norwegian Cheers! Macallans at LeConte Glacier, and Champagne for Samara. "Here’s to having such great family who are also such great friends!" Captain Wiel - from a couple of weeks ago, but perfect for this moment, too. And to be so fortunate to share this with one another, courtesy of Wiel and Sue. We are forever grateful.
Day 25 - We set out on a 70 Nuatical Mile day to Red Bluff Bay. The seas were amazing, the sun was out, and so was the wildlife.
Squabbling Sea Lions saw us out of the Petersburg Harbor and soon after we came across the quintessential Alaska image...
And then we had a huge Humpback come right at the Perfect Pitch - it put our size in perspective.
Along our way to Red Bluff Bay - note the Bluff...
Captain Wiel, ever the detailed and thoughtful journey planner, steered us back to one of his and Sue's favorite spots, Red Bluff Bay, on Beranoff Island, one of the young islands in the chain, vs. the million year old Admiralty Island, right across the Chatham Straight. Alaska - a geologist's dream.
Spectacular Anchorage and setting...
Captain Wiel took in a little chill time on the Fly Bridge....
...while FMD took another Alaskan Plunge.
We capped off another anchorage in paradise with amazing SSI pulled pork, one of our trip favs for sure, grilled chicken and a Samara salad. It just doesn't get much better than this - the Fly Bridge Grill has become one of FMD's favorite places in the world.
Grill smoke, originating on Perfect Pitch and wafting across an other-worldly natural setting ...Wow! Stay tuned for one more post from this chapter of the Adventures of Perfect Pitch.