Today we sailed into Idaho Inlet on the north side of Chichagof Island. We anchored by Fox Creek which is a salmon creek, but no salmon yet. Tom decided to go on the leisurely walk with me because there was more time for photo opportunities. Even though there was no salmon, there was a lot of evidence that a bear had been in the vicinity recently. At the end of the walk, we just stopped and became one with nature. Because the trees are tall, they block sunlight to the forest floor, so the undergrowth is mostly mosses and ferns. We walked on the bear trails and in one place you could see where the bear had repeatedly walked on the moss and had permanent foot prints. Very cool, but I was very glad we did not actually see a bear.
In the afternoon, we went on an hour and a half zodiac ride through an area known as the Inian Islands. And no, I did not misspell ‘Inian.’ These islands are near where the Pacific Ocean comes into the northern end of the inside passage. The currents were quite wild so I can only imagine what it would be like when the tide is actually changing. We saw a large number of Steller’s sea lions. These guys are golden with quite a mane so easy to see why these are sea lions. They are also much larger than the California sea lion. The sea lions we saw were all outcast males. A few were huge and probably past their breeding prime. A male sea lion claims a good piece of territory and the females come because of the ground not because of him. Consequently, he often goes for more than a month without food because if he leaves his group of rocks another male will come and take over. This definitely shortens his life. We learned this in Africa too, that the male’s breeding prime is usually very short. This is nature’s way of keeping inbreeding to a minimum.
Then we saw two sea otters. At first we thought they were making more sea otters, but it turned out to be a mother saying good bye to her pup. It was quite dramatic. With the moving zodiac I still think I may have gotten some good footage and Tom captured some great photos. We also saw a lot of eagles.
We then sailed toward Glacier Bay National Park. Each ship is only allowed twenty-four hours in Glacier Bay so we could not enter the Bay until midnight. We are now docked at Glacier Bay National Park awaiting the arrival of our Park Service and Cultural Guides.
“The fool wanders, the wise man travels.” – Thomas Fuller
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Tom and Holly