June 8, 2022 Day 12: Thomas Bay (Ruth’s Island) to Pybus Bay (Cannery Cove)
Last night was a late night getting to our anchorage, we didn’t even drop the anchor until after 10:00 PM, then we had our soda with a bergy bit, so it was a very late night. Luckily when we have late nights, Ellen does sleep in. Everyone stays in their bed until Ellen wakes up, and then we are allowed to start our day. Normally she is the last one up. At home she sleeps for about 12-13 hours at night, and here she has been sleeping only 10 hours or so, so in the mornings we let her sleep as long as she can.
After breakfast we headed out. For breakfast we normally do instant oatmeal, or hashbrowns (freeze dried kind) and eggs, if we are in a hurry we just do granola bars. Sometime I’ll do a post of what we ate on the boat.
I really wanted to see more of Thomas Bay, not just Ruth’s Island, where we anchored, so we drove around more of the bay. On one of the beaches we saw an eagle eating a carcass of some sort, I’m thinking deer. We spotted it a ways away, and pulled out the binoculars so everyone could watch it. Then we got as close as we could without getting too shallow and without scaring it off. It was fascinating to watch. Eagles are so strong and really scary actually. We would watch it use its tail to get leverage to pull at the bits of animal that were left.
Before the trip we decided to invest in a good pair of stabilizing binoculars. It has been way worth it to have. The kids are able to spot things and watch the animals for a while, even while rocking on the boat. I also bought a zoom lense for my camera, just a 100-400 mm and that has also been way worth it to have. I would recommend both to anyone who does the inside passage.
After watching the eagle for a while we kept going on our exploration of Thomas Bay. We boated to the base of Baird Glacier. In Alaska there are multiple types of glaciers. Glaciers that don’t reach the water and then there are tidal glaciers. Tidal glaciers reach the water and calve icebergs-where bits of the glacier fall off into the water creating icebergs. Non-tidal glaciers don’t reach the water. Baird Glacier doesn’t quite reach the water and doesn’t calve icebergs. Although I think at one point it did, over time it has retreated. Many glaciers in Alaska are retreating, or shrinking. When we were at the base of Baird Glacier we did find an iceberg in the water. I think the icebergs flow down the river the melting glacier creates. Unlike LeConte where the ice was so thick in the water, we only saw the one lone iceberg at Baird Glacier. I do believe you can go ashore and walk to Baird Glacier and the lake up there. For us with little kids it wasn’t an option. I’ve also heard you can go up the river at high tide in a dinghy and go to the glacial lake. Our boat is small, so our dinghy is small and we have a lot of people so we only have manpower for our dinghy. Going up the river wasn’t an option for us either. Even though we couldn’t see the more adventurous side of Baird Glacier it still was awesome to see.
Getting gas up here hasn’t been tricky per se, but it has taken a lot of planning. Our boat has a 50 gallon tank on it so we do have some range. Naively we didn’t think about how much worse our gas mileage would be with a fully loaded boat. We have been slowly adding more spare gas tanks as we go to help increase our range. Due to covid some of the fuel stations aren’t as predictable as we thought. We also have less cell service/internet access, so being able to call places or look up hours online has also been trickier. We didn’t want to risk our gas situation so we decided to head back to Petersburg where we knew gas would be, and we knew the hours.
We timed Petersburg just right to grab some lunch on land. We walked around the town a bit and grabbed some food. We ate at Inga’s which was good. One thing I really liked about Petersburg was how much stuff was really close to the marina. It was great to just have a quick walk. There were even hotels right there, so maybe in the future we will stay a night on land in Petersburg, but not today.
After we ate and got fuel we decided to keep going. We left around 4:00 PM. We had pretty rough water crossing a few straits. The first crossing was 7 miles and we had side seas. Those ones make me feel the most uncomfortable. It feels weird to be pushed from the side, it almost feels like the boat will tip, even though we were very safe. Chris said the boat handles really well in that type of water. We made it across and where the land forms a point, we were getting ready to cross another strait, we saw a humpback whale. The other crossing was 15 miles. It was an uncomfortable ride, but it wasn’t too bad. We made it into Pybus Cove and the waters were calm, the sun was setting behind all the mountains, and it really was a stunning sight to see.
Ryan’s Thoughts: We boated and saw a glacier and I got a shulker box full of totems in Minecraft.
Lillian’s Thoughts: Today I had a amazing breakfast! Eggs and poptart bits and then we went on land to have lunch and mine wasn’t very good and I had a great dinner so ya, bye!