July 2, 2022 Day 36: Taku Harbor to Ford’s Terror 93 miles- 2498 total miles
We slept in a bit this morning due to a late night the night before. I’m always surprised how late Ellen can sleep due to how bright it is. Around 3:00 AM Chris gets up and puts on a sleep mask because the sun is too bright. Ellen doesn’t seem bothered by the early sun. The kids and I are in a more covered area, so the sun doesn’t bother us that bad.
After breakfast we left Taku Harbor and started our trip up Endicott Arm to Dawes Glacier. I was surprised how early we started seeing icebergs, big icebergs! The closer we got to Dawes Glacier the more ice we saw. We did have to be on close lookout for the smaller clear chunks of ice. They are basically floating clear rocks and could really mess up our prop if we hit one. They are also hard to see, so both Chris and I had to keep a close eye out. We also were able to see seals on icebergs. That was one of my Alaska bucket list items, so it was exciting for me! (Other bucket list items are: bears (check), whales (check), wolves (check), catching a halibut (catch), bears fishing/eating salmon, and a moose. As of now we just need to see the bears eating salmon, and a moose.)
At one point I thought the ice was too thick and we wouldn’t be able to make it super close to Dawes Glacier, but Chris very slowly made his way through the ice. All of a sudden the ice cleared and we had a pretty open path to the glacier. Just in front of the glacier the ice got thick again. Near the face of the glacier there were a lot of seals on the icebergs. It was fun to watch them, watching us. We didn’t see the glacier calve much while we were there, but it was still impressive.
After spending some time at Dawes Glacier we had to head out to Ford’s Terror. The opening of Ford’s Terror is very narrow and gets pretty shallow so it is recommended to go at high slack tide. (High tide being the highest the tide gets/the deepest the water will be. Slack being the water isn’t flowing quickly in or out, but is more relaxed.) Going at a lower tide is doable in our boat, but our first time going through we did want to do it at high tide so we could see how shallow it got. When the tides are ebbing (going from high to low) or flowing (going from low to high) the currents really pick up in the bottleneck getting into Ford’s Terror and they create rapids, whirl pools, and overfalls-really rough waves. Since the entrance to Ford’s Terror is so narrow, going when the tides are flowing could potentially push the boat into the rocks. While going through Ford’s Terror, at the right time, is safe and easy, going through at the wrong time could be dangerous.
Since it was our first time going we wanted to go through for the first time at high slack, the safest time to go. On this day that would be around 4:30 PM. We timed it so we were there on time, we surveyed the depths to get an idea of what it would be like if we came out at low sack tomorrow morning. Lituya, the Nordic Tug we anchored behind at Taku Harbor, was waiting to go into Ford’s Terror and we decided to just follow it through. Navigating through Ford’s Terror was a peice of cake, we had no problems at all.
Ford’s Terror is a very narrow fjord. There are massive mountains all around. It sure is beautiful. We cruised slowly through enjoying the scenery. When it opens up there are decent places to anchor in front of a waterfall and rocky beaches on two sides, and a nice grassy beach on the third side. After we anchored another small boat came through. They didn’t time slack tide, but they didn’t seem to have an issue going through.
Chris flew the drone before we went to bed. He tried to take it to the top of the waterfall, but our drone maxed out at 700 feet and we still didn’t quite make it to the top. This place really is incredible!
Chris wanted to take the dinghy out, but it was late and there were so many bugs we decided to get ready for bed instead. The warm, windless days really bring out the bugs. They just swarmed our boat. Some swallows came out to catch the bugs. The swallows are fun because they come land on the bow of the boat. We loved watching them.
Ryan’s Thoughts: We went on our boat and saw a calving glacier and saw seals on an iceberg.
Lillian’s Thoughts: Today I woke up then ate breakfast then we went to a glacier where we saw real life seals on the iceberg fun! Then I made my secret base! Then we went to our anchor spot, goodnight!