By Janelle Eklund
We lucked out with the rough waters. The scary rocking and tipping of the boat subsided as the waters mellowed into Wells Bay, erasing my fears into the calm depths. As we anchored in Cedar Cove a young seal greeted us at the door to its home.
The evening was peaceful and our hearts were content feasting on the fruits of the sea and land - a beautiful view, fresh baked succulent salmon, fried potatoes and fresh green beans from the greenhouse. The night was cloudy and threatening to rain but we went exploring before it wetted the land. We took the dinghy to shore and walked the short distance to Cedar Lake. A beautiful rocky meadow graced the end of the lake we were standing on. Profusions of the same wildflowers we saw yesterday decorated the meadow. Colorful salmon orange to brown mosses covered everything – rocks, trees, stumps, dead logs - living in harmony with their accepting host. Pockets of miniature pond dark tundra eyes stared at us.
We rowed the dinghy to a couple places on the other side of the cove in anticipation of climbing the nearby hills. The vegetation was too dense to maneuver through so we explored the shoreline while warning Mr. Bear that we were visiting. Small colorful starfish clung to rocks in the undulating cycle of the tide. Wolf scat warned us that a wolf had been here recently.
Back at the boat we sat on the deck reading the rest of the evening away as eagles silently soared and the boat swayed a lullaby. As we prepared to go to bed about 10:00pm a black bear showed itself exploring on the same shoreline we walked earlier. He wandered around a bit, probably investigating our scent, and then disappeared into the bushes.
Woke to rain, fog, and a grey calmness in the little cove. Leaving around 8:15am we headed to Valdez. As we left the bay we encountered some fairly good swells that fortunately had left the wind behind. When we got out into more open water the seas were even more playful. Definitely a sitting journey, secure everything and get out the ginger to ease the stomach for a choppy ride home. No white caps but waves coming at us sideways making for another hair raising ride. I hate those sideways-coming-at-you waves. They are very disconcerting! My beating heart kept in sync with the waters as they calmed the closer we got to Valdez, and was back to normal by the time we docked in the harbor at 12:15pm.
Despite the rocky ride, it was another wonderful experience that kept us anticipating the next adventure to hidden coves, sea life encounters, and speaking glaciers.
From my light to yours-
Who We Are
WISEfriends are several writers connected with Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, a nonprofit organization located in Alaska's Copper River Valley. Most of these articles originally appeared in our local newspaper, the Copper River Record.