By Janelle Eklund
We motored out of the harbor in Valdez at about 11:45am. As we neared Columbia Glacier we saw a line of ice that looked to be solid all across the bay. But as we got closer there were spaces to maneuver around. Paul decided to take the inside passage. It was a bit like tip toeing through a mine field. Weaving in and around the large chunks was fairly easy but after we got through that there were many small bergy bits all floating together, seeming to be holding a convention. Paul slowly managed to get through them with only hitting one or two small ones – no big deal. It certainly kept us on our toes, though, scouting a course. We probably won’t do that again. Arriving at Shoup Bay about 4:15pm, we anchored at a tucked in little cove. On the way here we saw what looked like a whirlwind and couldn't figure out what it was caused from until we saw a large whale tail slide under the water. The next time it surfaced was about a mile away.
After anchoring for the night we motored the dinghy to shore and went for a short hike. The sun peaked through hazy clouds as we hiked up through a warm, calm lush meadow. A bear had stood on the edge of the meadow - evidence lay in a pile on the ground. So we yelled out letting him or her know we were visiting.
A babbling brook ran through this beautiful meadow. Brook wore a colorful necklace of pink shooting star, chocolate lily, purple and pink daisy, yellow cinquefoil, purple iris and purple violets, along with prolific pinkish white flowers hanging from the blueberry bushes. Iris was just starting to bloom. Shooting star, daisies, and cinquefoil stood tall. Violets small and shy dotted the meadow in a pretty pattern. Brooks Saxifrage large green leaves provided the background, while salmon hues and dark brown mosses carpeted the meadow in a mosaic pattern. The brook fed this microcosm of life and the meadow responded in brilliant glory.
We headed back to the boat in the dingy to have dinner and end the night. The water is teeming with large jelly fish trailing long translucent tentacles. Their bright orange bodies pulsated to the rhythm of the sea.
While we waited for our dinner of tasty chicken pisole wrapped in tortilla shells to warm up we sat on the deck of the boat enjoying the peace, solitude and a drink. After a game of Mexican Train dominoes, which Paul won, we retired for the night to the gentle swaying of the boat and a lullaby of lapping waves.
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.