Snug Cove to Blue Mouse Cove

  It was a peaceful night. Snug Cove provided a very well protected anchorage. When we awoke our boat had a few hundred black flies sitting on the decks, rails and kayaks. They proved to be no problem and by the time we were ready to lift anchor, they had departed for parts unknown. It was almost as if they needed a place to spend the night.

The anchorage at Snug Cove is surrounded by dramatic granite

It looks completely different when the clouds move in; but still beautiful to me.

As I was shaving, I looked out the window and on the near shore was a black bear. “Bear”, I called to Karen who sprung into action, grabbing her binoculars and charging the saloon windows. We watched for about thirty minutes as the black bear made his way along the beach. This bear seemed to be on a mission, because he seldom stopped to graze on a tasty morsel or uproot some green grasses. He finally disappeared along the stream bed at the head of the inlet. That’s one bear spotting for me this trip. All the rest of the bear sightings go to Karen.

The only bear that I was able to spot before Karen

We made our route to Blue Mouse Cove such that it would swing by Geikie Rock. This outcropping is one of the locations within the park where you must remain 100 yards from the shoreline line. As it was restricted, we were hoping that there would be good critters to observe from a distance. However there was not much on the island; a few seagulls and a spattering of other birds and two sea lions.

We set our course for Blue Mouse Cove in hopes that the weather would continue to cooperate and we could do some kayaking in the adjacent inlet, Hugh Miller. The Hugh Miller Inlet is one of a handful that is restricted to non-motorized vehicles during certain times of the year. But the wind and rain came up as predicted, except it was from the north rather than the south as forecast. We set the anchor in the northeast cove of Blue Mouse to accommodate the winds. This area was previously home to a park ranger float, but the float was moved to South Sandy Cove due to concern that a landside in Tidal Inlet, 6 miles away, might do damage to the float. Hmmm…

We were settling in when one of the park-based sightseeing catamarans, the Fairweather Express II, passed within 50 feet of our anchored boat doing greater than 8 knots. Needless to say, the wake from his vessel set off an unwelcomed episode of rolling and bobbing.

As we watched, the catamaran put its two bows on the rocky beach and held herself there with her with forward idle. The crew helped unload six kayakers, three kayaks and their gear. Once off loaded, the Fairweather Express II reversed course and left the cove. This time he was moving slower, but far faster than a no-wake speed. The president of the operating company will be getting a letter, with a copy to the Park Service office at Bartlett Cove with a complete report on the captain’s actions.

As we watched the troupe of kayakers get their gear stuffed into their two-man boats, the rain continued to increase. This dampened our enthusiasm for the trek over to Hugh Miller Inlet. As these kayakers left the cove, we talked with them briefly. Their plans were to paddle around the area for the day and camp overnight and tomorrow they would be picked up and transported up to the John Hopkins Glacier and do it all over again. One of the paddlers, who was about our age with his less than enthusiastic looking wet wife in the front, did inquire about the specifics of our methodology of exploration. He wanted to know operating costs and if you needed a license. I gave him some broad details but I told them I would not reveal that our cabin temperature was 69F and I was standing talking to him a lightweight shirt and sock feet rather than in expedition wet gear.

From our location in Blue Mouse Cove, we could watch the passing traffic in the west arm. Two cruise ships, tour boats, the occasional power boat and even less frequent sailboat passed in and out of our view.

Evening approached and as Karen was awakening from her nap,  I saw a 49 foot Grand Banks entering the cove. It looked like our friends from Northwest Explorations’ Mother Goose flotilla, and sure enough it was Brian Pemberton and crew on the lead boat, Deception.

As the three other Grand Banks that were following him came into view, we confirmed that it was the Mother Goose fleet from Northwest Explorations, the same company we chartered our boat from.

After Brian got all his boats anchored and rafted up, he gave a call on the VHF and asked if he could come over after dinner to catch up. We enjoyed nice evening trading stories about what we have been doing and where we have been. Brian also shared his travels and future plans. Eventually we’ll all meet back up in Juneau and Arctic Starwill rejoin the flotilla on its way back to Bellingham, WA. As we chatted, a black bear yearling explored the near shore.

We bid adieu to Brain and settled in for the night, or so we thought.