Mickie’s Winter Basin in Gut Bay proved to be a spectacular place. The morning started with the usual overcast, but the sun soon started to part the clouds. After seeing me running all over the decks of Arctic Star with my camera, Lee from Sonata came over in his tender and offered to drive me around for some better angles. That’s the kind of people you meet while cruising.
It was low tide, so we went over to the entrance to take a look and snap a few images for future reference. I managed to take a couple of nice photos of Sonata and Arctic Star. I wanted to get a really nice “portrait” of Sonata for Lee that I could send him in thanks.
Sonata sits in front of the large waterfall
Sonata looks majestic against the backdrop of granite and waterfalls
Sometimes Arctic Star looks big, and other times, as here she looks small
Arctic Star in Margie's Winter Basin
It doesn't get much more spectacular than this
As we wrapped up our photo mission, Lee suggested that we go out and check his prawn traps in the large Gut Bay around the corner. We swung by Arctic Star and let Karen know our plans and also picked up Dave from Sonata, and off we went. As I mentioned, it was just coming up off of low tide so we only had just enough water for Lee’s tender to make it though with only one bump at the bow. Going though at low tide gave us all a great mental picture of the narrow passage that would come in handy later when we departed at high tide.
Checking in with Karen to let her know “the boys” are off for a little adventure
Leaving the entrance to Mickie's Winter Basin near low tide give you a good look at the contours of the passage
I’ve been out with a few people before to tend to prawn and crab pots, but Lee definitely has it figured out. The wide beam of the boat combined with the electric retrieval wench made easy work of hauling in 300 foot of line with two prawn pots at the bitter end. I took notes of the technique for using floating line with weights to prevent the line snagging on rocks. All in all, a great learning experience, and by-the-by, the pots did contain a nice harvest of prawns. Apparently, while I was gone having fun, Karen cleaned the boat and opened it up to get some fresh air inside after all the rain. Wonder who had more fun?
Lee mans the hoist to retrieve the prawn pots
Transferring the catch to the awaiting bucket
Sonata's tender is a great way to get around
Waiting for high tide that was predicted for around 1 pm, I continued to take pictures of this beautiful place as the clouds and light danced across the mountains, trees and water.
Critters have been a little scarce in this bay. The beach is perfect for bear, but all that we have seen on the beach is a Sitka Black Tail deer. I did manage to spot a Bald Eagle landing on the shore line and then eating a catch from earlier. Not very pretty, but interesting to watch.
A Bald Eagle working on a tasty morsel for and earlier catch
Karen polishes off another book on her Nook
As high tide approached, we lifted the anchor, along with a lot of sticky mud and some kelp. It’s a pain to clean off, but makes for a secure night’s sleep. Of course, as we departed, the wind started to funnel in through the narrow opening, making for some additional fun.
Blue skies make an appearance at Mickie's Winter Basin
Good holding in Mickie's Winter Basin
The narrow entrance to Mickie’s Winter Basin was traversed by following the course we used coming in. The area that was nothing but large rocks and rapids when I saw it this morning at low tide in Lee’s tender was now smooth with a moderate outflow. We passed over those same large boulders that were now just below the surface.
Leaving Mickie's Winter Basin at high tide makes for a safe passage
Our destination was not far. We decided to anchor at the head of the adjacent large bay at the mouth of the river. Into the kayaks we went to enjoy a paddle up the river. From the end of the open portion of the river we made it another 100 yards into a large 1 foot deep “pond”. This area will dry quickly when the tide goes out only leaving the narrow stream, but for now it was tranquil. However, I didn’t want to dally long, as I had no intention of portaging my kayak if the tide got too low. We reversed course and rode the river’s flow into the receding tidal flow.
Karen paddling around the shallow “pond”
Karen playing around the head of the river. The area is a rocky falls when the tide recedes.
Gut Bay is large but beautiful
Karen is dwarfed by the surrounding mountains
These boulders sit “on the beach” at low water
When we returned to Arctic Star, we had been joined in the anchorage by our friends on Sonata. A quick pass by in the kayaks and fond farewells were exchanged until we meet again.
Sonata and Arctic Star anchored in Gut Bay
Saying goodbye to Lee on Sonata
There is an interesting phenomenon that we witnessed in this area where fresh water runs into a body of salt water. The fresh water sits on top at a depth of six feet or so. At the top of saltwater layer there forms a layer of algae. When you look into the water you think you are seeing the bottom, but it’s only this thin layer of green life. I’ve never seen this before, but we have now observed it a couple of times on the last few days.
With the kayaks on board, we headed north to Red Bluff Bay. This is a similar alpine feeling location to Gut Bay, but one that is much more popular. There are a couple of spectacular waterfalls in the entrance channel and the drying beaches are known to be frequented by brown bear.
The entrance to Red Bluff Bay
There was only one sailboat in the anchorage when we arrived. Karen was predicting there would be six boats, so we felt lucky. Around 7:30 pm a classic motor vessel Discovery anchored. They look as if they do “adventure cruising” in this 1930’s-ish motor yacht. The passengers were all on deck enjoying the views as the vessel approached and anchored. But as soon as the anchor was set, all hands disappeared to the main salon, presumably for dinner.
Another hour or two passed when we spotted a two masted steel sailing vessel. The Maple Leaf out of Canada made her appearance. The passengers on this ship where also out on deck. However they were all bundled up as if they had spent most of the day on deck in the elements. Such is the differences between a sailing and a motor vessel. She also anchored and we enjoyed watching the alpenglow over the mountains before heading off to bed.
Another beautiful sunset in Red Bluff Bay