After four nights on the hook in Red Bluff Bay, it feels good to be cruising once again. Our weather forecast predicts seas building this afternoon in Chatham Strait so we have an early departure of 6 am. It is a beautiful 30 mile cruise south along the eastern shore of Baranof Island. The snow capped mountain peaks are stunning. Other than for one solitary whale spout, we are again all alone today. As we work our way south we can begin to feel the swells from the ocean entrance. Idyll Time handles them with ease as our bow gently rises and falls.
An orange and white day beacon marks our entrance into Little Port Walter. We enter the outer harbor and study the narrow 30 yard wide channel that leads into the inner harbor and our anchorage area. We purposely arrive mid tide on a rising tide so as to safely avoid any problems with shallow depths. We see no evidence of the mentioned current and slowly ease into the inner basin never seeing less than 20 feet on the depth sounder.
Inside the harbor is a NOAA fisheries research station. Several buildings, cabins, and fish pins occupy the harbor. A fish ladder is at the far end of the Cove. We see a few salmon jumping. Baranof Island’s snowy peaks loom in the background. It is another beautiful anchorage spot.
Time Out, our dinghy, is soon deployed for some exploring. Big Port Walter, the next cove north, looks to have several promising anchorages but it is not well charted. With our new Garmin chart plotter, we can record actual contour and depths. By recording some of these uncharted anchorages on a memory card, we can later return in Idyll Time without the worry of if the charts are correct or not. Three miles of travel brings us to Lovers Cove. It terminates in a beautiful grassy meadow with two salmon streams. This would make a great anchoring spot.
Ashore we spot two bears relaxing in the grass. As we ease closer, we see they are engaging in courtship. After charting the anchorage, we quietly motor on giving them some privacy. Lovers Cove seems to be a fitting name for this beautiful spot.
Reaching the harbor head, we spot the remains of an abandoned saltery and cannery plant.
It is situated next to a magnificent waterfall.
At one point in time, almost every bay along Chatham Strait had some sort of whaling station, hearing plant, or salmon plant. When the herring and whales disappeared, these settlements and plants were just abandoned. It is eerie to see all the machinery just rusting away in such a beautiful place.
On our return trip we catch up to a lone kayaker. Gerrard is the station manager at the NOAA facilities in Little Port Walter. He and one other worker live here year round. They normally allow visitors to come ashore but with the covid virus they are in full lockdown. We will save a tour of the facility for another visit.
It’s now time to start working our way back north in search of whales, halibut, and salmon. Thanks for following along.