Airship | Sitka to Hoonah

Eliason Harbor, Sitka
Mt. Edgecomb, Sitka

We left Sitka with all our flotilla boats (minus Safe Harbour, who was headed to Juneau to catch a flight) and anchored for the night in Appleton Cove.

Kevin took the drone up for a few aerial shots of Appleton Cove:

The tiny dots at the bottom of this photo that look like dust on your screen? Those are ALL crab pots.

The next morning, we awoke to a whole lot of fog in Appleton Cove!

Doll Face, Akeeva, and Orca Star in the fog

The fog began to burn off just as one of the commercial crab boats came in to pull crab pots (blasting country music at 7am).

Kevin pulled the two crab pots we’d set out the night before — 5 keeper Dungeness!

We saw quite a few humpbacks during our transit of Peril Strait, and even a few of them bubble net feeding that we detoured across the strait to watch for a bit:

The boats split up at Chatham Strait the next morning…Doll Face and Orca Star were headed south back to Warm Springs Bay, Akeeva and Ceci Kay headed north for Tenakee Springs with Airship. Once tied up at the dock, we all wandered the dirt and gravel path to explore the town.

There were so many of these annoying bugs flying around…we don’t know what they were, and they didn’t bite (thank goodness!) but they sure were pesky! They covered most of the flowers along the path, too….so they’re apparently nectar-gatherers.

The low tide on Saturday morning was LOW! Minus 4.8. We left Tenakee around 10:30 a.m. and headed for Hoonah! Just before exiting Tenakee Inlet we spotted some orcas, moving fast near shore (so, no photos), but then as we rounded the corner, we found ourselves smack in the middle of over a dozen (probably over 20) humpbacks. Bubble net feeding, breaching, tail slapping, fin slapping…it was the best and most active group of humpbacks we’ve ever seen. It’s so hard to capture this incredible spectacle in photos. There’s just something magic about being there in person, hearing the breaths, the seagulls chattering as they fight for leftovers. Amazing.

These guys were so close to Airship when they came up that I couldn’t fit all of them in my frame!!

Kevin decided to take the drone up and attempt some humpback footage from the air for the first time. I’d say this is a success!

We hung out and watched the whales for about two hours…it’s tough to ever feel like you’ve gotten enough of this experience! As we reluctantly headed north, I spotted one humpback behind us in the distance, breaching over and over again. We slowed for just a couple more photos.

We arrived into Hoonah around 5:30 p.m. Not much transient room here (none on the transient dock), but the harbormaster found us each a spot for two nights. We walked up to what used to be Chipper Fish and is now called Fisherman’s Daughter, and had a great dinner! Beer-battered halibut, garlic fries, salmon tacos…all super fresh and delicious.

We all hung out on Airship for a bit after dinner and watched a documentary about humpback whales. There were about a dozen eagles over on the next dock fighting over/sharing a big orange rockfish, so I slipped out a took a few photos. The photos of the actual eagles with the fish didn’t turn out that great, but I love these two of the overseers:

We’ll do some sightseeing and shopping in Hoonah today, stay one more night, and then probably head over to Flynn Cove tomorrow — a beautiful anchorage in Icy Strait!