Day 17 | Flotilla to Alaska | Petersburg to Thomas Bay

The leg from Petersburg to Sitka is the longest of the trip without services. For the next 10 days and 350nm, we’ll be away from groceries, fuel, water, and garbage. Before leaving, most of us grabbed one final breakfast ashore at Salty Pantry. Everything was delicious!

Egg spinach cheese sausage potato frittata with salad from the Salty Pantry. So good!

We think the next couple weeks, between Petersburg, Sitka, and Juneau, are the most scenic of the entire Inside Passage. Heading out of Petersburg on a sunny day certainly helps drive the point home. The horizon is filled with jagged, snow-capped, glaciated mountains.

Dog Star with glacier backdrop

The scale of our surroundings has changed dramatically over the last several weeks. When cruising the San Juans, like we’ve been doing for the last year, 20nm is one of the longer days—from Sucia to Anacortes, for instance. Our route today is 20nm and ranks as one of the shortest cruising days of the summer. Along the way, we see a fraction of the boats we’d see going from Sucia to Anacortes, just a handful of structures ashore, several glaciers, and 5,000-foot-high mountain peaks just a couple miles from where we’re floating.

Thomas Bay, our destination, is so large and diverse that we could spend a week exploring and not get bored. Baird Glacier, at the north end of the bay, can be reached on foot by the adventurous. Cascade Creek Trail has been beautifully rebuilt in the last several years, with an easy and rewarding walk to the waterfall, across a bridge, and alongside the creek. Out towards the mouth of the bay, gentle sandy beaches stretch towards the entrance bar.

Bonito entering Thomas Bay
Rubicon arriving at our Thomas Bay anchorage
Looking towards Baird Glacier in Thomas Bay

We arrived around noon in brilliant sunshine, quickly launched the dinghies, and headed for Cascade Creek. The forecast called for rain by 4:00 p.m., and we didn’t want to miss our chance to hike.

Cascade Creek Trail is awesome! It’s a little hard to find the beginning, right next to the waterfall, but once you do, it’s beautifully built, easy to follow, and fascinating rainforest walking.

Dinghies on shore near the trailhead
Cascade Creek through the trees
Part of the trail made of boardwalks
Cascade Creek
Back on shore with the dingies

After the walk, we explored the shoreline a bit, then returned to our boats to get ready for dinner. Tonight was grill night on the raft. Everyone brought things to throw on the grill and sides to share!

19.7nm today
752.7nm total