Day 24 | 2023 Flotilla to Alaska | Petersburg to Thomas Bay

Today was an epic day!! First of all, we woke in Petersburg to some sun, which was very welcome.

This morning’s view from Airship

As we left the dock and headed for Frederick Sound, conditions looked very promising.

Frederick Sound was downright glassy, and you could even see the mountains! We got a peek in the evening yesterday, but today was even clearer!

The cruise down to Thomas Bay was fantastic–calm and wonderfully scenic!

Once inside the bay, we noticed a few bits of floating ice. We have not seen this before inside the bay, and figured it was due to the large amounts of ice in the sound that we saw from Le Conte yesterday, but (we learned later) it was actually coming from Baird Glacier here at the head of Thomas Bay, which is not a tidewater glacier, but the ice still has a path to escape from the glacial lake at higher tides.

Ice in Thomas Bay
Two’s Out entering the Ruth Island Cove anchorage

We all anchored at the Ruth Island anchorage, and Kevin put a line in the water for a bit to check for halibut, but instead pulled up a very large skate:

Kevin pulled up a large skate while jigging from Airship (let it go)

While it was gorgeous out with no rain or drizzle, Kevin took the new Mavic Pro up for some aerial shots of our anchorage:

Then after an hour or so when everyone was ready, we hopped in the dinghies and headed for Cascade Creek to hike the waterfall trail.

This is a gorgeous hike with a lot of stairs and a great payoff:

We spotted quite a bit of this scat on the trail, and after a bunch of internet research, we deem that it was moose scat and not elk scat. (The individual pellets were 1-1.5 inches long, which could mean either, but the older scat had turned light brown and was uniformly fibrous, where older elk scat turns black.)

After our hike, we got back in the dinghies and zipped the 6 more miles or so up to see if we could again get into the glacial lake in front of Baird Glacier. We timed it to arrive just before high slack and it was still flooding when we arrived. After a couple tries, we found the entrance that would go through, and after a little bit of 2-3ft depth, it opened up into 12 and then 50 and then 200 feet. Amazing! (We’d been once before, in 2021, and it was amazing!)

Baird Glacier in the far background:

We hung out in there for a little bit taking pictures and gasping in awe at the otherworldly beauty, and then Kevin took the Mavic mini drone up for a few aerial shots.

We feel so lucky this worked for us this year. We hoped to take the group in last year but the weather was terrible and the long dinghy ride up the fjord would have been miserable. Today we had some sprinkles, and it was a little cold, but it was incredible and completely worth it.

Taco night on Airship tonight, and on to Pybus Bay tomorrow!