Day 40 | 2023 Flotilla to Alaska | Taku Harbor to Tracy Arm Cove

Every summer during the flotillas, almost every evening, there’s discussion about what time people want to leave in the morning. Sometimes we have a reason to need to leave early (weather, timing for current and tides, things like that), and when we don’t have a reason to leave early, we leave it up to the individual boats. We’ll put in the written plan, even “Leave whenever you want today!” Inevitably, and especially after quite a few early mornings and sunrise at 4am, people generally tend to wake up early. They look out and they see how gorgeous it is out and they want to get going early regardless…more chances to see wildlife, enjoy the next spot, etc. But occasionally, okay maybe often, one or two or three of the boats will be gone before the time we said we’d all leave, because once one leaves, well, you get the idea.

So last night at happy hour in Taku Harbor, the jabbing resumed and so I declared for Airship that we would not be leaving until 6am. Promise. Plus, there’s no point getting to the Tracy Arm bar with a bunch of current still ebbing against us, right?

Well guess what? We set our alarm for 5:40am, and we got up…everyone was gone. Fine then. 🙂

Conditions today could not have been better.

First ice spotted in Stephens Passage

We all anchored in Tracy Arm Cove (sometimes called No Name Cove, but we like Tracy Arm Cove and find it more descriptive of where it is), immediately spotted two bears on shore, anchored, and watched the bears for a bit while we made breakfast.

Kim from Seabear sent these two photos of the bears right before we arrived…they were snuggling!!

Once the bears had disappeared up into the tree line, out the dinghys went!

We watched this particular (huge) iceberg slowly shifting it’s orientation over the course of an hour or two…fascinating!
Our boats at anchor in the background
So many spots on this big one grounded just outside the anchorage that looked volatile and precarious!

We kept collecting ice thinking we’d go back in shortly, but we kept staying out and the ice kept melting, so we kept collecting more. Not sure this is what they mean by “ice fishing” but we had fun.

Joanne (from Two’s Out) with her first catch
Mike and Betty from Two’s Out in their dinghy
Paul and Kim from Seabear, with iceberg for scale, outside the anchorage
Doesn’t that part on the far left look like it should fall any minute??
There was some good bubbling action with several medium sized bergs popping up from underneath the surface eventually.

What is apparent after doing very many circles around this iceberg waiting for some drama, is that the vertical line on the far right was once the waterline…and the part to the right was above the water and everything to the left of it was once underwater. So interesting to visualize that (and to get a clear visual of how it once was oriented!)

Mike and Betty (Two’s Out) in the dinghy

We went over to check out a new iceberg that had appeared near the big one we were watching for drama, and accidentally drove over what we originally thought was the rocky peninsula, but turns out it was part of the iceberg.

Part of the iceberg underwater

We knew this for sure because once we were away from it, the underwater part broke free from the up top part of it and up to the surface it rose!

The textures can be so so beautiful!

This was a portion of very dirty ice, with some cool fringe-bits frozen in ice, that had broken off from the underwater portion.

Looks like an eel with centipede legs!

As we finally made our way back to the anchorage, we spotted the bears on shore again…this one down by the water line, and its buddy up in the tree line (not visible at the moment).

The bear near the water decided it was time for a cooling dip in the water, so I took some video while that was happening.

Kevin took the drone (a Mavic 3 Classic) up for some aerials of our anchorage, and also of the big iceberg outside (with dinghy from Two’s Out). This is Airship from overhead:

Here’s a fun flyover video Kevin made with the Mavic:

We also had a couple of eagles making a lot of racket on shore, diving at each other and squawking. Fun to watch, hard to photograph!

Happy hour on Airship tonight with glacier ice in our cocktails! Up tomorrow morning and heading to Ford’s Terror!