After leaving Kake we headed home toward Sitka. We turned from Fredrick Sound into Chatham Strait and then into Peril Strait. Peril Strait was not named for any navigational hazard but because it is where many people died of paralytic shellfish poisoning. Place names tell a lot. Peril Strait is where they dug the clams. Then they paddled to a point where they got sick and died. That point is known as “Dead Man’s Reach.” A local coffee roaster has memorialized the name in one of their favorite brews.
As we made the turn into the strait, we were surrounded by whales bubble feeding, breaching, and keeping an eye on us through spy hopping. We moved around for the better part of the afternoon watching the whales while keeping a legal distance.
As the sun began to get low, we could see just a touch of a whale bow (or, if you will, rain blow) in the spouts.
After spending several hours, we passed Sturgis Narrows just before sunset (this is an area of fast tide runs) and the little bit of open ocean in Salisbury Sound and into Olga and Neva Straits, anchoring up in Naquisena overnight. The next day we made our morning run into Sitka.
I‘ve spent the past couple of weeks writing this blog. I decided not to bring the computer with me on the ship so I would not be distracted. It was a conscious decision. But it also meant that I did not follow my normal practice of downloading and culling photos as I went along and my nightly ritual of writing the day up before I went to bed. I have been paying for it, trying to drag up details from my COVID fogged brain and having to go through a couple of thousand photos (the blessing of digital) after the fact. But I’m glad I unplugged for a week to live in the moment.