Late Summer Break

It wasn’t raining.  In mid August that’s a good thing if you are going out on a wildlife cruise.  The last week has had the feeling of autumn, as the fireweed tops out and the leaves on the ground bush start to turn.  We are only two weeks from the start of school.  That seems too early.

Allen Marine sponsored a wildlife cruise to benefit the Ocean Sciences Bowl Team from the Sitka Sound Science Center.  We left at 2 PM cruising through the fleet trolling for salmon.  We pulled up alongside a raft to Sea Otters floating in a kelp bed.  After watching them cavort a bit it was into Redoubt Bay to Redoubt Falls, not much of a waterfall with the season’s highest tide.  Redoubt lake, which falls into the bay, used to be a fjord but the island is rising because of glacial rebound.  Glaciers melt, loosing weight, and the compressed island underneath rises.  We saw sockeye salmon jumping but not the bears at the falls catching them that we often see.

Along Frosty Reef we saw a gray whale, unusual for this time of year.  Normally they are here in March and April on their way from Mexico to the arctic, stopping in Sitka Sound for a snack to top off the fat before heading further north.  They stop again on the way south.  Too early for that, but don’t tell the whale we saw.

Then we saw two groups of humpback whales, one along the shore and one out in the sound where the water was a little rough.

Three hours goes too quickly, and we were back at the dock by 5 PM.  Nice day.

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