Wednesday, July 8, 2009

#34 - Mirror Cove to Pelican

Today we'll wait for a +7 feet and still rising tide to aid our exit from the West Arm of Mirror Cove. This means a 1:30PM departure so we'll take a walk in the woods to a natural spa.

We launch the tender unload our group at the start of a narrow boardwalk that leads to the spa. It's a 1-mile hike through dense vegetation. Along the trail, we notice paw impressions in the mud where bears have been grubbing for sweet plant roots. There's fresh bear scat as well. This encourages us to clap and talk loudly as we walk, and to remove the bear pepper spray from its holster.

This morning West Arm is even more mirror-like.

This 1-mile long path and boardwalk leads to a natural White Sulfur Hot Springs

Remember to clap your hands and don't forget the bear spray

A view out towards the Gulf of Alaska from the trail

This Lilly pond adds more scenery to our walk.

At last we reach a waterfront development. The US Forest Service maintained site includes a visitors cabin, indoors spa, outdoors spa, shower, bathtub and campfire site. All have spectacular views of the ocean. Hey this place has possibilities: it just needs some more rental cabins, bar/restaurant and convention hall. Oh my, what are we thinking. Although this setting has the high Eco-tourism potential, I suspect even our friend “Baywood Bill” couldn't consider developing in this pristine wilderness.

Bob and Alex enjoy the indoor spa and view.

Gerard likes the outdoors spa better.

Just imagine what we could do with 20 more of these view rental suites!

It's time to light up this campfire.

After a lengthy soak in the smelly, sulfated water, we walked back to our anchorage and tendered to the boat. Earlier, on the morning's super-low tide, we took the tender through our exit route from Mirror Cove West Arm, noting the rocks and reefs that would be submerged at high tide. We also recorded the route in detail on the GPS and used this course to exit. This approach eased our run-aground fear, and we felt so confident that Gerard launched a kayak for the photo op.

This route would be much-more thrilling at low tide.

Once clear of the Cove, we entered the Gulf's ocean swells for about 30 minutes, then turned northeast up Lisianski Strait towards Pelican. Along the way slow trolled for salmon each time we saw a creek outflow. Off a creek north of Stag Bay we hooked three king salmon, but each was too small to keep, being less than Alaska's 28-inch minimum.

Our route to Pelican

Gerard holds this small King Salmon before returning him to the sea

After fishing several creeks, we stowed the poles, and headed for Pelican. This is a boardwalk town with 70 permanent residents. The entire town is built on piers and the main street is a boardwalk. The only vehicles allowed are 4-wheel sport runabouts and golf carts.

The town hasn't yet totally given-in to tourism, but the recent closure of the fish processing plant means it will have to find another means of income. The fishing boats off-load at sea to transport vessels which instead of Pelican, take their catch to Hoonah for processing. Pelican still has a great bar called Rosie's which we visited and partook. However, the local market has closed and getting supplies and groceries could be tough. The library has the only public Internet access we could find and we used our 1-hour slot to answer emails, check the weather and complete some business. We didn't have time to update the blog.

Pelican: A town on stilts.

Pelican's quaint marina.

Main Street, down town Pelican, Alaska's smallest Incorporated city, is one of Peg's favorites.

We hung out in Pelican for two days, fishing it's shores, watching the two resident orcas, and visiting closely with the many, huge humpbacks.

Thar' she blows. A couple humpbacks surface close by.

The whales see us and re-submerge.

1 comment:

  1. That's a pink salmon you are holding- note the large spots on tail and the lighter colored gum lines.