Ketchikan to Ryus Bay, Duke Island. August 8, 2011
23 August 2011 | posted at Port McNeill
Photo: Islands in Ryus Bay silhouetted by the sunset
We had three days to get to Prince Rupert but we only needed two. Moorage is so tight in Prince Rupert (the harbor is too deep to anchor) that to make sure we had a spot, we'd called ahead the week before to put our boat on the waiting list at the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club. To allow for weather and other unforeseeable events, we'd picked August 10.
Where to go on the extra day? We had never explored Duke Island, south of Annette Island (where Metlakatla is located). Ryus Bay on Duke Island's north coast looked well protected and interesting -- with little islands and reefs to explore.
The weather report had promised northwest winds, perfect for sailing south. But instead we had the usual light southerlies so we motored -- going down Nichols Channel on the east side of Annette Island. When we turned the southeast corner of Annette Island, suddenly we had all of Felice Strait and Duke Island to ourselves.
To enter Ryus Bay we wove our way through some very jagged reefs. Once we anchored, I explored the bay in my kayak, poking into nooks and crannies and admiring the thick cedar trees, set like old patriarchs in fields of scrawny hemlocks. As I approached a stream, I saw a deer feeding on the grassy shore. I paddled quietly towards it, expecting it to bolt when it saw me. But Instead it came right down to the water's edge as if it were observing me.
That evening the reefs and islands were silhouetted in a pink sunset.