Lynn Canal. June 19, 2015.
29 June 2015 | posted at Auke Bay
Photo: The anchorage at Sullivan Island in Lynn Canal.
A flat sea stretched out before us, reflecting the warm sun overhead - weather we hadn't expected in Lynn Canal. We were heading for Skagway, a trip many cruising boaters forego. The voyage up Lynn Canal can be both time consuming and hazardous. In the summer, the wind blows primarily from the south and Lynn Canal's geography, oriented north-south and narrowing as it goes north, intensifies the winds. With few anchorages on its rock-bound coast, Lynn Canal is not a place you want to be during bad weather.
The occasional splash and flash of brown going in our direction told us we were on a sea lion route. Farther north, Dall porpoises crisscrossed our bow and a humpback whale blew in the distance. Then as we approached Sullivan Island, a pod of Orcas surfaced near the mainland. We'd seen more marine mammals than boats.
As we approached our anchorage, in a bight opposite Sullivan Island on the Canal's west shore, a horsefly settled on the chart. Steve swatted it with his hand, but missed. Two others buzzed around the chart plotter and still more hovered around our heads. "A shame to have to hide below in such a beautiful spot," said Steve when we had put down the anchor as the flies still buzzed. But that was exactly what we did, putting up screens on both hatches before going below.
An hour later I looked out the port lights. The wind was blowing and the flies were gone. I got in the dinghy and rowed out to photograph the anchorage. A row of snow-topped mountains climbed above us to the east and another row seemed to hang right over us on the west. More mountains were to the north. A green marsh curved along the shore to the south.
That evening as the wind diminished, we watched the setting sun turn mountains to the east pink and accentuate the valleys and ridges in the the west. This was certainly one of the most spectacular anchorages we'd visited in SE Alaska. This is why we go cruising, I thought, why we take the risk to explore places like the Lynn Canal.
Steve's thoughts were going in a different direction, reflecting on life's decisions. "I can't imagine ever moving back to Illinois after seeing this," he said.