Photo: Osprey anchored in Gardner Bay.
For the second day in a row we traveled only 15 miles to our next destination, anchored in a wilderness setting and enjoyed a sunny afternoon. I could get used to this!
We left Nichols Bay just after low tide. At first I thought we might be in for a rough ride as I could see what looked like whitecaps farther out. But we soon discovered they were tide rips instead of wind waves. The tide currents pushed us east around Cape Chacon into calm water, then north up the coast of Prince of Wales Islands. With no wind and calm seas we were flying over the ground at 7-8 knots, arriving at Gardner Bay before lunch.
Like Nichols Bay Gardner Bay is protected by a collection of islands at its mouth. But Gardner Bay is somewhat smaller, the entrance is even narrower and the anchorage is shallower. It's also more scenic. Steep hills rise on three sides, forming an impressive bowl.
We put the outboard on the dinghy and explored the bay, poking into tiny nooks with small waterfalls and around rocky points. Now that we're farther south the forest is more diverse. We saw cedars and pine trees in addition to the hemlock and spruce we'd seen farther north. And from what we could see from the dinghy, the forest floor was covered with an undergrowth of salal instead of moss.
We took the dinghy all the way back out to the entrance where a flock of rhinoceros auklets splashed and dove.