Photo: Thomas Bay
We left Petersburg on the last of the ebb, motored west in Frederick Sound and arrived at the entrance to Thomas Bay just in time to enter on the flood, passing through red and green buoys marking a break in an old terminal moraine. Ahead, we could see the first part of the bay, stretching out like a flat mirror. Not a breath of wind ruffled the water.
"Let's look at the glacier before we anchor in Scenery Cove," I suggested to Steve. I wanted to show our guests, Mike and Sheryl Wytychak, the glacier's outwash plain, a feature not present in most other glaciers in SE Alaska. We had hoped to take them for a walk on the outwash plain but the tides weren't right for getting ashore safely (a half-tide-rising-tide is the best.)
But when we turned the corner, a blast of cold air hit us and I struggled to hold the binoculars steady in the waves and get a good view of the glacier. Were those trees I was seeing where I expected only sand and ice? It looked like a line of green. We hadn't seen this glacier for six years so I wasn't sure what I was seeing.
We turned and retreated to our planned anchorage in Scenery Cove.
We would see the glacier in the morning when the wind was calm. Two other boats were already anchored there but there was plenty of room for more.
Despite the strong winds outside in the bay, the surface of the cove was flat. Just before dinner our friend Gary in the sailboat Erebus
rafted to us. We invited him and his crew for dinner.
Photo: Scenery Cove
When we woke in the morning Erebus was gone. Morning sun shimmered off the water. We raised anchor and motored out of the cove. In the bay, the winds were calm. We motored toward the glacier but soon discovered there was less depth than the chart showed. But even at a distance we could see a distinct line of vegetation with a thin layer of ice above it. Baird Glacier was shrinking while the plants on its outwash plain grew.
Photo: The Baird Glacier, just barely visible above its outwash plain.
On Google Maps search for Thomas Bay, Alaska to see where we were and what the bay looks like.