Today was a pretty good day. Yesterday we left our anchorage at South Sandy Cove with the best of intentions of moving to Blue Mouse Cove which means jack shit to most of you but its further west, towards the active glaciers. First we wanted to go down closer to the inlet of the bay where we knew we could get cell coverage and internet access. Along the way we circled a little island where the sea lions hang out.
We didn’t get online as quickly as we had expected and by the time we did we were getting pretty close to the park office in Bartlett Cove. So we adjusted the plan, anchored in whale waters south of Bartlett Cove and waited for the tide to turn to flood. Our thinking was that the whales likely feed based on the tides and that they would be at the mouth of the bay waiting for the buffet to be served when the tide turned and started coming in again. And they were at the mouth of the bay when the tide turned. Unfortunately we were on the east side of the bay and the damnwhales were on the west side, roughly 4 miles away from us. So we watched and waited for a while until it became clear that the damnwhales weren’t going to come over to our side. Then we ducked into Bartlett Cove and anchored for the night because the wind was starting to get up a bit.
This morning we tried the tide thing again only this time we were dealing with a turn to ebb so we went to the northern edge of what the park calls “whale waters” and anchored on the east side again. Our luck was better. Right on schedule as the tide turned we started to see whales everywhere, including all around us. We were in over 100 feet of water and the tide was running about 3 knots so we weren’t very well anchored but we sat there for maybe half an hour before I got worried and we started pulling the anchor. That took longer than usual because normally the windlass only has to lift about50 feet of chain directly off the bottom but this morning it had over 100 feet dangling below the boat so it was slow going and we tripped the breaker a couple of times. We finally got all the chain back onboard and once again set out for Blue Mouse Cove.
We didn’t see much for wildlife along the way but the day was spectacular. The sun finally came out and we could see all the mountains surrounding us. And we truly are surrounded.
We were fighting the same ebb current that brought the whales’ breakfast so it took a long time but we arrived at our anchorage around 4:00. As we got close we thought we could see some whales feeding in the cove which was weird because its tiny and shallow. The whole cove is maybe 20 acres – 25 at the most – and it turned out that there was not one but three whales in it. Once we got anchored we watched the whales feed all around us for close to an hour before they “are you enn enn oh eff tee’d” (those of you who also watch too many movies may catch the significance – the rest of you will just have to wonder at our foolishness) We settled in on the aft deck with a glass of wine and planned to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening. We joked that I should start making supper so that the smell might attract a bear.
Almost immediately after we sat down I noticed movement on the beach about a half mile south of us. That turned out to be a cinnamon coloured grizzly. He was really too far away to see him very well but we watched him munching grass for a while and he steadily worked himself closer to us. The island right in front of where we anchored is connected to the island where the bear was by a shoal that dries at low tide, as it was when we arrived. Sure enough, before long, the bear was wandering his way across the isthmus between the two islands. Marilyn got bored watching him and went inside to wash her hair but she wasn’t inside for long.
By this time I had started supper so I wasn’t paying close attention to our bear but occasionally I would check him out and once when I looked he was running towards us. When I looked behind him it was easy to see why he was running – he was being chased by an even bigger, almost black grizzly. They ended up running right by the front of the boat, less than 1/8 of a mile away from us and then on down the beach until they disappeared around the point to the north of us.
We marvelled at our good fortune to see such an adventure and then sat down to eat supper. About halfway through supper, here comes cinnamon again, much slower, working his way back south along the beach and casting regular worried looks over his shoulders. I started filming his return and before long Marilyn said “here comes the other one!” They were both clearly worn out from their earlier run so they were moving much slower but clearly it was still a pursuit. At one point cinnamon took to the water and that seemed to throw the older bear off his game, for a while anyway. Eventually the cinnamon bear got back on shore and we last saw both of them working their slow speed chase across the beach to the south of us.
Now, if we could just see a wolf, our evening would be complete. We have developed a little ritual of having chocolate on evenings when we have something to celebrate. This was definitely a chocolate evening. We also had chocolate two days ago. That day we saw a momma grizzly and her three cubs out on the beach eating clams. We thought that was about as good as it could get at the time. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?