This morning we awoke in Iyoukeen Cove, the glassy water of the Inside Passage reflecting the silver of the low clouds. After breakfast, we transferred to the sandy beach to venture out on kayaks and into the dense Tongass rainforest. Coral root orchids, bear bread fungus, and Devil’s club dotted the forest. We listened to the ancient rainforest with only birdsong breaking the quiet. Kayakers and stand up paddleboarders paddled along the quiet beach and calm waters of the cove. We made trumpets from bull kelp pneumatocyst floats and filled the air with bugles.
A scrumptious lunch of chili later, we pulled into Pavlov Harbor in Freshwater Bay. A mother coastal brown bear and her two young cubs grazed on grasses along the shore. From our inflatable fleet we watched them meander down the beach, walking along logs, and even taking a quick swim before they took their exit into the shadows of the forest. Harbor seals darted through the deep green water after salmon below Pavlov Falls, and eagles called from treetops as we cruised the shoreline.
Back onboard, a brave few tested their mettle against the cold waters in a Polar Plunge. As we left Pavlov, a pod of resident killer whales surrounded us, diving and dashing through the water, their white eye spots glowing green in the rich water.
It’s never easy to end a journey, but we can look back on these six days with joy and wonder. Tomorrow we arrive in Sitka and return to life as normal, thoroughly changed by our shared experiences during this amazing week.