Leaving Auke Bay we paddled into a herd of whale watching boats. We saw a pod of killer whales in the distance come around a point chased by a giant white whale of a boat. It was almost comical to see the sleek, black, finned backs of the pod of whales contrasted by the lumbering boat that desperately chased them like an annoying little sibling. We stopped at one point to check out the show where humpbacks, killer whales, and sea lions were churning the water. At one point sea lions surfaced right next to my boat and then a couple humpbacks broke and surfaced as if they were vying for the same fish. It was incredible, the humpbacks were rolling over each other just 100 feet from our boats and coming our way. I was unconcerned until I heard the unmistakable sound of blow-spouts on the other side of my boat and looked to see a whole pod of killer whales only 50 feet away. That’s when I realized if we were bowled over by the humpbacks Lil’ Bit, Doug, and I would be flailing in the water with a pack of sea lions and pod of killer whales. I started paddling and we got out of there, leaving the whales at a more comfortable distance.
As we came into Lynn Canal it really started to feel like our trip was on its last leg and it was beautiful. Maybe I’m just being sentimental, but the last three days of our trip were some of the most dramatic scenery we’ve seen. The mountains grow straight up from the ocean cresting in jagged snow capped peaks their valleys laden with yawning glacier tongues that lap at the sea. Islands dot the coasts and leave plenty to explore while sunsets turn the mountain tops pink. We came into Haines on Saturday still not fully prepared to be done with this trip, it feels surreal to be done like there’s no way we just spent the last three and a half months paddling the inside passage. I guess it’s time to start real life again…We were met on the docks by my parents and Lori Stepansky the director of tourism for Haines. It was a good welcoming committee and the Captains Choice Hotel generously gave us two nights of comfortable sleep and hot showers for a token fee.
Thank you all for your support this trip has been a real success! So far we have raised over $1,500 for Interplast and even more awareness of the important work that they do. I will post the total amount raised in a couple weeks when all the donations are in. I will then do the drawing for the Steri-Pen and Mountain House prizes. Thanks so much all the support has been amazing and has meant so much to me and Doug.