We have spent the last couple of days in Ell Cove and then Takatz Bay on the East side of Baranof Island. Takatz is an absolutely gorgeous anchorage, second only to Ford’s Terror in our Alaska experience. It has plenty of room for many boats, good protection, good holding for the anchor and lots of wildlife, primarily Eagles, returning Salmon (Pinks, I think) and Sea Lions.
And we are by ourselves in Takazt Bay. We came in yesterday as a fishing boat and another trawler were coming out and there were no other boats here. We are spending a second night here and so far no other boat has entered. Update: A couple of other boats found their way in on the afternoon of the second day here.
There are a couple of waterfalls visible in the anchorage, and Gwen and Miranda found the “hidden falls” well up the stream at the head of the inlet on a Kayak expedition near high tide. The tide swing here exposes a huge drying flat at the head of the bay at low tide, with a small creek draining from the hidden falls. You can’t get all the way up there at low tide, even in a Kayak. At high tide we were able to take the dinghy all the way up to the falls. There are incredible numbers of Salmon in here – must be thousands – but none are interested in taking bait. We did no have any luck, nor did the group of 5 fly fishers that came in and were fishing just below the falls.
What is NOT here is the Hidden Falls fish hatchery described in the otherwise excellent “Exploring Southeast Alaska” guide by Douglass and Hemingway-Douglass. We have the new third edition of the guide, but clearly the entry on Takatz Bay has not been updated. There apparently IS a fish hatchery in Kasnyku Bay between Cosmos Cove and Ell Cove (where we anchored the day before yesterday). Our friends Sarah and Ted told us about visiting that hatchery in 2014, so I am wondering if it may have relocated from Takatz Bay.
There are many eagles hanging out in the cove, waiting to catch one of the salmon returning to spawn who are jumping like crazy, but not interested in taking a hook. The salmon have beautiful reddish bellies and distinctive markings and its fun to watch them swim through the water while we are kayaking.
We spent the night before this at Ell Cove, another beautiful location. On our way there, we had another bucket list nature viewing occasion – about a dozen whales were bubble feeding at the junction of Peril Strait and Chatham Channel. It was amazing site – they coordinate diving deep down, apparently as deep as 1,000 feet, then bomb straight up in a tight formation to force the fish together and surface with a powerful leaps. Then of course they rest and breath on the top for a while before doing it all over again. We watched for some time before moving on.