This part of the journey has felt like a dream. We have just crossed Portland Canal- a rather dangerous portion of the Inside Passage with its mixture of ocean swells, tidal currents and wind and it threw it all at us. Now we need to navigate the rest of Dixon Entrance, 15 miles fully exposed to the swells and weather of the Pacific Ocean, then up Revillagigedo Channel to Ketchikan. Dixon Entrance is one of the most dangerous portions of the trip. One that boaters we meet warn us of and inquire if we are worried. I had been quietly dreading this for the past month. But we woke to glass-like seas and bright sun. And the weather held.
For days we are treated to white sand beaches, clear calm waters and sun. We paddle through crystal blue waters surrounding little clusters of islands. We pick each night a new tiny island to sleep on. A small world to briefly call our own then leave for the tide to erase our footprints. Most are small enough we walk the entirety of them within minutes. It feels almost tropical.
On one, we follow otter trails through the brush leading from the rocky shores to small catchments of water reflecting the old growth trees above. We pass abalone and urchin shells dropped by the otters. We feel bad to briefly interrupt their haven, but we leave it intact and the same as we found it except for our footsteps.
Our lunch stops are mostly on the mainland. We pull up in the sun to white sand beaches. Wolf tracks trail down the beach. We find bear paths in the woods and follow them out to the beach and see tracks leading down to a freshwater stream where the bear must have stopped that morning to drink.
We meet a fisherman and after chatting briefly with him he hands us a whole salmon. When we stop to clean it, an eagle swoops in and watches. As we leave she grabs the remnants in her talons and flies away. We put the meat in the bottom of my boat where the cold water keeps it chilled.
We stop that night on another white sand beach and we feast on salmon, couscous and fresh vegetables. It feels like a celebration. We watch the sunset with full bellies.
The two days before our arrival to Ketchikan we get off the water early because we can see storms brewing. It rarely thunderstorms here, people have told us these were the first in five years. So after our sunny, calm days we enjoy the rare treat of watching lightning strike the peaks and listening to the thunder roll across the water.
This feels like a gift we’ve been given, a reprieve from the rain, wind and hazards of the previous days.