Overcast, cold and foggy, we have no regret leaving Glacier Bay despite the short time allowed by our permit. We have now turned around for sure and will be heading South, or towards the South in a round- about way. The Southern end of Glacier Bay is a great feeding ground for baleen whales and dozens of humpbacks are there doing just that. They do not show much of their bodies, but keep swimming at the surface level catching fish. We go past the park boundary and radio HQ to check out then aim at Lemesurier island and Inian Pass. We have checked the tides and current predictions and the slack is for 11:15, we arrive precisely on time but still have currents above 3 knots against us, better than 9 knots but It makes for a slow passage. It is not without rewards as Inian Pass is where a major whale banquet is going on. We pass them from close and afar. We avoid them as well as we can but have a hard time keeping much distance between them and us as there are so many from Inian Pass to Cross Sound and the open Pacific ocean. This is more humpbacks today that I have seen in 10 years leaving on the West Coast.
We also spot some Steller sea lions in a pack, usually females and pups, also a few males by themselves. They have a nice golden fur when they mature and are easy to see as they tend to jump up in the water and make loud noises.
We arrive to quaint Elfin Cove pretty early and get moorage on the small transient dock. Soon we meet a few other boats, then more arrive, and more , and by day end the place is jammed, rafting 3 deep in a messy mix of fishing boats, yachts and sailboats. Everyone is very accommodating and easy going, a permanent chat group starts at the top of the ramp and people come and go staying for a while. I buy a Coho from a commercial fisherman on the dock and we are looking forward to the treat. But the ante goes up as soon as I finish filetting the “silver”. We have to re-arrange the rafting and we are now neighbour with Ted the Chemistry teacher from California who spends the summer on his small but state of the art fishing boat. Our luck is that he has just caught a gigantic Spring Salmon or King and offers us a generous share of his take.
Elfin Cove is a neat little community, complete with Post-Office, General Store albeit tiny, Liquor store, basically a shelf within the General Store but separate for Liquor Law enforcement, a private home selling smoked salmon at uncertain hours, three fish lodges , a gigantic boardwalk on stilts as roadways and a major fuel dock for the boats. However, the phone signal is quasi-dead and there are but 12 people living there year round.