Humpbacks / by Caroline Van Hemert

Well, the rains seem to have arrived! We're camped on a small island just south of Wrangell with barely enough room for a tent above the high tide mark (we hope, anyway!). After leaving Ketchikan we enjoyed a couple more sunny days with a bit of a headwind, which has been typical of the weather patterns along the coast--wet and warm from the south and sunny and cool from the north. Twenty miles out of town we saw our first bear of the trip--a healthy-looking black bear rooting among logs on the shore. Later that night, the northern lights made an appearance under partially clear skies. The humpbacks have finally returned to northern waters and we've spotted several surfacing, spouting, and breaching every day since entering Clarence Strait. They are mostly traveling solo and appear to be actively feeding in shallow, protected waters. Yesterday we saw a mom and her calf, swimming and diving in tandem. Large flocks of geese pass us both day and night and we're also beginning to see more shorebird migrants. Tomorrow we'll pass Wrangell and cross the Stikine River Delta, headed toward Petersburg. We've enjoyed all your comments and emails--thanks!