The Rest of the First Week to Alaska
Day 4 – False Bay, Lasqueti Island to Gorge Harbour, Cortes Island
Quote of the day: “We’re all here, because we’re not all there” – Gorge Harbour roadsign
0635 Anchor UP. Sails up. Engine off.
North westerly winds kept us on best course to windward. With panoramic views of blue layered mountains and glorious warm sunshine, we were welcomed on our morning leg by breaching minke whales! A symphony of “ooh’s” “awh’s” and “aahs”, as they breached alongside our beam for 15minutes or so. Leftovers & fresh pineapple for lunch up on deck, we were ahead of our ETA.
Grand rock faces greeted us at the entry of Gorge Harbour. Wobbly wooden bridges, glass faced cabins, smokey wood burners, coastline trails, all encompassed the coastline of Cortes Island. A narrow entry with Native paintings mounted onto the rock faces, Sea Dragon entered the bustling harbour in search of her home for the night. 1600 – Anchor down, fender lowered.
Our crew proceeded to land to enjoy the heat and dense woodland around. Traipsing along the trails, we soon found the heat a little much and decided to check out the local produce and park. Kombucha and ice cream in hand, chilling under the canopy of west red fur trees, we shared funny travelling encounters and showed each other pictures of home.
Mood lit saloon, the crew read or vigorously scribed into their journals, one crew member Everett shared the following entry with me…
07.25 – 2026
People come aboard Sea Dragon with myriad purposes, or no purpose, except to find one or remember one.
“Sometimes the people with the greatest potential often take the longest to find their path because their sensitivity is a double edged sword – it lies at the heart of their brilliance, but it also makes them more susceptible to life’s pains. Good thing we are not penalised for handing our purpose late. The soul doesn’t know a thing about deadlines.” – Jeff Brown
With the sun dipping, the harbour was filled with fiddle music played by a local band. A wholesome successful day all round.
Day 5 – Gorge Harbour to Thurston Bay
Quote of the day: “Capers are like Gizmos” – Luis
White snow and scree covered steep mountains, the channel began to narrow as we continued on to Whirlpool Point.
We were ahead of time, so …the current. A minefield of whirlpools, rapids and disturbed water surrounded us. With Alessandra at the helm, Sea Dragon took us for a whindy ride, cutting through the waters beautifully.These waters sure made for a busy feeding ground. With the strength of the current doing strange and wonderful things, fish were being forced down into the whirlpools where their were bursting, and then floating to the surface. Bald eagles swooping down, huge blubbery seals flailing around, porpoises whizzing, and a humpback whale sat strong up ahead between the Gillard Islands and Big Bay.
As we waited for the humpback to move on, we lingered around until they had enough room to pass. All of a sudden, they dove down and then right off of our beam and breached fully out of the water, slamming it’s big belly on the surface. SPLASH! An incredible moment witnessed by all, one never to be forgotten.
Still astounded by what we had seen, we munched on some sweet potato, avocado, dried cranberry, spinach and feta salad! What a mouthful.
Deepening our passage into the fjords, we began to realise we were distancing ourselves further from even the more remote communities. With visibly fewer to no summer houses or cruising vessels in sight, we began to realise we were distancing ourselves even further from the more remote communities. Into a vastness of nothing but wilderness.
Thurston Bay. A bay of pure reflection. So still.
A speciality dinner tonight, whizzed up by Luis – caponata – an aubergine chilean dish. Buzz word: Explosive! Happy tummy’s all round.
A dinghy ride around the headlands and to the corners of our anchorage, we sat and gaped at the strikes of purple that cascaded all around us as the sun began to set. It’s crazy to think how different every sunset is.
Day 6 – Thurston Bay to Forward Harbour
Quote of the day: “That main halyard is easier to hoist than that starboard head” – Stephanie
Pancake brekky party!! A huge stack of them, with warm cinnamon apples, fresh mango and every spread you could imagine, today was already off to a sweet start.
Kissing the water surface stood a still misty layer, casting pleasantries of tranquility over the bay. We jumped in the tenders, and went exploring. Giant camo-slugs, thick lichen, wee crabs, hermit crabs, mahoosive crabs, squirting clams, starfish, blue jellyfish, friendly seals, black and white striped snakes, dancing fish and croaking herons, the bay was bursting with life!
Whilst some stretched in the sun, admiring the vast array of marine life, Luis, Everett and Holly trekked into the hidden depths of the forrest. Quickly, we found it too dense to move through the woodland, so we embraced the wet feet and continued up the river. So many textures of undergrowth. Anything that died, fed straight back into the circle of life, cushioning the undergrowth even more. With our lungs bursting with oxygen, we admired how quick the landscape can change from being on the water to a couple of hundred meters into land.
With the seals watching, we progressed onwards towards Forward Harbour. Awaiting the ebb, we took anchorage at Crawford Anchorage, Erasmus Island, just off of Chancellor Island. Homemade Greek inspired falafel wraps for lunch, a friendly humpback swam around us. Dishes away and refuelled, Jake took the crew through some tidal and current calculations. After explaining the works, he gave them the task of figuring out when is best for us to leave to make the last of the rapids. After much deliberation, the crew came to a conclusion to leave hastily.
Ale made pecan brownies!!
Porpoises fed off of the last rapid as we made our way round to Sonora Island.
Anchor down, it’s time to use up some veggies. Alice, Holly and Jeanne cooked up a spicy Jalfrezi. Sat on deck, we watched some interesting anchoring techniques from our neighbours and a party unfold on a motor boat shouting “JELLO SHOTS!”
A couple of the crew explored the coastline on our SUP boards into dusk. An early night for some much needed Z’s.