Alaska Cruise Report: Ideal Cove and Petersburg

From the National Geographic Sea Lion in Alaska, July 5, 2010

Rain is an essential element in a Southeast Alaskan forest. From looming Sitka spruce, to delicate twin- flowers, everything has adapted to make use of this abundant resource. Fern-leaf goldthread relies on individual raindrops for seed dispersal. Decomposing wood becomes saturated, transitioning into a perfect host for colonizing lichens and mosses.

The forest at Ideal Cove is beautiful and diverse. The boardwalk snakes through an emerald landscape of blueberry bushes, huckleberry bushes, ferns, and moss-covered logs. It is a perfect way to first experience coastal temperate rainforest. Our hikers made their way along the path, encountering birdsong in an otherwise quiet landscape. A few others enjoyed plying the waters of southern Frederick Sound in a Zodiac. The waters brought chattering kingfishers, diving marbled murrelets, and red-footed pigeon guillemots.

Another essential piece of Southeast Alaska is its wonderful communities. We arrived in Petersburg near the end of lunch. We first glimpsed the town through its busy harbor. Petersburg’s docks are packed with fishing boats. This fleet is truly the heartbeat of the community. We parted ways to explore on foot, by bicycle, and even crossed Wrangell Narrows by Zodiac to a beautiful muskeg. The friendliness of the community did not escape notice, and many of us experienced this generosity firsthand.

The day rounded out with a visit from Dr. Fred Sharpe, Co-Founder and Principal Investigator of the Alaska Whale Foundation. Dr. Sharpe has long been a friend of Lindblad Expeditions and he graciously shared his knowledge of humpback whales in Alaskan waters.

We departed the town in the evening, just as our Dungeness Crab Dinner was getting underway. Our Hotel Manager, Anna Marie Becker-Hoover, gave useful instruction on the various ways one could approach the daunting task of separating crabmeat from its shell. Some were more successful than others…. Regardless of prowess, or lack thereof as the case may be, everyone left full and happy. We toasted the end of another day of exploration in Southeast Alaska.

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