Its that time of year again, where we leave for the dive grounds, wherever they may be. This year, sea cucumber season opens first, on October 2. It varies based on the calendar; sea cucumbers open on the first Monday of October and geoduck clams opens on the first Thursday of October, so this year the first dive fishery falls on a Monday. We loaded up the Miss Teal and the Luna Sea with groceries, clothes, hunting gear, dive gear, and lots of home canned and frozen food.
My mom joined us on this trip, since she was up visiting for a week. The trip through Tonowek Narrows, past Naukati, into El Capitan Passage, and Dry Passage was mellow and calm. There were hundreds of sea otters along the way, and a handful of whales. The winter sea birds are showing up, such as harlequin ducks and murres, and the summer residents such as rhinocerous auklets have departed.
We spent a night anchored in a calm location in Shakan Bay, close to where the old cannery and sawmill were located. The buildings have long since fallen apart with the forest growing around them, but there are still parts and pieces of stoves, pipes, and other signs of habitation resting among the moss. We stopped at another location where we found evidence of an old Tlingit village site. There were upright posts which would have perhaps had a totem on the top of them, and old hand hewn planks from the sides of their houses. The planks were about six inches thick and had adz marks all over them. There were many “logs” laying down covered in moss that could very likely have been fallen totems, returning to the earth. The understory vegetation was grown in, but the large openings between the older trees belied where the houses had sat, among the large spruce and hemlock trees.
At yet another location, we discovered large petroglyphs in the rock faces above the high tide line. There was a shield, one that I think was a bear, a face, and others. It is very exciting to find new petroglyphs while exploring remote coves.