We left Petersburg this morning the same way we had arrived, in the rain. Our destination was Ideal Cove, a small, secluded cove across Frederick Sound from the entrance to Le Conte Bay. Originally, our plan was to use Ideal Cove as a stepping off point for taking the boat into Le Conte Bay to check out Le Conte Glacier, the southernmost tidewater glacier in North America. After some additional research on the volatility of this particular glacier, however, and some local knowledge from our friends Pete and Andy, who are in the commercial fishing and crabbing business in Petersburg, we decided to forego that adventure. Pete’s exact words were, “Glass boats don’t go in Le Conte” (meaning fiberglass boats like ours). We chose not to prove the reason behind his statement. Glacier viewing aside, Ideal Cove was still highly recommended as a wonderful anchorage. Andy keeps a float in the cove with his crab pots and spends a lot of time there. He assured us it is one of the most beautiful places in the area. As if we needed further validation of our choice of anchorage, Pete said it’s not unusual to see sunny and 70° in Ideal Cove when it’s chilly and raining in Petersburg (we considered this a promise).
With the current in our favor the trip from Petersburg took a mere 2-1/2 hours. On the way out of the channel we slowed to watch the sea lions on the red channel marker – there were 3 or 4 laying on the marker and considerable jockeying for position from the rest of the gang milling about in the water. Looking across the channel at what we thought were boats on the opposite shore, we realized, upon closer observation through the binoculars, that we were seeing the first bergie bits (large chunks of ice from the breakup of larger icebergs) that had floated north from Le Conte Bay. Halfway down Frederick Sound we spotted our first whales of the trip, two humpbacks. We look forward to seeing many more of these graceful creatures.
Pulling into Ideal Cove we instantly understood how it got its name. Well-protected and surrounded by woods, with a backdrop of mountains outside the entrance, it is, in fact, ideal. We anchored in 7 fathoms near the head of the cove. As we scanned the shore to see what it had to offer, a mama black bear and her two young cubs ambled out of the woods and spent the next half hour enjoying a light lunch of grass. After enjoying our own lunch we launched our kayaks to explore the shoreline as multiple streams emptying into the cove provided a relaxing soundtrack. When we got back to the boat the sun came out and I checked the thermometer… Amazingly, it read 70°. Unfortunately, the sunshine and warmth lasted only briefly. As evening set in, bringing with it a storm front, the temperature dropped, the wind kicked up and the rain began, coming full circle from the morning. We settled in below deck and enjoyed a warm dinner, a rousing game of cribbage and a movie to wrap up an ideal day.