Day six: Following breakfast, we took a short walk across the dock in Wrangell and boarded a jet boat driven by Captain John Taylor from Summit Charters of the Stikine River Jet Boat Association. We were fortunate to have Brenda Schwartz-Yeager, a well-known local artist, for our guide. She also captains river boat charters. She entertained us with stories of her adventures as a 4th generation Wrangell Alaskan. As the jet boat cruised up the Stikine River we came past some float houses. At least they are supposed to be float houses, though all were high and dry, and the only occupied one sat at quite the angle on the sandbar.
She explained how only those few lucky long time residents like her who have a cabin grandfathered in in their family can have anything on the land there, but the river is state territory so they have float houses for moose hunting. She has a float house too, which can be moved from place to place (assuming it is actually floating at the time). One time they started to move it, then anchored up for the night as it is a slow process to tow a house up the river. During the night the river rose and the float house took off on its own. They had to put out an APB on it. Imagine calling around on the radio asking “Have you seen my house go by?” They did finally find it, and as it turned out the very cooperative house seemed impatient to get where it belonged as they found it quite close to where they planned to put it.
We stopped on a wide sandy beach (the sand is actually glacial silt.) with a beached floathouse. This one at least came to rest in a flat spot. Everyone took their private hikes, ignoring the fact that in bear country safety is in numbers.
Bear hidiing in the trees: “I’m supposed to be the one who does THAT in the woods!”
We explored the area a bit and found bear, wolf, moose, and wolverine tracks on the beach. We did not find any bear, wolves, moose, or wolverines. Captain John spotted a mountain goat up on a mountain. It pretty much looked like a white speck. Normally these tours go far enough upriver to see a glacier, but the water was quite low so we headed back. I’d trade low water for all the sunshine we’ve had any day though.
After lunch back at the yacht, we walked over to Chief Shakes house where local native Americans and part native americans, mostly of Tlingit ancestory shared their personal histories , the stories of how they got their native names, and what the designs on the backs of the blankets they wore meant. They did some singing, dancing, and storytelling. Outside they had a little display the children had made of how they gathered native foods. They offered up a bowl of dried black seaweed for tasting. John liked it, but I thought it tasted exactly the way seaweed smells.
That afternoon for the first time, I did not miss out on the cookies. Fresh baked chocolate chip. Mmmm. Rumor has it yesterday’s were coconut.
Dinner choices included sockeye salmon or prime rib. The boat got underway for Yes Bay, and did not stop until roughly 3am. Safari Quest does not normally run overnight, but the Wilderness Discoverer and Wilderness Adventurer that will actually run the InnerSea Discoveries cruises will be equipped to do so.
InnerSea Discoveries and American Safari Cruises are now known as Un-Cruise Adventures.