Aboard the freighter and underway
The diesel engines started a little after 3 and we got underway. The noise isn’t objectionable, rather like a low pitched rumble. There was some rocking in certain parts but I slept quite well despite being sure I must be missing something really exciting.
Glen pulled open the curtains and noted that it was snowing—and indeed, there is snow on the trees and hills. We are the first ones up—not a surprise with the time zone difference. Breakfast was as wonderful as we had been led to expect. The captain has posted the time table for freight and I am eager to mark all of the data down on our map and take more photos.
Our first drop off was in a little camp. The deckhands and mates busily unloaded boxes of young trees and the freighter set off. Someone on shore frantically waved at us and we discovered we had to return to pick up a small vehicle. That put us behind on the tides. It is odd to worry about the tides as ours are but a foot or so.
A logging camp needs fuel and we pick up a truck and some spools of wire. We drop off two log boom chains. They are not ready for us and we must wait for them to clear the log booms and organize the area. It is my first opportunity to watch such a large scale operation; small boom boats which resemble border collies herd the logs into place. A large tractor with salad fork prongs sorts the logs and loads them into a scaffold. Someone crawls underneath these huge logs with a wire, loops them into a bundle, and then the large tractor returns and shoves them into the water. The small boom boats round them up and place them within the booms.
The small boom boats are absolutely fascinating to watch; there are two of them and although they don’t seem to talk to each other, they each know what the other is doing. One guy ties his boat up to the log raft while he walks about with a grappling hook; the other one lets his boat float amongst the logs, retrieving it with the hook and walking between the log raft carrying the boom chain and the logs and the boat as easily as anyone else would walk around on house/patio/yard.
We are on our way again and we pass through some narrow areas with dangerous whirlpools. Some of the islands are for sale and we all ponder the idea of ‘buying’ an island. It is still raining and rather dreary outside but when the captain moors the freighter next to a floating dock and suggests we all take a walk to Eagle Lake while he waits for the tide, we all rush to don jackets and mittens and head out.
This is true rainforest with moss and ferns everywhere. I find a lovely patch of swamp lanterns—creamy yellow flowers in a boggy patch and take lots of photos. Bears are especially fond of the roots and I offer to take some back to the cook. The water in the bay is very clear and I can see huge starfish, solar rays and anemones which resemble huge cauliflower heads. A fine mist is falling and we arrive back at the boat with wet shoes and jackets, glad to be back inside.
The tide is coming in and we enjoy a dinner of roast beef while speculating upon the inhabitants of Stuart Island.
We are very behind on our schedule and all of us long for the sun to come out.
more photos of this day are on smugmug at: