5/29: Saginaw Bay – Fun with Echinoderms

If you’d like to see what Saginaw Bay looks like at 3:30am, check out these photos:


We cruised during the night from Bay of Pillars to Saginaw Bay where we were anchored in Halleck Harbor.  We were scheduled to be here for the morning, so only one off boat activity was planned.  We chose, of course, the Skiff Tour.  This one will rank at the top of the list for most entertaining skiff tour.

After checking out today’s menu, getting some coffee, and visiting with the other early risers, it was time for a few more photos.


The middle photo above shows a ship in the distance – it was the Disney Wonder, which we had sailed on in January.


Captain Danny was our driver and guide. This was great – he wasn’t afraid to take the skiff to places where others might not venture. We navigated through the rocks, so Captain Danny could hop on shore. He brought a large Sun Star back to the skiff:


The jelly-like bubbles are the stomach – it can slide into cracks and crevices to get the good stuff out of things like mussels and oreos. The photo showing the stuff on the floor of the skiff came from the sun star.

Watch it wriggle:


He put the Sun Star back where he found it, and came back with a Starfish:


We cruised slowly through the rocks, getting right up next to the shore, where we could see lots of slimy creatures in the rocks: We also saw more eagles, and a supposedly old petroglyph that had recently been cleaned/restored.


I prefer otters, but admittedly, this was the type of thing we’d never seen before unless visiting an aquarium.  We did see both an adult and a juvenile bald eagle as we toured the area before going back to the ship.  We also saw a petroglyph on the cliff wall – we were told it had recently been “touched up” but I’m still not sure if this an authentic historical painting.

There were treats waiting for us once back on the ship:

Not beer – well, you could have one if you wanted, but it was still on the early side. The Alaskan Brewing Co. Beers were popular.


Poppyseed Muffins were available – there was almost always a mid-morning snack. Sure glad it wasn’t jelly donuts, after what we’d just seen.


Another  drink of the day. Hmmmnn, perhaps it’s not too early for a Wild Peaches Special – it was cold and damp outside.


We were on our way soon after 1pm, and this was the first bad weather we encountered.  It was foggy, and raining lightly.  It wasn’t too bad, and added to the atmosphere reminding us we were in Alaska in May.  We looked for whales, but couldn’t find any – it was impossible to see their telltale blows in the mist.



There was an open bridge policy – passengers were welcomed as long as there were no dangers or crew meetings happening (We are trusting our fate to the man who was wearing a Starfish just hours ago ?  🙂 )


This nice gentleman – we’ll call him “John” – was so optimistic we would see Orcas. He just knew every day would be the day …


Passing by the Five Finger Lighthouse (this was our second pass by the Lighthouse) – this is featured in one of Sue Henry’s Alaskan Mysteries.


The ship’s safety officer called an emergency muster drill in the afternoon.


At 4:30pm we were passing the lovely Steller Sea Lions – they looked rather sinister in the fog:


Dinner was served at 6:30pm after Happy Hour and Appetizers.  Sometimes it seemed like we were eating one meal after another.  Tonight we chose the pork tenderloin and corned beef and cabbage, both served with polenta and carrots.  Both entrees were good.  As mentioned before, there was also a vegetarian option.  You could request the dishes without sauce or gravy if that was your preference.


It had been an eventful day, with a fun skiff tour, an afternoon of fruitless but enjoyable whale watching, and a good dinner. Celebrity Chief Mate Michael presented a 1929 film by Irving Johnson about the Peking, a tall ship that sailed around Cape Horn in horrific weather.  It was educational and hysterical.

Just a little disappointed we didn’t see the hoped-for whales, but there is always tomorrow.

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