Day 6 of the Cruise
Today is a play day in Hobart Bay, site of a former logging camp about 50 miles south of Tracy Arm, east of Sitka and north of Petersburg. In its heyday (1990) Hobart Bay had a population of about 40, most of whom worked at the camp. By the 2010 census there was only one full-time resident who acted as caretaker of the few remaining facilities.
Hobart Bay is currently owned by one of Alaska's 13 native corporations, Goldbelt Incorporated. Alaskan Dream Cruises has an exclusive arrangement for the use of Hobart Bay for its passengers.
The day dawned clear and cool as we gathered in the forward lounge for a briefing about the day's activities. Four adventures were on the agenda: exploring the bay by kayak and Zego, and exploring the shore on foot and by RTV (rough terrain vehicle).
All four activities occurred simultaneously with a quarter of the passengers engaging in each, then switching to another activity at intervals throughout the day. As with other aspects of the cruise, there was a lot of flexibility and passengers could participate or not in any of the offerings or repeat an activity if the wished.
Getting into, and out of, the kayaks was easy using the Alaskan Dream's kayak launching ramp. Getting in was accomplished out of the water (no danger of tipping over), then kayak and passenger were rolled down the ramp into the water. The process was reversed for exiting the kayak.
While watching the first group head off on their Zegos, we saw an interesting phenomenon; silver salmon leaping in the lake. No one is sure why they do this, with theories running the gamut of, "preparing for swimming upstream to spawn", to "because it's fun!" Whatever the reason, it was both interesting and fun to observe.
We donned our life jackets and gingerly climbed aboard our Zego. We backed away from the mother ship and took off like some Zego synchronized drill team. A crew member led the way into the bay and we were off. What was envisioned as a leisurely trail ride turned into a watery free-for-all as Zegos struck out on their own (many were piloted by Texans, so...). We cruised across open water and into secluded coves. The scenery was fabulous and, in many places, reminded us of coastal Maine.
The second waterborne adventure involved a small, outboard-motor powered, pontoon type craft called a Zego, built by a company in New Zealand. They can accommodate two passengers on a motorcycle-style seat. While ours were powered by relatively tame 15 horsepower motors, the ones operated by the crew had 75 horsepower motors which could practically take the craft airborne.
There was no shortage of wildlife to view although catching them on camera from a moving Zego wasn't successful. At one point we thought we saw a brown bear but, after enlarging the photo, we realized it was just a boulder. Alas.
After a couple of hours cruising the Bay we headed back to the Alaskan Dream to share our adventures over a bite of lunch.
After lunch we climbed the ramp from the dock to our RTVs. These are two-passenger, four wheel drive vehicles designed for serious off-road use. We took a long drive into the hills above Hobart Bay, enjoying some great scenery and wildlife. We finally got to see our bear!
Here's our black bear fishing for his/her afternoon snack.
Adventures over, with all passengers back aboard the Alaskan Dream, we settled in for another relaxing evening while on our way to our next destination, Petersburg. Along the way we were treated to another humpback whale show.