About 90 minutes cruising up the east side of Baranof Island from Port Alexander is a little pocket of a bay called Little Port Walter. It’s very protected, with a n-a-r-r-o-w entrance into an inner bay that’s very pretty. It’s also home to a NOAA Fisheries Research outpost, though we couldn’t figure out much about the kind of research they were doing.I was paddling around the inner harbor and saw a gal walking along a dirt road. She waved and I waved back, and I chuckled when I heard her clapping and singing as she walked – it’s what one does to let the bears know that you’re a human so they will avoid you.
I fell in love with Little Port Walter because of all the marine life – kayaking along the shoreline I saw all kinds of starfish – many-legged sunstars and regular starfish in a variety of shapes and colors……sea cucumbers, shrimp, anemones – bright orange ones, red ones, plumose, and green ones.I found a tiny nudibranch on a kelp leaf, but I only had a big telephoto lens and couldn’t get far enough away to focus on it. I found a bright yellow fish hiding among other kelp leaves, and some large feather duster worms with burgundy “dusters” on the lee side of some exposed rocks. I saw acorn or eagle barnacles nearly the size of my fist. It was a bonanza! The water teemed with zooplankton and tiny jellyfish. Jim is the underwater video expert, but I borrowed one of his GoPro cameras and took it out in the kayak the morning before we left to try and show you a little of the life at the tide’s edge. Bear with me – some of it is a little fuzzy, but I’m learning. You’ll see a big sunstar, a lion’s mane jellyfish, anemones, a little thimble-sized jellyfish, zooplankton, a sea cucumber (red with orange “spikes”), more anemones, and a shrimp that leaps into view.
The area had both bull kelp and newspaper kelp – home to a lot of life, and fairly easy to paddle over.Just around the corner, out in Chatham Strait I saw some scoters and this arctic loon, and of course there were mink and plenty of eagles.We want to return and spend some time diving or at least snorkeling here – what a fantastic spot!