Party Like a Viking

Last year Petersburg had to cancel the annual Little Norway Festival for the first time in over 45 years, but this year people got creative and figured out how to do more things outside. Of course it was a bit rainy, but that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits – it went well and we had some fun.

I’ve written about the Little Norway Festival before – it’s four days of celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day (May 17 – Syttende Mai). They only celebrate for one day over there… we like to over-achieve in our town. Traditional costumes – called Bunads – represent different regions of Norway and many people have their own, often hand-made.

The Style Show gives people a chance to learn more about the various bunad styles, and a little history of some of the families in town.

There was plenty of good food to sample, including the ever popular Kaffe Hus at the Sons of Norway hall (take-out only) – treats made with butter and love. My favorite is always the parade, and I shot a little video to show you some of the highlights. New this year was the Precision Grocery Cart Team from Hammer & Wikan, celebrating 100 years as our local grocery and hardware store.

As soon as the Festival wrapped up it was time to cast off the lines again and head out cruising for the summer. Bye Petersburg!

As always, the Steller’s sea lions were fighting for coveted spots on the buoys out in the Sound.

Oh, it was sooooo good to be anchored out, especially after a long first day’s run. We spotted a few orcas in the distance, but it was pretty quiet otherwise. The next morning was still and pretty, and I spotted a bear out on the flat – sublime and perfect.

We headed out the next day towards the east side of Baranof Island, and were amazed at how much snow was still on the mountains! It makes sense since spring is so late this year – almost by a month. In the steeper anchorages there was snow all the way down to the water.

We spent two nights at Warm Springs Bay on Baranof Island, enjoying some soaks in the natural hot tubs there, as well as some time for chores.

It’s such a gorgeous spot, but the noise from that roaring waterfall eventually gets to be a bit much.

We made the short cruise to another favorite spot – Takataz Bay not too far north of Warm Springs, and spotted several bears as we were setting the anchor! They were all too far away to photograph, but there was a sow and three older cubs, as well as another bear over on the tidal flats. I got the kayak in the water quickly, but the tide was too low and I couldn’t get near enough to them. I also saw some mink, deer, widgeons, and this nosy river otter.

We’re working our way up to Glacier Bay, so we weren’t dawdling too long in any one place, but Pavlov Harbor on Chichagof Island is another good spot to stop and usually has plenty of bears around. I paddled to and fro – checking all my usual spots and didn’t find anything except lots of sea stars…

…and a plucky raven looking for something to eat.

And finally… bears! A sow and two cubs wandered out of the forest and spent the whole rest of the afternoon munching sedge grasses and foraging on the beach. Nirvana!

The bears were wonderful to watch, but the weather was changing and we needed to get up around the corner and out of the wind before things got too frisky. We headed to Hoonah to hide for 2 nights, then back into Icy Strait, on our way to Glacier Bay. We only spotted one humpback, but it gave us a good show with some breaches, pectoral slaps and tail slaps!

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