Our Journey on Scolamanzi II
Our Journey on Scolamanzi II

The beautiful Chiswell Islands and Northwest Fjord

11th July

Monday we woke to another lovely day with light clouds and no wind. We set off early to Chiswell Islands at the entrance to Aialik Fjord. Here we were treated to the spectacle of 75 000 tufted puffins that nest along the sheer cliffs of the two Beehive Islands. Apparently 200000 birds use these few small islands to nest. What a sight it was to see them fly in and out of their nests high up on the cliffs.  We spent almost an hour watching them in detail through our binoculars and managed to get quite close to the cliffs in these calm conditions. There must be lots of fish around to support so many birds.

We had a few very close encounters with 4 humpback wales. Two of them turned up right beside us without any warning that they were around. They were so close that we could hear them breathing. One passed underneath the boat to surface with a big blow. Such an amazing creature.

We went on to Chiswell Island to see the Stellar sea lion rookery. There were about a hundred adults hauled out on the rocks. We counted around 60 young pubs sleeping on the rocks while waiting for mom to return.

From Chiswell we went round into Granite Pass to Cataract Cove to see the spectacular waterfalls at the head of the cove. These waterfalls plunge vertically down thousands of feet from a high overhanging glacier straight into the ocean, not touching sides.



From there we went through the very narrow North West Pass in the moraine leading into North West Fjord. Due to thick ice sheets we could not get close North West Glacier. We drifted in the ice and took the drone out to have a good look at our surroundings. It was amazing to see how quickly the ice closed in on us. There was a sliver of an opening to push through but 10 minutes later it was packed with ice. It was a good call from the captain to stay put.

After a long and tiring day we headed to our anchorage for the night in the spectacular Taz Cove. The entrance to the cove is only 12 meters wide (our beam is 5.8 meters) – this made for a very tight fit. Taz cove is a near perfect oval bay that looks like it was hollowed out with a chisel. Massive steep granite cliffs surrounding this small bay makes us feel totally secure and safe – that is in good weather. There was not a lot of swinging room in this deep bay which will become tricky in windy conditions with limitations to the length of anchor chain. The clay holding was good and was at least some consolation.



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