We row and sail deeper into the maze to thread the passages between larger islands and Chichagof itself. Some passages squeeze into ocean level “lakes”—more saltwater than fresh—which “race” in and out between tides. Some “passages” burrow deep into blind coves and “inlets.” Some cross undulating “flats.” Some open into vast “ports” that aroused the naval envy of early European explorers. Some are straightaways. Some meander. Some are deep. Some are “dry.” Some wide. Some oar-cramping narrow.
Few of the standard features of the chart are “standard.” Most earn their air-quotes. Expect the unexpected.
The Tlingit People were here from the time of legend. Fur hunters came, and whalers. Miners by the hundreds. Moonshiners to quench their thirst and the Law to staunch the flow.
Nowadays, a few come, then go: hunters and fishers, kayakers and yachts. Fish biologists at a tribal chum stream.
And now, in this episode, us.