A Mitlenatch day-trip
by Marg Reckenberg, 29 June 2017.
What a warm, sunny, calm day as the twelve of us set out for Mitlenatch Island aboard the Misty Isles with Captain Mike Moore and assistant Amy. We left Lund Harbor at 10 am after a quick stop at Nancy’s Bakery. Then we were on our way, for the 2 hour trip past Major Rock, then through Baker Passage between Hernando Island and Twin Island.
Mike showed us our course on the marine map and told us interesting tidbits about the islands that we past. We saw lots of white jellyfish in the water en route and an eagle skimming along the water with a large fish. The eagle could not get airborne and had to struggle just to land his fish on shore. Mike explained the optical illusion of Mitlenatch looking close but, in fact, it took us another 45 min. before we arrived.
The Island is surrounded by a fairly shallow rocky shoal so we anchored and half our group went ashore by zodiac. (Note from Misty Isles crew – remember to bring water shoes as a dry docking is not always possible). The group on shore looked at wildflowers – including one prickly pear cactus in bloom – the island has a desert-like climate and we visited the naturalist cabin and then the nesting areas of the seagulls and many of us saw for the first time gull chicks scooting under their Moms.
Meanwhile the other half of the group went around the island in the zodiac with Mike.
He was wonderful at pointing out the nests of Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, Black Oystercatchers, Harlequin ducks, Pigeon Buillemots, and Great Blue herons as well as crows, ravens, eagles and gulls. We saw plenty of harbor seals and Stellar sea lions. From their growling noises we understood where they got their name. Then these huge sea lions began to take to the water – and soon afterwards we saw a nearby humpback whale. If this wasn’t bonus enough we saw a humpback further away breaching.
It just doesn’t get better than this. Of course, the two groups switched places halfway through the allotted time. At the end of the leisurely afternoon we headed back to Lund. Of note, on our return trip, was a brown scummy substance, widely spread across the water. Mike thought this was likely an algae bloom that the changing tides brought our way. It gave the boat’s wake a muddy appearance.
We returned, feeling that the day had been truly magical!