Susan C. Anthony

Don and Sherrie rafting a reversing tidal waterfall.Prince William Sound 1999

In 1999, we reserved three weeks in June to explore Prince William Sound with our Bayliner and canoe. Once out, we noticed that our 9-year-old dog, Goldie, had great difficulty walking, especially on rough beaches. We rushed him back to town. The vet suspected a serious neurological problem and advised us to leave him home.

Out in the Sound, winter tarried. Deep snow was just past the tide line. Although it rained a lot the first week, we canoed, hiked, and explored with our friends Don and Sherrie, who have a Bayliner much like ours.

We hiked and canoed for miles almost every day. One day we hiked a ways up a stream to where a huge wooden barge was overturned. It had broken free of its moorings across the bay in the 1964 earthquake and been carried over an island and up a hill by a tsunami. It is impossible to imagine the force of that wave.

In one bay we found a "reversing tidal waterfall" (photo). When the tide comes in, the water falls over a shallow bar into the lake. When the tide goes out, it falls the opposite direction. Don and Sherry ran the falls with their raft. We portaged with the canoe.

We hiked across a narrow spit one day and saw a newly-born deer on the beach. The doe must have just given birth and then fled when she heard us coming, because the fawn was wet and barely able to stand. We stayed right where we were and watched. The fawn finally figured out how to walk and stumbled toward the brush further up on shore, where his mother waited.

Our Bayliner had been exceptionally trouble free in the past, but this year we had five separate mechanical failures and had to be towed twice. We were very thankful for our "buddy boaters" who were always willing to give us a tow. After the first major breakdown, we spent a few days tied up at the dock in the Indian village of Chenega, waiting for parts. The people there were wonderful to us, sharing salmon, gifts, and advice.

By the time we were ready to go, the weather had cleared. We took turns lying on the bow so we could watch Dall porpoises weave back and forth in front of our wake, "playing" with the boat. We picked mussels off the kelp and made world-class seafood chowder.

Unfortunately, the motor wasn't willing to cooperate quite yet. The weather was perfect and the seas were calm on July 2. We skimmed over the water toward Naked Island, a place I'd wanted to visit for years. For no apparent reason, the motor quit and would not restart. We had to be towed for hours to a safe anchorage. We barely made it to port the next day on our own power. Time for repairs....

Go on to read Floating the Copper River
Source:, ┬ęSusan C. Anthony