We pulled into Petersburg under sunny skies this morning. Sun! What an unusual occurrence in Southeast Alaska. Counting our lucky stars, we disembarked to enjoy a full day exploring this quant Norwegian fishing town and the surrounding region. Hikers crossed to nearby Kupreanof Island to stroll a narrow boardwalk into a muskeg. Muskegs are fascinating ecosystems with unusual plants. Many of the plants share adaptations similar to those found in desert environments, in spite of the fact they are growing in water. Muskegs are very wet, boggy areas with highly acidic water and low nutrient levels. Plants fight to make a living. Our favorite botanical find was the sundew, a carnivorous species that devours unsuspecting gnats and slowly digests them with caustic "stomach" fluids. One group came across a female grouse with a handful of extremely young chicks. Mom was clucking at her young while they scampered about peeping. It was quite cute.
Throughout the day, guests had time to wander around town, visiting galleries and coffee shops. Bicycles were available to ride out of town on a scenic four mile ride. Most of us went on a walk along the dock to learn about the large fishing fleet. We learned about salmon and halibut fisheries, methods of fishing, and got to talk to some of the fishermen as they worked on their boats. Some folks took a scenic flightseeing tour by float plane to see the nearby LeConte Glacier and Stikine Icefield.
Our evening ended with another excellent meal followed by a presentation on salmon.