Return to North Pass

Big tide changes push huge amounts of sea water up and down the North Pass. The current can run 7 knots through this bottleneck formed by two converging islands. When the wind blows in the opposite direction of tidal flow lines of waves stand up and march with the wind.

It happens the instant the tide begins to ebb or flow. Today the tide flows against a stiff wind to form a mile or so of 4 foot standing waves that build to a climax at a narrow point called the washing board.

The same convergence of conditions suck into the pass great balls of herring and other bait fish. This draws humpback whales and salmon and those who like to watch the former and catch the latter. Today there are plenty of both.

The whales pound the water near Lincoln Island with flukes and flippers, apparently stunning their prey or herding it into easily captured schools. Sometimes a whale explodes out of the water.

Below us  big schools of silvers runs around the edges of bait balls. Enough take the herring we troll behind the boat to distract us from the constant pounding of waves on the boat’s hull. When driving into the waves, the boat slams into each wave, sending into our feet the same kind of vibration you’d feel standing on a sheet of plywood while someone pounds it with a sledge hammer.

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