After boarding the ship and taking off, we exited out Alaskan adventure by floating down the Lynn Canal, back towards Seattle. As we traveled, the ship’s naturalist once again narrated the areas we were passing through. Though the name dictates that the area is a canal, it is actually the longest and deepest fjord in North America. It is also called the Windy Canal because the geography of the land causes the area to be windy almost constantly.
Other features of the fjord are numerous waterfalls, glorious rocky mountains, and abundant glaciers. It was overcast and misty, but when the sun peeked out, it was a beautiful sight. I stood on the deck for a couple hours, despite the cold, and thoroughly enjoyed the last sights of Alaska.
Our final glimpse of Alaska, before going inside, was of the Eldred Rock Lighthouse. Though I may not have mentioned before, I am intrigued by lighthouses. This one, I found particularly intriguing. During the high time of the Alaskan Gold Rush, a passenger ship called the Clara Nevada was sailing south through the canal. In the cargo area, the ship stored dynamite and 800 pounds of gold. The ship was also playing host to over 100 passengers, many of which were returning from a their search for gold. As they were sailing, on the night of February 5th, 1898, the ship was forced onto Eldred Rock and was engulfed by flame. It was eventually tossed back into the ocean by the storm.
This is what I find interesting, even though the watery grave has become a popular diving spot for treasure hunters, no one has ever found the gold it carried. Though most of the people on board must have died, one of the ship’s small emergency boats was found on the mainland of Alaska and a number of crew members, including the captain, discovered to be working elsewhere a few years later. Could it be that someone took off with the gold? Was the the run aground of the Clara Nevada really an accident?
With all that in mind, the island was given a lighthouse to prevent any other horrific events taking place on the rock. Opened in 1906, the lighthouse has done its job in protecting those passing by. Nearly ten years after the ship’s sinking, the lighthouse also witnessed the remains of the Clara Nevada regurgitated out of the ocean during another storm. Unfortunately, the storm also took the ship back to sea. Now, it is said that the lighthouse is haunted with the souls of those who had their gold and lives taken from them. A slightly eery way to end our evening, yes?