Kayaking in Alaska
Large parts of the Alaskan coast are remote and are difficult to travel (no trails, steep topography). On the other hand, most ocean inlets are long protected bodies of water and most times the waters are calm and comfortable for rowing. The Kayak is a quiet vessel, fast and steady, and it allows you to visit those remote places that are inaccessible by land.
Despite the athletic reputation, you don’t need to be rowing champion to travel by kayak, or in any special physical shape. It’s quite the opposite: traveling by kayak is a great experience of peace and quiet, and of a completely different kind of trip then we are used to.
As close as possible
Some of the most interesting places to go in a kayak are glaciers. As you might have heard, it’s not easy being a glacier in Alaska these days, and the majority of them are receding. In kayaking terms, this is an advantage: the kayak allows you to get to e places that you can’t reach on foot, and sometimes not even by small boat.
The areas near the glaciers are dotted with smaller ice block that add to the scenery (as if the glaciers aren’t enough), and if that’s still not doing it for you, most of those ice block usually carry marine animals such as seals, sea lions and otters.
Guiding your kayak to river estuaries at the right season will give you a glimpse of the huge Salmon schools going up river, to reach their breeding grounds. These areas are also frequented by bears for the same reason.
In other places, like small towns in south-east Alaska or in the Kachemak bay area (near Homer) you can use your kayak as a legitimate mode of transportation to get from one part of the town to another. You have to admit that it beats standing in a traffic jam in July.
Our recommendations for kayaking spots:
Valdez: a small town in south Alaska, on the coast of Prince William Sound (a beautiful inlet named for Prince William the 4th, if you’re interested). Here, some of Alaska’s largest glaciers spill out into the ocean, creating deep quiet inlets that are full of wildlife.
Ketchikan: the southernmost town in Alaska. Located on the southern part of the Inner Passage, surrounded by rainforests and offers many different tours for kayakers, ranging from 2 hours to a couple days. It is highly recommended to go on a few days trip into the neighboring Misty Fjords nature reserve.
And of course, Glacier Bay: one of the most unique and most preserved national parks in Alaska. Here you can take a kayak out on a day trip, a 7 day trip or even longer, depending on your time and energy. In the bay there is an endless supply of glaciers, and during the trip you are more than likely to see a Humpback whale or two, passing their summer here, eating and playing.