Best holiday ever: Kayaking in Alaska

Posted: April 15, 2014 by kirisyko in Adventure Travel, Kayaking, SykOtic, Water
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Kayak Alaska

Adam Constanza

INCREDIBLE VIEWS: Snowy Kenai Peninsula from the kayak.

My travels took me to Seward on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, which seemed like the perfect location to experience nature and wilderness.

With the kayaks loaded, we settle aboard the ‘Michael A’ boat and head out through Resurrection Bay, paying a brief visit to the Gulf of Alaska before heading into the more sheltered waters of Aialik Bay.

Dall porpoise swam at the bow for much of the two-hour trip, making for a pleasant distraction from the occasionally choppy waters.

Sea lions sunbathed, soaking up the sun on rocks around the bay; puffins flew fast and low to the water past the boat as we progressed onto Holgate Arm, where our motorised journey would end.

We unload the kayaks, our camping gear, equipment and food onto the pebbled beach of Holgate Arm, blue skies above and calm waters making for near perfect kayaking conditions.

We waste no time to get back onto the water, paddling our double kayak toward Holgate Glacier. We soon felt alone and very small in comparison to our surroundings, with vast waters and mountains ranges soaring above. It feels like no one is around for miles, with the exception of our guide of course, who was very, very quiet.

Whilst appreciating the sheer size of Holgate Glacier, we we’re distracted by something breaking the water’s surface, humpback whales. Incredible.

A little daunting too. You can’t help but be astounded by the size of them, surfacing off in the distance, with jets of air and water rising three metres high.

Arriving at Pedersen Easement, we navigate the icy waterways to Pedersen Glacier.

However, before it comes into sight a black bear appears on the bank, maybe 15 metres from us.

Speechless and petrified at the same time I freeze, letting the kayak float, slowly pass the bear, carefully watching in amazement as the bear forages through the grassland, apparently oblivious to us.

We float around, watching, appreciating my first wild black bear, taking photos and being ready to paddle like crazy at any point if required.

We continue onward to Pedersen Glacier, before heading back to the easement, where we would pitch our tent in the woods and spend the night.

Once again our attention was drawn by a sea otter, and another, and another. In no time, there we’re sea otters dotted all over the surface of the water, obviously quite inquisitive yet still keeping their distance. I’ve never seen an animal look more relaxed and satisfied than the sea otter.

The kayaks docked on shore, we pitch the tent and store the food safely within the bear box, which was worryingly beat up, we head to the beach to enjoy the sunset. The black bear, spotted earlier from the kayak, reappears across the water making for a restless night in the tent.

The bear spray really didn’t reassure me. I foraged for a couple of hefty looking rocks, which stayed with me throughout the night, again doing little to bring sleep but nevertheless making me feel a little more ‘prepared’? I awake and whistle my way to the toilet, aka the woods, hoping not to startle a bear whilst blurry eyed, having just woke up.

Breakfast and coffee on the beach, watching more sea otters whilst they watch us, kayaks loaded up with our gear, we head off toward Aialik Glacier.

We spot sea lions and seals on-route, more humpback whales and more sea otters. The sheer number of wildlife in the Kenai Peninsula is incredible, you really do feel surrounded.

We gaze at Aialik Glacier, finding it hard to appreciate how big it really is when it’s surrounded by nothing but mountains and vast waters, everything looks so small in comparison. Paddling across the bay, we arrive at Abra Bay, weaving our way around the coast, greeted with waterfalls and yet more wildlife, this time a very curious seal following just feet behind us.

We pull up on a pebbled beach, bring the kayak ashore and settle down on a rock reflecting on our incredible two days of wilderness and wildlife on the Kenai Peninsula. Our boat arrives and before we know it we are back among civilisation in Resurrection Bay.

I settle down into a comfy chair with a view over the bay and tuck into a homemade muffin. The real stand out was the sheer scale of everything, making you feel almost insignificant amongst the vastness of the wilderness, which is the Kenai Peninsula.

For more of Adam Constanza’s adventures, click here.

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