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Why Kayaking Should be on Your Alaska Bucket List

Sea kayaking is one of the best ways to explore Southeast Alaska’s vast roadless wilderness. If you’re reading this blog post you’re probably dreaming of or planning a trip to Alaska. What drew you to Alaska? There are people who come to fish for salmon, hunt big game, climb the mountains, or see the Northern Lights but if you’re coming to Alaska to experience one of the last great wild places left on the planet then sea kayaking has got to be on our list of things to do. Here’s why a kayak tour is a great way to explore Alaska’s incredible wilderness. A kayaker’s view of Ketchikan . Immerse Yourself in Wild Alaska Kayaking is a way to immerse yourself in a place. In our kayaks we are right at water level with no motors to disturb the tranquility…

Things to Do in Juneau

Clancy and Declan with the Patsy Anne statue on the cruise ship dock in Juneau, Alaska A guest post by 11 year old twins, Declan and Clancy Thomas with photographs by Grandpa, Tony Edwards. Last summer our Grandparents took us on a trip to Juneau, Alaska’s capital city. We spent four days exploring and had a lot of fun going on different tours. There are so many exciting and adventurous things to do in Juneau. Here’s our top five things to do. Clancy and Grandma enjoying the food at the Gold Creek Salmon Bake in Juneau, Alaska. 5. Gold Creek Salmon Bake The Gold Creek Salmon Bake is a traditional Alaskan salmon bake served up with live music, great food and even smores! We loved panning for gold but we didn’t strike it rich. It’s a fun experience for families who…

Things to Do On A Cruise Stop in Ketchikan, Alaska

Figuring out what to do in each port is part of the fun of an Alaska cruise. As longtime year round residents of Ketchikan, we at Southeast Sea Kayaks are happy to help you make the best of your time in port. Here are our suggestions for tours, shore excursions and activities during a cruise stop our lovely town.  Take a Tour With a Local Company Ketchikan is home to many tour companies owned and operated locally by dedicated members of our community. One of the best ways to shop local and support Alaskans is to book your tours directly with the local operators. Kayaking While we may be a little biased, our absolute favorite thing to do in Ketchikan is explore our community and coastline from the seat of a kayak. We offer multiple trip times for kayak…

What to Wear on Your Alaskan Cruise

We’re not super stylish, but we’ve been sharing the fun and beauty of kayaking in Ketchikan with visitors for over 20 years. Here’s our local’s guide to how to dress for outdoor adventures in Southeast Alaska. Southeast Alaska is home to the world’s largest temperate rainforest which means there’s a good chance that it will rain at some point on your Inside Passage Cruise. Here in Ketchikan we average 160 inches (or approximately 13.5 feet) of rain a year. As you might imagine, locals never let the weather get them down – we just dress for it. There are quite a few Alaska vacation packing lists available, but most of them include outfits that are way more stylish than we could put together and many seemed geared more towards the arctic than rainy, temperate Southeast Alaska. So, while you’re on your…

Snow Day in Ketchikan, Alaska

  Snow and ice are the first things many people think of when they hear the word “Alaska,” but snow is a rare treat in Ketchikan because we are located in Southeast Alaska’s temperate rainforest. It’s been a long time since the kids of Ketchikan got a real snow day, but when 4 inches of snow fell on the first day of winter break, we had to get out and capture the moment before the rain washed it all away. Ketchikan’s red bridge and the brightly colored houses of the former red light district.  It’s quiet in downtown Ketchikan after the cruise season but local businesses like Soho Coho, The Hive and Parnassus Books remain open through the winter months.  The Ketchikan Creek runs through the heart of downtown Whale Park on Mission Street. According to locals, Whale Park is so…

Superheroes of the Intertidal Zone

There are many interesting creatures to see by kayak at low tide in Southeast Alaska. Most visitors come to Alaska hoping to see the wildlife big three: eagles, whales and bears. Sure, the big three are majestic, but can any of them eject their own intestines? Not a chance. Some of Alaska’s most interesting creatures are the marine invertebrates of the inter-tidal zones; these seemingly sedentary animals have adaptations and abilities that would make Spiderman envious. Whelks: Drilling Power Most sea snails are gentle herbivores but whelks are carnivorous and they can drill holes with their tongues! Whelks use acidic secretions and a specialized radula (an anatomical structure often compared to a tongue) to drill holes in the shells of unsuspecting mussels, barnacles and clams. Once through the shell, the whelk’s digestive enzymes liquefy their prey for an easy meal….

Kayaking with Kids in Alaska

Kids love adventures! Kayaking is a great way to spend quality family time outdoors. When Can Our Kids Start Kayaking? I’m of the opinion that the only thing better than doing something that you love is doing that thing with kids. When the twins, who are now almost ten, were born there were just two important questions. What will we name them? And when can we take them kayaking? Since then our outdoors loving friends and neighbors have often asked us the same question, when can we get our kids into kayaks? When you can begin kayaking with kids depends on the child; what type of kayaks you have available; and where you will be paddling. It’s going to be a lot easier and safer to get kids out on the water in Florida or Hawaii than it is in…

3 Reasons You Need Travel Insurance for an Alaska Cruise

  3 Reasons You Need Travel Insurance for Your Alaska Cruise Disclosure number one: I live here in Ketchikan, so I have never been on an Alaska cruise. Disclosure number two:   have purchased travel insurance for every trip our family has ever taken and I’ve never (knock on wood) had to use it. While I have not personally had to use my travel insurance, I have worked in the travel industry my entire adult life and I have seen hundreds of cases of cancellations, delays, losses and illnesses that cause people tremendous grief but are completely covered by travel insurance for the lucky few who knew it was a good idea to purchase it. Depending on the policy, travel insurance can cover you for all kinds of travel problems from your wallet being stolen or luggage lost to being evacuated…

5 Reasons to Take an Alaska Cruise

  Why Cruise to Alaska? So Alaska is one of your dream destinations but you are not really the cruising type. Maybe your travel style is more backpacks and hiking boots than black tie and high heels? Don’t worry, you are not alone! The great value and convenience of Alaska cruises attract both veteran cruisers and first timers. Here are some of the reasons to consider taking a cruise: The Celebrity Solstice at the dock in Ketchikan, Alaska 1. Alaska Cruises are a Great Deal Alaska cruises are the least expensive way to see a lot of Alaska in a short amount of time. Right now, a 9 day Norwegian Sawyer Glacier Cruise with 1 night hotel in Seattle runs $999 per person in June. Compare that with the ferry ticket for 1 person at $500 per person round trip…

Meet the 2015 Southeast Sea Kayaks Team

Some of our wonderful 2015 crew. Back row: Nicole, Adam, Josh, Annie, Brendan, Andre & Gabe. Front row: Emily, Clara, Mariana, Jess, Lukas. We are so proud of our exceptional crew of friendly and highly trained guides and office staff. Although they often make it look easy, guiding kayak tours here on the cold Alaskan waters is a tough job: it requires strength, skill and a real love of working with people. Here’s an introduction to our 2015 crew. These amazing guys and girls have been thrown in the ocean in dry-suits for hours to learn how to take care of our guests on the water and when they are done with that they go home and study marine biology, geology and history to make their tours more fun and interesting. Rain or shine, they will work hard to make…

Twelve Years of Orcas Cove Sea Kayaking

Happy Birthday Orcas Cove! This week we celebrate the 12th birthday of the Orcas Cove Sea Kayaking tour. We love all the kayaking tours and local programs here at Southeast Sea Kayaks but, of all the things we do, Orcas Cove is the tour that we are most proud of. It’s a one of a kind tour that showcases everything we love about living and kayaking in Alaska. The Inspiration for the Orcas Cove Kayaking Tour The Orcas Cove tour was Greg’s baby and possibly an excuse for him to buy more boats. Because what’s better than messing about in boats? Preferably lots of boats: big boats, little boats, medium sized boats and occasionally: floatplanes (technically a boat when on the water but please don’t tell the pilots that!). The tour was based on a simple premise: let’s take visitors…

Alaska Cruise Planning: Where to Find the Highlights

The internet has made vacation planning so much easier, hasn’t it? Well yes, in some ways… but sometimes the sheer volume of information available is overwhelming and it’s hard to know where to even begin to narrow down the choices. Between the excursions sold on board cruise ships and local companies like ours, there are literally hundreds of choices in shore excursions for Alaska cruises. Where do you begin? Start here: our list of the Alaska cruise port highlights is based on our own local knowledge and what our guests have shared about their own cruise experiences. Ketchikan is a great port for kayaking. If kayaking and a floatplane trip to the Misty Fjords are on your bucket list, check out the Orcas Cove/Misty Fjords Flight combination . Photo: Dan Kiely Ketchikan Ketchikan is the first or last stop on…

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