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Alaska Wildlife

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…

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….

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…

Alaska Cruise Planning: When to Visit

When is the best time to visit Alaska on a cruise? Spring is an exciting time at Southeast Sea Kayaks. The phone starts to ring and the email in-box fills up: people are planning their Alaska cruises and adventures. Greg and I have a lot of fun talking with folks who are planning their trips. While we are definitely Ketchikan specialists, we have gathered tons of great information from our guests and neighbors in other Alaskan towns over the years. Here is the first of a series of blog posts that might be helpful to anyone planning a cruise to Alaska. Cruise ship at the dock in Ketchikan. When is the best time to visit? The scenery and wildlife change with season. Before you pick up that exceptional cruise deal think about what you really want to see and do…

Kayaking Ketchikan, Alaska

The protected waters of the Inside Passage and the thousands of islands and fjords that make up the Alexander Archipelago are a sea kayaker’s paradise. While famous paddling destinations like Glacier Bay and the Misty Fjords top many kayaker’s bucket lists, getting to them can be expensive and requires at least a few days. Fortunately for those of us who live here and own kayaks, or for folks who are travelling through Ketchikan with their own kayaks, there are many excellent day and overnight paddling trips accessible right from the Ketchikan road system. Here are a few of our favorite kayak  trips in the Ketchikan Area. All of these trips have campsites within a few hours’ paddle of town and great opportunities to see whales and other marine mammals. Resident orcas in Nichols Passage near the Blank Islands. Black Sands…

Kayaking with Orcas

In September 2004, there was a meeting of several of the Northern Resident pods at Orcas Cove. It was an amazing day on the water with more than 30 orcas sighted. Our lead guide, James, watches a male orca from his kayak at Orcas Cove. Photo by Brent Buckley – Thank you! Everyone loves whales, don’t they? Seeing whales in the wild here in Alaska is a dream for many people.  Except the idea of being in a small, human propelled kayak next to a whale makes some people very nervous. With the release of the documentary film Blackfish we’ve seen an increase in the number of people who are concerned about the possibility of being eaten or attacked by an orca while they are kayaking with us at Orcas Cove. Although Greg loves to joke that kayaks are an orcas…

A Summer to Remember…

Best Summer since 2004 or 1994… Almost everyone in Ketchikan agrees that 2013 was an amazing summer: beautiful weather, tons of visitors and record salmon catches, but not everyone can agree on when the last good weather summer actually occurred. 2004 was definitely a fair weather summer but some old timers say we haven’t had a really beautiful summer since 1994. Whichever one you go with, it’s been quite a while! At Southeast Sea Kayaks, we certainly got spoiled with kayaking in all the sunshine this year. Here is a celebration of our sunny summer in images. We had Orcas early this summer: this photo was taken in early May. Our photo contest winner, Bonnie captured this amazing photo of an acrobatic humpback whale putting on a show at Orcas Cove. Bearnardo, made frequent appearances at the salmon stream in Orcas Cove. We spent an amazing afternoon…

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