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Sea Kayaking

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….

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…

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…

End of Summer 2014

A sunny day in September at Orcas Cove. Southeast Sea Kayaks’ Summer 2014 Technically, summer has been over for a while, but no one told the Ketchikan weather that until yesterday. With over half an inch of rain in the last twenty four hours and southeast winds over twenty miles per hour, I think we might be able call summer 2014 complete and take a moment to reflect. You may have noticed that we don’t blog much in the summer,  that is because we are busy here at Southeast Sea Kayaks doing all the things we love to do: kayaking, kayaking and more kayaking. It is a strange way to make a living, but we love it and we love being part of Ketchikan’s amazing community. Here are some highlights from summer 2014: Our Incredible Local Crew It has always…

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…

Why We Love Double Kayaks

Here is an illustration of why I love double kayaks… Paddling in a double is so much more fun than watching Greg disappear down the channel in his speedy single. Also this… Family paddling in our Seaward Passat G3. And this… Double Kayaks allow us to safely teach kids the basics of paddling. Here the Girl Scouts paddle Current Designs Unitys with Youth Program director, James. Quite a few people seem to suffer from what I call double-kayakaphobia, which I truly believe can only come from not having paddled the right double kayaks, or possibly from traumatic childhood experiences with 2 person canoes (I have a few of those myself.) The much maligned tandem kayak is often referred to as a “divorce boat” but there are a lot of reasons why double kayaks are the right choice for many paddlers…

Fifteen Years of Fjords

Paddling into Punchbowl Cove, Misty Fjords, Alaska 2005. The blog post is tardy this week because I opened a can of worms; a big can of juicy misty worms. Once I started reviewing our fifteen years of kayaking in Misty Fjords I discovered that they couldn’t be contained within paragraphs, at least not without annoying overuse of superlatives. There is simply no way to capture the magic of a cup of coffee on a misty morning in Punchbowl Cove, or the exhilaration of paddling beneath the towering granite cliffs hearing nothing but the dip of your paddle and the cry of the loon. My blog post started to look like something by Marcel Proust. Instead of a thousand words, I give you this photographic celebration with many thanks to our guests and guides for all of the miles paddled, trails…

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…

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