This past week I had the pleasure of guiding three adventurous young men from the UK. I took them on a three day kayaking camping trip. We saw three different tidewater glaciers, three bear cubs, and had three days of sunshine! .. Just kidding, on the last day we got soaked through, but without the rain this wouldn't feel like Alaska.
Day one started off exciting enough with a humpback whale fully jumping out of the water in front of our water taxi about 100 feet off the bow! After we were dropped off in Aialik Bay we packed up our kayaks to capacity and paddled over to watch the drama of Aialik Glacier calving 500 foot tall chunks of ice into the silty, blue water.
In the late afternoon we kayaked south to Pederson Lagoon to camp for the night. A humpback whale greeted us at the mouth of the river into the lagoon catching us all by surprise. Before making camp we tried to get closer to Pederson Glacier and the awesome icebergs inside its' upper lagoon. Immediately we were stopped by hauled out seals. Probably fifty of them blocked the entrance into the upper lagoon. It is necessary for seals' livelihood to actually warm up by laying on flat icebergs, so we had to land our kayaks immediately to not scare them off the ice into the even colder water. From land we watched the seals laying like slugs on the ice for awhile before we decided ourselves it was time to relax and set up our own camp.
Pederson Lagoon and Glacier, Pederson Campsite
We awoke the next day to the sunrise and still no rain. A few cups of coffee, some lumps of oatmeal, another surprise humpback whale, and six miles of kayaking later we were at our next campsite in Holgate arm. At this site we enjoyed a long beach to comb, thousands of ripe blueberries, magnificent hanging and tidewater glaciers, and a few curious, but cautious black bears. Even though campers at in the Kenai Fjords usually have very good leave no trace etiquette, it's always a possibility to encounter bears in your campsite. The bears at Holgate camp were very smart. They waited patiently until we were leaving with our packed kayaks, then a sow and her three cubs came out to inspect the bear box for forgotten treats.
A slideshow of trip highlights
On day three the rain was fierce, but everyone agreed it added a new allure to our exploration that day of Quicksand and McMullen coves. We awaited our water taxi pick up comfortably under a large pyramid shelter that I was glad to finally use. During our hour of waiting for the water taxi pick up the guys elected to eat ALL of their emergency meals they had packed. A full dinner, followed by lunch, followed by oatmeal for dessert, and of course some coffee. The water taxi ride home was a rocky ride back to reality with, of course, more humpback whales :)
I am completely obsessed with the blues of this hanging glacier in Holgate Arm.