One of the many trips we offer is kayaking everyday while staying in comfort at Prince William Sound Lodge. This is the trip that two wonderful Aussies signed up for, and I was lucky enough to join them as their guide. Seven days seems long , but time passes quick when you’re having fun! Here’s how we spent each day:
View from our third day on Sunny Cove
Day 1-Glacier Island: Picked up Sharon and Philip from the airport. They were a bit groggy from an early morning but we remedied that by loading them onto our water taxi and heading out to Glacier Island. After our paddle and safety talk, we paddled alongside the rocky shore. The tide was low making it a prime viewing time for colorful star fish, sun stars, anemone, and other wonders. A group of sea lions challenged the two for a ‘race’ and we quickly learned that sea lions are hard to keep up with. Lunch was served on Whale Rider Beach and then we headed off again. This time we spotted a humpback ahead of us, so we rafted close together for good viewing. It led us to the sea lion haul out where hundreds of steller sea lions battle for the best spot to hang on the rocks. If you think you’re singing is bad, wait till you hear these guys! We got dropped off at PWS lodge where we met our lovely host Chris that night. He has a flare for cooking delicious, healthy meals and had clearly put a lot of love into everything we ate there. It was an early night in a clean place with comfortable beds.
View from PWS Lodge deck at low tide
Wild Iris’s were EVERYWHERE
Day 2-Tatitlek Village: Woke up to fresh fruit, oats, a beautiful view, and a morning run with Philip on back roads! With ample sunlight in our favor, we took our time this morning and enjoyed good tea and each others company. We left the lodge around 11:00am and headed 2 miles South to the native village of Tatitlek. Unfortunately a permit is required to get out of the boats here, but it was lovely to paddle past this remote town that had just renovated its Russian Orthodox Church. We rounded the corner for a view of Copper Mountains epic peak, then crossed over behind a couple island for lunch. Lucky to have dry skies and wood, we decided to have a fire with lunch (this trend lasted all week!) We then hiked up a meadow of wildflowers and found a calm pond filled with lily pads. After re-creating a few of the spin scenes from Sound of Music we hiked down and paddled on-into a little creek and then past a raft of sleeping otters to our home base and a Salmon dinner.
Calm lily pad pond at the top of a small hike
Lunch around a cozy fire on the beach
Day 3-Sunny Cove: We got picked up by Lee (our water taxi captain) who took us to the calm waters of Sunny Cove. The only sign of human life here was an abandoned float home. We paddled around the cove in the AM, admiring distant mountain peaks and long waterfalls. Chris’s lunches of delicious sandwiches and salads filled our belly around the fire and then we paddled into the back marshes. As the tide was now coming in and getting into the pockets of air from low tide we were amazed at how many bubbles surrounded us! It sounded like snap crackle pop, and we floated here for a long time while counting 15 eagles. Once out of the bubbles we had a brown bear sighting! It was a ways away so we felt safe, and were grateful for our binoculars as we stared long and hard at the magnificent creature. Happy Solstice!
Kayaking the placid waters of Sunny Cove
Day 4-West Bay: Paddled West of PWS Lodge and found ourselves in a large bay with views that made us feel so tiny compared to the rest of the world! Philip did some fly fishing while Sharon and I made some beach art. We climbed a hill to get a good look of our cabin and had fun watching the artic turns chase the seagulls around. The paddle back was on water that was a spectacular shade of silver. We saw a few loons, cormorants, and lots of otters.
Sea Otters on our paddle back!
Sunset on the beach from the lodge
Day 5-Galena Bay: Galena bay was one of my favorites with its clear waters, a skinny paddle through, and secret lagoon. Unfortunately the three of us like to sing loudly and poorly, which we believe may have scared off a lone wolf that we saw in the distance. A rare sighting in this area. This back lagoon had a magical feeling and our slow strokes were perfect for how long we spent just staring every which way. Came back to Chris’s for an appetizer of mussels that we had harvested on the beach the previous day, another amazing meal (halibut, roasted veggies, fresh garden salad) was served followed by some well deserved R and R.
One of the hundreds of starfish we paddled alongside this day. We even found a paddle through in this area!
Goofing off with insect masks on Galena bays clear waters.
Day 6-Landlocked Bay: Chris, the owner of PWS Lodge, was kind enough to bring us out to landlocked bay this day! We got a great ride in his old wooden boat and trudged along to a black sand beach for smokies over the fire. Today was HOT so I went for a swim, but no one else seemed keen to jump into the Pacific’s refreshing waters. Too cold? Paddling onwards we saw pale blue spots in the water. We soon found out these areas had thousands of Moon Jelly fish in them. It was beautiful gliding over top of them as they stretched down to the oceans floor beneath us. Chris showed us a secret passage to another secret lagoon. Paddling back to his boat we witnessed hundreds of Dog/Chum Salmon swimming up a nearby stream. This was a wonderful day, though it was a bit sad spending our last night all together!
Paddling through the old dock at Ellemar-dodging bird poop
Smoked Sausage over the fire at black sand beach overlooking Chris’s boat
Day 7-Columbia Glacier: Lee picked us up for our last day at Columbia Glacier. The icebergs were out in full force this morning and we saw some really great shapes in them: whales, lobsters, witches hats etc. We ate lunch on the moraine staring at the specks of blue ice dotting the ocean to the terminus of the glacier and then paddled to a magical waterfall for our final send off. The day ended too fast. Arriving back in Valdez we transferred all of their bags into the van and I dropped them off at the airport amidst hugs and promises of future adventures.
Have fun in Vegas Sharon and Phillip, aka CC Otter and DJ Lipz, until our next adventure together! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo