Author Archives: Ilene Price

MILLENNIALS EXPLORE ALASKA BY KAYAK

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Frolicking in front of Shoup Glacier

The title of this blog might sound like the newest action-packed (with some romance, of course) film coming to a theater near you. I hope you won’t be let down that it is about three different three-day sea kayaking trips that I had the pleasure of guiding here in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Yes, the trips were action-packed and yes, some of the clients probably enjoyed some romance. I’m here to share some of the highlights from these great trips.

This three-day sea kayaking trip starts and finishes in beautiful Valdez, which offers a glorious coastline to paddle. What makes this trip so wonderful? Old-growth forest, rushing waterfalls, colorful wildflowers, juicy Blueberries and Salmonberries to eat, Bald Eagles diving for jumping salmon, serene bays, snow-capped peaks, adorable Sea Otters and curious Harbor Seals, and the holy grail of exploring the magnificently blue and alive Shoup Glacier.

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Look at all of those millennials having such a good time! I’m a millennial myself, so it was really fun (and entertaining. . . I mean, we understood the same social references, and could quote the same movies!) to share what I love with people around my own age. It was also inspiring to see my cohort getting out in the world and exploring amazing places, such as Prince William Sound, partaking in an adventure they might not have ever done before, such as an overnight sea kayaking trip near a glacier.

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Waking up to new snow on the mountaintops in Shoup Bay

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This string of three trips in a row were with 100% millennials. Gosh, I hope that I’m right about that. If not, I’m in trouble. Although it should definitely be taken as a compliment if I thought that people were younger than they actually are:) People often ask me who are the clients who do camping trips with me. “Really, kind of everybody, except for babies and geriatrics. I’m talking really geriatric. . . like 90’s. I’ve had a handful of 12-year-olds who did amazingly well on long paddle days. On a few of my trips the strongest group of paddlers were within the ages of 55-75! My first day trip of this season I was in the back of a boat with an 89-year-old woman traveling around Alaska for a couple of months by herself. So, my answer to that question of who are my clients is quite varied. However, these three trips definitely tip the clientele in favor of millennials.

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One of the coolest perks of a job that takes you to the same places throughout the season is that you get to see the fascinating changes that occur, especially at such a dynamic environment as a glacier. Glaciers are often where the “adventure-packed” part of a trip occurs. We get to witness the ice shifting and changing. (Below photos) The “after” photo on the right was taken a couple of weeks after the “before” photo on the left. Pretty cool.

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So millennials: here’s to you. . . (here’s to us) and your young, energetic professionalism that allows you to travel the world and do awesome things, like a three-day sea kayaking adventure with an equally energetic guide!

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Happy Hour on local hand-picked free range glacial ice:)

 

SEA KAYAK CAMPING TRIP TO THE FACE OF COLUMBIA GLACIER

Preface: Get ready for a longer blog about this unforgettable trip. Stick it out to the end to see my top two all-time favorite icebergs, and find out what finally merited busting out the emergency tequila:)

Photo is so nice, I had to use it twice. Cheers!

For five days in a row I awoke to the sound of two Brits giggling in their tent. That’s right. . . giggling like school children! (I don’t think they’d mind me saying so.) As I lit the stove to boil water for coffee, gazing out over the ice-filled bay in front of Columbia Glacier, I thought giddily to myself, “somewhere along the line I must’ve made a really good decision if this is what I do for my life’s work”!

Our vessels of choice at our campsite in Columbia Bay

I get to share with wonderful people the most beautiful places in the world using my favorite mode of transportation, sea kayaks. This trip, a five-day kayak and camping expedition starting on the south side of Glacier Island and finishing off with three amazing days exploring the recently-revealed landscape at the face of Columbia Glacier, was one of the best yet! A huge thank you and enthusiastic cheers goes out to my two clients, Rob and Anya, who just happened to squeeze in this kayak adventure amidst their lengthy motorcycle tour starting in Washington. Umm, yea. . . they’re kind of badasses on two wheels. Now they can proudly say they’re badasses with double-bladed paddles.

Double-bladed adventurers in Columbia Bay

This is Alaska. . . coastal Alaska, so there’s no shame in saying that we experienced some pretty wet and cold conditions, however this was supplemented with sporadic sightings of what we called the strange yellow orb in the sky. No harm done though, as we equipped and dressed ourselves for the occasion. Anya made some important discoveries that wearing two pairs of wet weather gear is considered a norm. Well, why wouldn’t you wear two pairs of rain pants and two rain jackets? And this is where the impressive amount of giggling came into play. Rob and Anya maintained lively spirits, adventurous attitudes, and senses of humor that would have anyone laughing up a storm in any weather conditions. Yellow orb in the sky or not, the three of us had a blast!

Interestingly, both Rob and Anya were reading accounts of polar expeditions, and even though we might have been in cold and damp conditions, their daily updates of expedition parties having to winter in Polar pack ice, put into perspective how plush we had it. After all, we didn’t have to worry about getting scurvy or having to kill marine mammals to eat. In fact, Anya often commented on my seemingly bottomless “Mary Poppins-esque food bags”, from which I pulled out many a fresh vegetable and Prince William Sound delicacies, such as Sockeye Salmon fillets and Cod. We even ran into such good fortune (literally we ran into my friend’s boat as he was chucking shrimp heads into the water) as to receive the delicious gift of fresh Prawns. Now that was a sweet treat!

Doesn’t get much fresher than this!

I swear, there is a tent under all of those tarps

View from my sleeping bag. . . not bad

Preparing lunch under the strange yellow orb in the sky, Columbia Bay

Along with spending time in the kitchen tent stuffing our faces with my delicious homemade meals, and getting warm and dry, we enjoyed many of the things that make a sea kayak expedition in Prince William Sound such a special and unique experience. We delighted in many wildlife sightings, such as a dozen Mountain Goats that we watched from our kayaks in Columbia Bay. We paddled past the Sea Lion haul-out on Glacier Island to enjoy these gregarious creatures, as well as saw lots of Tufted and Horned Puffins flying in and out of the sea caves that they nest in. Unfortunately, I couldn’t snap a photo of the flying birds. And, of course, we saw quite a few Harbor Seals and the adorable Sea Otter.

Mountain Goats, from our kayaks, Columbia Bay

The grand finale, the show piece, the main exhibit, the pièce de résistance (you get the idea). . . Paddling through ice to land at a very recently-exposed beach (i.e. one year, as the glacier has retreated back up onto land in this area) between two branches of Columbia Glacier to scramble up rocks like Mountain Goats to set foot on the glacier and glimpse a view of the impressively expansive ice field. Run-on sentence? You betcha. Incredible experience that not many people have had nor will have (unless, of course, you book this trip with me)? Absolutely. This was actually my first time exploring this new terrain along with Rob and Anya, which made the excitement level exceptionally high. I’ve been known to get pretty giddy when I’m seeing something for the first time out there.

Standing on Columbia Glacier

That view from the top!

Looking back at Columbia Bay from on top of the glacier

Yes, that’s right, we luxuriated in Columbia Glacial Facials.

Gettin’ that baby’s bottom smooth skin

Now, as prefaced, I must share with you my second all-time favorite iceberg that I’ve ever encountered. Want to see my number one? I bet you do. Just look at it. https://ileneinakayak.com/icebergs/ We happened upon this beautiful piece of ice on the return paddle from the glacier face to camp. Rob and Anya had to pretty much pull me away from this beautiful iceberg.

The only way we could think to celebrate such an exciting day at the face of the largest tidewater glacier in Prince William Sound. . . Bust out the emergency tequila!

CHEERS!

Our fifth and final day, we paddled back down Columbia Bay, enjoying more ice and a waterfall. I will never tire of paddling around ice.

Getting drops on the camera at the waterfall in Heather Bay

Well, there you go. How’s that for a memorable trip? After a five-day expedition of any sort, most people want to shower, wash clothes, eat, and sleep. Rob and Anya gloriously completed the first three, then were adventurous (and surprisingly awake) enough to cram into the backseat of a car, drive out of town, and assist me in setting up my Arctic Oven, which is a 12′ x 12′ tent with a woodstove in it. Upon completion of set-up we hauled four lawn chairs into it, cranked the stove, and commenced a giggle-fest about funny American and British terms.  I guess we all say the darndest things.

The 12′ x 12′ Arctic Oven tent, my home-away-from-home-away-from-home

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more Alaskan adventures in a sea kayak.

ANOTHER AMAZING SEA KAYAK CAMPING TRIP IN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND, ALASKA

There are lots of waterfalls to see from your kayak

 

Evan and Katie enjoying the scenery

Greetings! I’ve recently returned from another wonderful sea kayak camping trip with amazing clients, memories and scenery. Thank you to Evan and Katie, who joined me from Fairbanks for a three-day adventure out on Prince William Sound. Experienced backpackers and campers, these two wanted to get more experience in a sea kayak.

We began our trip right from the small boat harbor in Valdez, as Evan and Katie learned how to efficiently pack a sea kayak. We experienced a bit of a headwind for the first couple of hours as we made our way to Shoup Bay. They hung in there and we made it to the Inner Shoup Bay, where a view of Shoup Glacier made our efforts well worth it!

 

The beautiful Shoup Glacier

We set up camp right in front of the glacier, then hiked up to the face to explore and take a closer look at all the cool features there. Katie had said that all she wanted was to touch the glacier. So, of course, that is what we did! Shoup used to be a tidewater glacier, meaning the face (or terminus) sat in the sea water. The glacier has since retreated onto land again, allowing us the special opportunity to walk around at the face. We found a beautiful cave with a pool of water inside of it, pouring out as a powerful waterfall from underneath the glacier.

Making their way up to touch that glacier!

Exploring the lateral moraine of Shoup Glacier

Although I am missing the photo (I got distracted and forgot), we dined on salmon with a buttery tarragon sauce that I made, with rice and steamed broccoli. There’s no reason not to eat gourmet out there! With a screen tent to keep bugs and inclement weather out, a table and chairs, I feel as if we’re “glamping” out there. Sipping on cocktails and hot drinks from our comfy camp chairs, watching the glacier and snow-capped mountains, I don’t think any of us felt as if we were “roughin’ it” out there! We stayed up as late as we could (not very), laughing and telling our best adventure stories.

Day two we bid farewell to Shoup Glacier and paddled to our next destination, the lovely and serene Sawmill Bay. The coastline from Shoup to Sawmill is one of the prettiest in the port of Valdez, with many cascading waterfalls pouring thousands of feet from the glaciers above. We beat the afternoon winds through the Valdez Narrows and made it into Sawmill Bay earlier than expected, allowing us more time to relax and enjoy a short hike along the clear stream next to our campsite.

There are many waterfalls between Shoup and Sawmill Bays

Our third and final morning, we dined on a special culinary creation of S’mores Pancakes! Katie loves s’mores (in fact, she carried her own stash on the trip), so I whipped up this special breakfast. We then explored the rest of Sawmill Bay, enjoying the tranquility of floating in the calm waters, surrounded by mountains and watching wildlife from our boats. We saw lots of Bald Eagles being chased by brave Seagulls, as well as a Hooded Merganser with her following of eight little chicks. And Katie even got to enjoy a few hours of the freedom of solo paddling! Perhaps two single kayaks are in the future for Evan and Katie:)

Another wonderful sea kayak camping trip in Prince William Sound. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more exciting blogs about Anadyr day and camping trips.

 

 

SPACE AVAILABLE ON SEA KAYAK CAMPING TRIP IN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND, ALASKA: SEE COLUMBIA GLACIER FACE!

JUNE 26TH – 30TH SPACE STILL AVAILABLE ON A 5-DAY SEA KAYAK CAMPING TRIP.  Join me with Anadyr Adventures on this unforgettable adventure as we paddle Glacier Island and to the face of Columbia Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Highlights of this new itinerary are what makes this part of Alaska so exceptional; wildlife, rugged coastline, beautiful beaches with amazing views, sea caves, paddling amongst towering icebergs, remote campsites, and seeing Columbia Glacier up-close.

The face of Columbia Glacier

Iceberg paddling in Columbia Bay

Sea Otter in Columbia Bay

Beautiful campsite

Sea Lion, Glacier Island

Puffins on Glacier Island

Your guide will cook delicious and nutritious meals for you, as well as provide all of the camping and paddling equipment that you will need to stay comfortable, warm and dry out there. You’ll feel like you’re “glamping” in the Alaskan wilderness!

Cooking up some fresh Salmon

This trip is just around the corner, so contact Anadyr today!

 

 

 

 

FIRST SEA KAYAK CAMPING TRIP OF THE SEASON IN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND, ALASKA

What do you do when Alaska throws almost every type of weather at you during a four-day camping trip? Let me tell you. . . You see the beauty in both the driving rain with gusts of wind, and the blue skies dappled with sunshine. You maintain a cheerful attitude, hunker down and discuss the great books you’ve read, eat delicious hot meals, drink a lot of tea, and laugh a lot!

A huge thanks goes out to Siobhan (pictured above, leaping for joy for a much-deserved sunny day in Columbia Bay), who travelled all the way from Melbourne, Australia, to join me on a sea kayak adventure. She was everything that a guide wishes for in a client and paddling partner; helpful, cheerful, funny, adventuresome, and with a “ready to rally” attitude.

Approaching the face of Shoup Glacier

Paddling past the Black-Legged Kittiwake rookery in Shoup Bay

With a less-than-ideal weather forecast for the first day of our trip, we altered the itinerary to include a night at Shoup Glacier, what we called our “bonus glacier”. We endured a bit of rain that day as we paddled to the face of this beautiful blue glacier, then enjoyed a lovely evening as the skies cleared to reveal new snow on the mountaintops.

Beautiful blue face of Shoup Glacier

Clearing skies in Shoup Bay

The previous year a young whale had washed ashore in Shoup Bay, which now offers us a unique opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with the carcass of this massive creature.

Day two we awoke to blue skies, sunshine, and a gorgeous reflection. Shoup Glacier sure does look pretty with these pleasing conditions.

What a gift of a day! We continued on to the magical south side of Glacier Island, where calm seas and light winds allowed us to explore sea caves and enjoy time at the Sea Lion haul-out, where hundreds of these gregarious animals hang out and approach our boat in playful curiosity.

Bald Eagle

We pushed on and made a four-mile crossing from Glacier Island to the south end of Heather Bay, which is right next to Columbia Bay. Tired from an exciting and full day we set up camp and enjoyed the last bit of no precipitation for a little while, as the next day we endured the brunt of a windy rainstorm. Hey, this is coastal Alaska after all!

I don’t have any photo evidence from this wet day, however Siobhan and I still rallied, put on lots of warm clothing, stuffed ourselves with hot food and drinks, and set out into the wind and rain to check out the icebergs in Columbia Bay. We paddled up Heather Bay, seeking shelter in Heather Islands’ protected coves. It took a couple of hours, but we finally managed to land on the moraine, which divides Heather and Columbia Bays. This long stretch of land is the deposit of rock, gravel, and sand left over from when this largest of tidewater glaciers in Prince William Sound (tidewater meaning the face of the glacier is sitting in the ocean) had pushed its’ face (or terminus) to this point in the bay. The glacier has since retreated off of the moraine, leaving a great place for walking, as icebergs often ground themselves in the shallows here.

Lots of ice grounded on the moraine (on a sunny day)

We returned to our camp, dried out, filled up with halibut fish tacos, and endured a bit more rainy weather from inside of our dry tents. It’s a great thing we both had good books! Having experienced all of that rain, we were overjoyed to wake up the last morning to clearing skies, which turned into a glorious sunny day. We had the rest of this beautiful day to return to Columbia Bay and paddle amongst the towering icebergs.

Siobhan is one of the lucky ones to get to see ice in both grey and sunny skies. There is a unique, dramatic blue to the ice with a grey background. And with sunny skies. . . Well, it’s simply magnificent. We must have repeated a hundred times how lucky we felt for this day.

Iceberg reflected in Columbia Bay

What a trip, filled with so many highlights. I look forward to sharing more camping trip experiences with you, as well as lots of other Alaskan adventures. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more on the blog. Don’t forget to check out all of the wonderful trip opportunities that Anadyr has to offer. Give us a call and we’ll make your Alaskan dreams come true!

Your guide!

 

VALDEZ GLACIER ICE EXPLORATION

Valdez Glacier kayak tours are a unique opportunity to explore glacier ice, paddle around massive icebergs and have a lot of fun on top of the glacier. No experience necessary on this short day tour. Check out what the Valdez Glacier looks like currently, as the ice features can change quite dramatically in a short amount of time.

We had a fun group from Thailand (with one from Jordan and one from Oregon) on the Valdez Glacier yesterday. Even though it was a rainy day, that certainly didn’t stop us from getting groovy on the glacier.

An iceberg ice cave. Look how blue the ice is!

The view from inside the iceberg ice cave

Glacier yoga

Blue ice features on the glacier

Give us a call to book this amazing tour for a unique glacier experience with professional guides.

ANADYR ADVENTURES SEA KAYAKING ALASKA, OPEN FOR THE 28th SEASON

Getting the Family Back Together for the 28th Season: Continuing the Legacy of Anadyr Sea Kayak Guides in Valdez, Alaska

We call it the “anadamily”, and it extends far beyond the current nuclear family of Anadyr guides, office staff and managers. A few weeks ago when I was excitedly anticipating the arrival of the other guides to Valdez, I sent them a message asking, “What are you excited about for the upcoming season?”

Former Guide & Office Queen, Morgan & Sara

Of course, we are all looking forward to the exploratory perks of our employment as sea kayak guides in a state as vast and wild as Alaska. We often comment on having the most beautiful office to go to every day. Yet, what stands out to me more is the mutual feeling of being part of a special family. This season, my sixth, is number three for Bagel, Aidan, Jared, and KC. It’s the second for Mark, Dalton and Denise. Sami is joining the Anadyr team after guiding for a different tour company in Valdez last year. And as far as the extended “anadamily” in the community of Valdez, it’s hard to go anywhere and not run into an anadamily member (former guide, office staff, client, spouse, child, brother-in-law, niece). I happen to live on the same street as a handful of former Anadyr guides, totaling about 20 years of collective guiding. When we speak of their years guiding for Anadyr, I can detect a glimmer in their eyes as they reminisce about Sea Otters, Glacier Island, Valdez Glacier, and camping trips in Prince William Sound.

 

Anadyr Adventures was started in 1989 by Hedy Sarny, the same owner today. . . so that’s a lot of seasons of kayak guides, office staff and managers. Imagine the number of guests who have walked through our doors, been shown how to put a spray skirt on and been handed a paddle to embark on what many describe as a trip-of-a-lifetime. The heart and soul of Anadyr remains the same as it did 28 years ago: a genuine love and admiration for Prince William Sound.

Without further ado I introduce to you the 2017 Anadyr Adventures Sea Kayak Guides:

 BAGEL: I am excited for another season in the mighty Chugach mountains where I have found my peace and connection to this Earth and I hope to share that love with all who come out with us this summer. As the creatures of the Sound migrate back for another season, so do the guides, with enough passion and excitement to fill the ocean. I can not wait to show you our home.

 SAMI: I am incredibly excited to be a part of the Anadyr team this summer! The mountains, the ocean, and the beautiful town of Valdez. I am looking forward to exploring and adventuring in new and familiar places. And of course, introducing folks to the incredible place we call home. 

 DALTON: What I’m most excited for is to be back together with all of the wonderful people that we get to live and work with. I can’t wait to see how the glaciers have changed to again be surrounded by wildlife and ice. I’m looking forward to meeting all of the interesting people who come on our trips, and of course camping trips! I’m so excited to sleep out under the stars next to the rolling waves on the beach, and to climb the mountains up to the hanging glaciers that feed the amazing waterfalls. Valdez is such a magical place.

 JARED: I’m excited for exploring new camping spots, seeing where the glaciers are at and checking in on the whale carcass.

 GOOSE: I’m excited for camping trips, the training trip, seeing all the guides, and spending another summer in the most stunning wilderness.

 KC: Looking forward for everyone to reunite. Can’t wait for endless sun, adventures, icebergs, and softball.

 DENISE (our office queen): I’m excited to see everyone again and just to be back in Valdez.

 MARK: I’m excited to hear the melodious sound of Ilene’s voice.

 

 

ILENE: I’m excited for that warm feeling when I run up the stairs to the Anadyr guide’s apartment, swing open the door and am greeted with an enthusiastic “Ileeeene!!”. . . To wake up to the sound of waves rolling into shore from my cozy sleeping bag on the south side of Glacier Island. . . To notice the subtle changes in the ice at Columbia Glacier. . . To feel that contagious joy when someone sees a Sea Otter for the first time.

 

TASH (honorary Anadamily member): I’m looking forward to seeing you guys the most. And the snow nipped mountains, adventures in the icebergs and karaoke.

 

So get ready for another exciting fun- and adventure-filled summer! Join the growing Anadamily and share your Alaskan experience with us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANADYR ADVENTURES EXCITING NEW SEA KAYAKING & CAMPING TRIPS

Hello everybody! This is Ilene, senior kayak guide for Anadyr here in beautiful Valdez, Alaska. I’ve been enjoying a sunny spring, delighting in watching the days grow longer and warmer. Before we know it the snow will be gone in town, flowers will be blooming and heaps of visitors will be arriving to explore and discover all that the area has to offer. I finally got into a sea kayak the other day and felt happy to be paddling once again in Prince William Sound, greeting the Bald Eagles, Harbor Seals and Sea Otters. Back for my 6th season with Anadyr Adventures I continue to be amazed and inspired by the beauty and wildness of this place.

Lunch with a view of Columbia Bay

Do I ever tire of returning to the same places with different guests season after season? No, absolutely not! That’s why I keep coming back. The wildlife, the mountains, the glaciers, the icebergs, the sky, and the water offer the chance to tune in and discover the subtle yet constant changes that occur in this dynamic marine environment. Just like no two icebergs are the same, no camping trips will ever be the same either. Anadyr offers a variety of camping trips for all experience levels, time frames and trip goals. We are excited to be expanding our camping trip offerings, highlighting the awe-inspiring environment of eastern Prince William Sound, one of the most spectacular places for sea kayaking! Check out these two new and unique camping trip itineraries.

The Chugach Mountains offer an awe-inspiring backdrop to Columbia Glacier

Glacier Island to Columbia Glacier Discovery Trip 5-Day ($1625/person Fully Guided)

Diverse wildlife, boreal forest, rugged coastline, sea caves, towering icebergs, serene bays and coves, cascading waterfalls, pristine beaches, glacial moraine, and the dramatic recently-revealed landscape from the retreat of the largest tidewater glacier in Prince William Sound. This unique trip is Alaska at its’ best!

Glacier Island, with its’ rugged coastline and sea caves, is home to numerous bird and marine mammal species, including Horned and Tufted Puffins, Bald Eagles, Harbor Seals, Sea Otters, and the chance to view bear, Humpback Whales and Orcas. A highlight is paddling amongst Steller Sea Lions, as the island hosts a large haul-out for these playful and active animals. It’s a dream-come-true for wildlife enthusiasts.

A rowdy crew of Steller Sea Lions adds a thrill to paddling Glacier Island

Nothing like seeing a whale tail from the seat of a kayak

This trip takes us into Columbia Bay, one of the most breathtaking and dynamic bays in the area, ringed by the majestic and snowy glaciated peaks of the Chugach Mountains. We will explore the popular bird-nesting site and often ice-dotted glacial moraine, where Columbia Glacier sat until the start of its’ retreat in the early 1980’s. The peaceful boreal rainforest and distinct coves of this bay and its neighbor, Heather Bay, are home to a delightful diversity of birds, ducks and mammals, including Arctic Terns, Loons, Bald Eagles, Harbor Seals, and Sea Otters. At certain times we can observe salmon returning to their natal streams. If conditions allow, we will paddle the recently-exposed shoreline all the way to the face of this impressive glacier, as it calves icebergs into the water, an unforgettable and powerful experience for all to witness.

This wilderness trip-of-a-lifetime will allow you the feeling that you are experiencing the best of Alaska’s dramatic and awe-inspiring environment.

Navigating through icebergs in Columbia Bay

Columbia Glacier to Long Bay Exploratory Trip 6-Day ($1900/person Fully Guided)  

Diverse wildlife, boreal forest, towering icebergs, serene bays and coves, cascading waterfalls, pristine beaches, glacial moraine, rarely visited glacial lakes, and the dramatic recently-revealed landscape from the retreat of the largest tidewater glacier in Prince William Sound. This exciting wilderness trip allows you to discover one of Alaska’s most breathtaking and dynamic areas.

Enjoy the tranquility of Long Bay

With the majestic and snowy glaciated peaks of the Chugach Mountains as the backdrop, Columbia Glacier towers above sea level, frequently calving large icebergs into the water. We will paddle amongst these glistening ice sculptures as we cross Columbia Bay, discovering lakes and ice left over by the glacier. The popular bird-nesting site and often ice-dotted glacial moraine left over after Columbia Glacier started its’ retreat in the early 1980’s offers a unique landscape to explore. We will have many opportunities to view a diversity of birds and ducks, possibly bears and Mountain Goats, as well as paddle amongst Harbor Seals and Sea Otters that frequently haul out onto the ice.

We will enter Long Bay, a glorious gem of a bay, surrounded by boreal rainforest, cascading waterfalls, muskeg meadows, and towering rock cliffs. Wildlife viewing opportunities include Humpback Whales, Orcas, bears, Bald Eagles and other birds and ducks, Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, and salmon returning to their natal streams.

This trip will leave you feeling inspired and amazed at the best of what Alaska has to offer.

Bald Eagle

Sea Otter on an iceberg in Columbia Bay

Life is good with ice around

Happy paddlers in front of the face of Columbia Glacier

I hope this has you as excited as I am about Anadyr camping trips! I encourage you to peruse other blog posts for previous camping trip descriptions and photos, as well as read client testimonials to see the wonderful things that former Anadyr guests have to say about us. Contact us for more information. We love hearing from you and hope that you’ll join us for a trip-of-a-lifetime in the great wilderness of Alaska’s Prince William Sound.

Mama Harbor Seal with her newborn pup on Glacier Island

Sea Kayaking & Camping Adventure, 4-Day Glacier Island to Columbia Glacier

Life couldn't be better! On the north side of Glacier Island, looking into Columbia Bay

Life couldn’t be better! On the north side of Glacier Island, looking into Columbia Bay

Hello again adventurers! This is Ilene and I’m back with another post from our second camping trip of the season, a four-day journey from Columbia Bay to Glacier Island. I have to give a grateful shout-out to my wonderful expedition mates, Elaine and Dennis from Long Island, and Susanne and Matthias from Switzerland! What wonderful people to paddle with in paradise.

We began our trip in peaceful Heather Bay, where we enjoyed an afternoon of paddling around lots of ice in Columbia Bay. We saw a lot of Sea Otters, Harbor Seals and many birds and ducks.

Columbia Bay

Columbia Bay

Doesn't get much cuter than this, Columbia Bay

Doesn’t get much cuter than this, Sea Otter in Columbia Bay

Look at that blue ice! There’s nothing else like it in the world!

Enjoying the ice in Columbia Bay

Enjoying the ice in Columbia Bay

Gorgeous view of Columbia Bay

Gorgeous view of Columbia Bay

Beautiful iceberg

Beautiful icebergsP5160546

Anyone who has witnessed the beauty of Columbia ice will tell you that the photos and videos don’t do the scenery justice. You really have to come out here to experience it! Paddling around ice is one of my favorite things to do, so I can’t help myself to post lots of photos of icebergs. They’re all so uniquely mesmerizing.

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From Heather and Columbia Bays we paddled south to the north side of Glacier Island, where we spent a peaceful night, looking back at Columbia Bay and the Chugach Mountains beyond. We also witnessed many Humpback whales fluking. It got to the point where I heard someone say, “Oh, it’s just another whales’ tail.” I could watch that all day long and never get bored.

In the morning just before bidding farewell to Susanne and Matthias (who had to return a day earlier than the rest of us) we woke up to a blue-bird sky and decided to take the opportunitiy for a lovely hike up the hillside. We were gifted with this magnificant view, where we could see both to the north (into Columbia Bay) and the south. We had a photo shoot at the top and spent an hour basking in the stillness and tranquility of our surroundings.

View from our hike on Glacier Island

View from our hike on Glacier Island

Dennis, Elaine and I continued around to the south side of Glacier Island, a rugged and exposed coastline with steep vertical rockfaces, caves and an expansive view of Prince William Sound.

South side of Glacier Island

South side of Glacier Island

Caves on the south side of Glacier Island

Caves on the south side of Glacier Island

Oh and did I mention hundreds of Sea Lions. .  The south side of Glacier Island is full of them.

Sea Lion, Glacier Island

Sea Lion, Glacier Island

Sea Lions at their haul-out

Sea Lions at their haul-out

That night we enjoyed a fire on the beach, as Sea Lions cruised by repeatedly to ensure we were staying out of trouble.

Sunset on the south side of Glacier Island

Sunset on the south side of Glacier Island

A curious Sea Lion checking up on us

A curious Sea Lion checking up on us

On pick-up day we completed our journey of the entire south side of Glacier Island, and rounded the point back to the north side. We enjoyed one final extremely close encounter with a mother Harbor Seal and her newborn pup. Paddling out of Jackson Cove we just happened to be in the right place at the right time and witnessed this mother nursing her newborn. We watched in silent awe this special moment, which none of us will soon forget.

Mother Harbor Seal nursing her newborn pup

Mother Harbor Seal nursing her newborn pup

I will leave you with that incredible image to inspire you to make your Alaska trip-of-a-lifetime a reality! The wildlife, ice and breathtaking scenery awaits you. I’m waiting for you also:) Check out all of our camping trip and day trip options. Give us a call or an email and book a trip today! We’ll see you soon.

 

 

Sea Kayaking & Camping Adventure: Sawmill Bay to Shoup Glacier, Prince William Sound, Alaska

Checking out the beautiful coastline

Checking out the beautiful coastline

Hello adventurers! This is Ilene, back for my fifth summer of sea kayak guiding for Anadyr Adventures. I love this place so much! That’s why I keep coming back. Take a look at our photos and videos and you’ll see why. Then book a trip with us and experience the magic for yourself!

This post is from our first camping trip of the 2016 season. May is such a lovely time to paddle here. A huge thank you to Aaron and Amelia for being out there with me, experiencing the tranquility and beauty of Prince William Sound.

The beauty of Sawmill Bay

The beauty of Sawmill Bay

This camping trip takes you out for three days of exploration and paddling along the coastline between peaceful Sawmill Bay, into Shoup Bay State Marine Park, where you can paddle up to the face of Shoup Glacier, and then back into the port of Valdez.

Aaron and Amelia enjoying a waterfall

Aaron and Amelia enjoying a waterfall

The hike from our campsite to the tranquility of Devish Lake

The hike from our campsite to the tranquility of Devish Lake

Sawmill Bay

Sawmill Bay

Port of Valdez

Port of Valdez

Any time on the water here offers you the opportunity to get up close and personal with marine wildlife, such as Sea Otters, Harbor Seals and Whales! We were fortunate enough to spend some time with the latter. Here is a cool video of a Humpback Whale that we followed for about 1.5 hours in the Port of Valdez. It’s not every day that you get to say that! (click on the words “Humpback Whale” to see our close encounter with this whale.)

A Sea Star holding on the rocks

A Sea Star holding onto the rocks

For most, our trips will be the first time that people paddle up to the face of a large glacier, such as Shoup Glacier.

The face of Shoup Glacier

The face of Shoup Glacier

Shoup Bay is home to a large Black-Legged Kittiwake (a small Seagull) rookery, which offers you an up-close glimpse into the exciting life of this active bird. There are many other types of birds and ducks that you can see, including Bald Eagles, Loons and Black Oystercatchers.

Paddling alongside a large Black-Legged Kittiwake Rookery in Shoup Bay

Paddling alongside a large Black-Legged Kittiwake Rookery in Shoup Bay

Contact Anadyr Adventures (and stop in to visit us if you’re in Valdez) for more information on our exciting camping trips and day trips!