Tag Archives: Valdez

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.

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.