In May of 2016 we ventured to Alaska on a small ship cruise in the Alaskan Inside Passage. Our 7 day Southeast Alaska trip began in Juneau, the Capital, and ended in the old Russian town of Sitka. Along the way we enjoyed Southeast Alaska wilderness at it’s finest with sightings of orca whales, brown bears, sea lions, countless bald eagles, harbor seals, salmon and mink to name just a few.
Cruising on the Wilderness Explorer with UnCruise, our small ship carried approximately 70 passengers and came equipped with a unique kayak launch in the rear of the ship. After departing Juneau, our first kayaking stop was Idaho Inlet. In the inlet we were given choices of a shorewalk, a zodiac boat tour, or kayaking. We chose kayaking and reported at our assigned time to the busy, but highly efficient, launch in the stern of the boat. Once we were sitting in our kayaks on the roller deck the experienced crew easily pushed us into the cold clear Alaskan waters.
Idaho Inlet provided a nice (and misty) introduction to our exotic locale.
Three days later Takatz Bay provided a different kayaking excursion. At dawn the bay waters were still and mirror like. In Takatz Bay after being launch we kayaked into the Bay at our own pace. (Guides were always in sight in zodiacs or kayaks). Beautiful waterfalls fell from the mountainside at the end of the bay. Along the shallow rocky shelves rimming the bay the crystal clear waters allowed spectacular viewing of the sea life just below the surface. We were blessed with a beautiful day and the scenery was incredible.
Dozens of large starfish, sea anemones, and even several mink catching small fish and eating them, entertained us as we paddled along the rocky coast line.
Judy even decided to try her hand at paddleboarding. Her reliable balance kept her out of the cold water and she took another circuit of our beautiful surroundings.
Our next kayaking trip was labeled as an all day “Yak – Whack”, a combination of kayaking and bush-whacking. After paddling several miles we carried our heavy kayaks a long distance over the gravel beach to the high water mark to avoid any missing kayaks when the tide came in.
Several options were offered for bush-whacking. Some chose to climb a nearby hill while we joined a guide to explore the lowlands. We quickly discovered a beautiful small salmon stream. Along the way we spotted very large brown bear tracks in the mud, and our favorite Alaskan flower: chocolate lilies.
Returning to the ship on this trip turned into a challenge with blowing driving rain making for a challenging paddle. A hot shower was warmly welcomed upon return.
Our final kayaking adventure was in Magoun Island State Marine Park with beautiful weather, stunning mountain vistas and a small seal bobbing along beside us.
Kayaking along the shore bald eagles soared overhead as we observed many lichen covered trees
Kayaking in Alaska is a unique experience. It involves wearing more layers, extra safety steps, sometimes challenging conditions but absolutely amazing scenery and wildlife. A truly unique experience.
UnCruise provided us with a first class small ship cruise. We were 100% satisfied with our cruise experience. The staff is knowledgeable, helpful, friendly, approachable and safety conscious. If you’d like more information on cruising with them feel free to ask a question in the comments below.
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