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Alaska Cruises Do-It-Yourself Sea Kayaking in Kenai Fjords
The below information is to help you get started planning your Alaska sea kayaking adventure.

Backcountry Safaris offers sea kayak rentals to experienced sea kayakers. If you do not have experience but still want to be self-supported (do-it-yourself) and save some money on your Alaska sea kayaking vacation we offer an option that is called "Guide Rental." You supply your own food and camping gear and we supply the kayaking gear and an experienced guide that tags along to teach you how to kayak and to guide you to the points of interest. These are custom trips and are tailored to your interest and trip length. Or we do offer fully guided and outfitted trips.

Kayaking, Rafting and Camping Gear Rental
Sea Kayaks, Canoes, Dry Suits, Tents, Sleeping Pad, Sleeping Bag, Stoves. Bear Resistant Food Canisters (BRFC), and VHF Marine Radios.
CLICK HERE: Gear Rental

Guide Rental Trips
You supply your own food and camping gear (camping gear rental is available) and we provide an experienced guide and the kayaking gear. CLICK HERE: Guide Rental

General Trip Information
For Aialik Bay and Northwestern Fjord we highly recommend that you plan on trip lengths of 4 or more days and 5 - 10 days would be ideal. Keep in mind this is a remote location and there is quite bit travel time getting there. The first day is getting there; arrival time in the bay is 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM. The last day is getting back to Seward. Shorter trips are not recommend. A shorter trip does not give you enough time to really see and appreciate what Aialik Bay has to offer.

For a shorter trip length, we recommend Bear Glacier. It also offers a great paddling experience with glaciers and giant icebergs but is closer to Seward. CLICK HERE: Bear Glacier Sea Kayaking

Other low cost short trip destinations are areas in Resurrection Bay such as Caines Head, Thumb Cove, Humpy Cove, Fox Island, or Kayakers Cove, a remote kayaking hostel. These options are scenic and fun options but do not have tidewater glaciers.

There are 4 public use cabins located in Resurrection Bay if you prefer not to camp. There is a small user fee and advance reservations are required.
Derby Cove Public Use Cabin
Callisto Canyon Public Use Cabin
Thumb Cove Spruce Glacier Cabin
Thumb Cove Porcupine Glacier Cabin

Caines Head, Derby Cove, Callisto and Tonsina Point are popular destinations with local sea kayakers and a short paddle right from Seward's Lowell Point if you prefer not to use a water taxi.

Backcountry Safaris also offers day guided trips to Caines Head and Tonsina Point.

For trips going to Aialik Bay and Northwestern Fjord you should plan on arriving in Seward the day before your departure date to go over the gear and to make sure your gear will fit into the kayaks.

Transportation To Seward: Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic Train or by Bus

Water Taxi to Aialik Bay, Northwestern Fjord, Bear Glacier and Resurrection Bay
Our water taxis and captains we work with are the most reliable boats in the fjords. They have been doing tours and providing water taxi service in the Seward Kenai Fjords area for many years. CLICK HERE: For Water Taxi Rates

Drop-off and pick-up locations are somewhat limited due to exposed water conditions and shore conditions, most of which are steep cliffs or too rocky. In general, in Aialik Bay and Northwestern Fjord, any location (except Pederson Lagoon) where there is a bear proof food storage locker or at the public use cabins is okay (see links below). For other locations please contact us.

Resurrection Bay there are quite few possible water taxi drop-off locations. Call or email us with what you have in mind or for some suggestions.

Aialik Bay and Northwestern Fjord's bear proof food storage locker locations. CLICK HERE: Food Kenai Fjords Storage Locker Location Map PDF

There are 2 public use cabins located in Aialik Bay if you prefer not to camp. There is a small user fee and advance reservations are required.
Aialik Bay Pubic Use Cabin
Holgate Public Use Cabin

Note that the Aialik Bay and Northwestern Fjord water taxi is the same boat that also does our small boat whale watching tour and may have sightseers on board. They always load at 7:00 a.m going out. On the pick-up if they are seeing lots of wildlife or whales on the way out the boat will make stops for these and may be a little late on the pickup time. Normally the pick time is between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM unless other times have been pre-arranged in advance.

Emergency Communication
It is essential (and the bare minimum) that you carry a handheld VHF marine radio with you. We have these available to rent if needed. There is a radio repeater site on Rugged Island and VHF marine radio communication with the USCG Communications Station Kodiak is possible along much of the Kenai Fjords coastline. A marine VHF can be handy for weather information and essential in emergencies. The Coast Guard monitors Channel 16. To call the water taxi boats on the radio they will only be able to hear you when they are in Bay.

In addition to carrying a handheld VHF marine radio, a satellite phone may offer the best means of communicating and for calling the water taxis home port in Seward to check on any weather delays or to rearrange (a day in advance) a different pick-up location. Satellite phones are available to rent in Anchorage from Surveyors Exchange.

Important emergency numbers to have with you: Coast Guard 1-907-463-2000, Alaska State Troopers Dispatch 1-907-428-7200.

Cell phone coverage is available in most location in Resurrection Bay and the Seward area but cell phones do not work in Aialik Bay, Northwestern Fjord, and Bear Glacier.

Sea Kayaking Safety
Kenai Fjords Sea Kayaking and Boating Safety. Waves from calving glaciers or large icebergs can upset your kayak or skiff. Stay at least 1/2 mile away from tidewater glaciers. READ MORE Kenai Fjords Sea Kayaking Safety

Pedersen Lagoon Area - Beware of breaking waves when entering or exiting. Be sure to sit well offshore and analyze the conditions thoroughly before entering and take a look from shore before entering the river to exit. With the river and tidal currents you should plan on entering the lagoon on the incoming tide at or near high tide and exiting on the outgoing tide.

Bears - Take the time to learn the basics of bear behavior so you can act responsibly in bear country. Remember, your safety (and the safety of the bear) depends on you! READ MORE: Kenai Fjords Bear Safety

Due to the risk of cold water immersion and hypothermia we require kayak renters to have cold water protected clothing such as a wet suit or dry suit. Dry suits are available to rent if needed. CLICK HERE: Hypothermia and Cold Water Shock information

Weather
For kayaking trips in Aialik Bay, Northwestern Fjords, Bear Glacier and the outer edges of Resurrection Bay, be advised that Gulf of Alaska storms, with accompanying high seas, can delay your scheduled water taxi pick-up time. Plan accordingly and be sure to bring along a minimum of 3 days extra food and supplies.

When listening to the marine weather report on your VHF marine radio (channel 1) in Aialik Bay, Northwestern Fjords, and Bear Glacier your location is the Cape Suckling to Gore Point area. East or Northeast winds are bad. A report with East or Northeast wind 25 knots or more and seas 9 feet and over is a good indication that there could be possible delays in pick-up. The Cape Suckling to Gore Point coverage is a large area and local conditions may also vary some. Boats do go out everyday to check local conditions at Cape Aialik so your pickup may still be possible. So you still need to be ready for a pick-up at the agreed time and location planned in advance by you and the boat captain. CLICK HERE For current marine forecast for Cape Suckling to Gore Point

Kenai Fjords is a temperate rainforest. It's a good idea to be prepared for cool, rainy weather - but don't forget your sunglasses and sunscreen either. The sunlight reflected off of the water or the ice can be very intense. It's best to dress in layers and always carry raingear - no matter how nice the weather looks when you're starting out. Summer daytime temperatures range from the mid 40s to the high 70s (Fahrenheit). Overcast and cool rainy days are frequent. It is not unusual to get several long periods of continuous rain in the summer months, but we do have some glorious sunny days as well. CLICK HERE For the current Seward and Kenai Fjords forcast.

Camping
Camping is allowed anywhere in Aialik Bay and Northwestern Fjords except on the private Alaska Native lands owned by Port Graham Native Corporation where a permit is required. More information and permit information can be found on the Port Graham Native Corporation's web site. Also see our "Aialik Bay Map" - the Alaska Native land is the shaded area.

In Aialik Bay and Northwestern Fjords there are bear proof food storage lockers located at the popular camping locations. For camping anywhere else in the park, the national park regulations require that food must be packed in certified Bear Resistant Food Canisters (BRFC). Backcountry Safaris has BRFCs to rent if you plan on camping outside the standard camping locations.

To help with your camping plan Backcountry Safaris has a number of detailed maps available. The detailed camp location maps show food storage locker locations in the camps. Some are food lockers that are hidden in the alders and can be hard to see. CLICK HERE: Backcountry Safaris Kenai Fjords Maps

In Resurrection Bay there are a few small private land-holdings on the eastside; otherwise camping is allowed anywhere.

Leave No Trace. Read More: National Park Leave No Trace. The national park and federal guidelines say human waste disposal is no longer permitted in the inter-tidal zone. The tradeoff here is a lot of the camping locations in Aialik Bay are small with cliffs behind them and finding a location 200 feet from the water is impossible or the ground is so laced with rocks that digging a proper cat hole is impossible. In these locations you have to make a personal decision and weigh out what is doing less harm. The common practice for many years and still practiced today by many Kenai Fjord sea kayakers has been to use the bathroom at the inter-tidal zone and let the tides break the waste down. And burn the toilet paper. If campers were to start digging cat holes at these small camps and because of the rocky conditions prohibiting a proper cat hole to be dug deep enough, it would not take long for these camps to become so polluted that you would not want to camp there. Of course the best option is to carrying out all human waste. There are newer systems on the market that make this very doable for sea kayakers. Cleanwaste Wag Bag (Pett Wag Bag) is one system that can be used with or without the toilet seat setup. Wag Bags are available at many outdoor stores or direct from the manufacturer: Clearwaste

Reading
Suggested reading to learn more about Kenai Fjords and where you will be sea kayaking:
Kenai Fjords Historic Resource Study (online book) by Linda Cook and Frank Norris
Exploring Alaska's Kenai Fjords by David Miller
Kenai Fjords Park - Trails Illustrated Map
Alaska: A History of the 49th State by Claus-M Naske and Herman E. Slotnick
Guide to the Birds of Alaska by Robert H. Armstrong
Wild Flowers of the Yukon, Alaska by John G. S. Trelawny
Alaska Travel hotline

Backcountry Safaris
P.O. Box 1397 Seward, Alaska USA 99664
1-907-222-1632 or toll-free 1-877-812-2159
Alaska Cruise Expert


Backcountry Safaris is a member of the following trade and travel organizations:
Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association Tourisim Assocaton Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureeu Alaska Travel Industry Association
Alaska travel package
Web Specials
Sea Kayaking Related Links
Kenai Fjords Related Links
Kenai Fjords Wildlife
Kenai Fjords Birds
Suggested Reading
Kenai Fjords Historic Resource Study (online book) by Linda Cook and Frank Norris
Exploring Alaska's Kenai Fjords by David Miller
Kenai Fjords Park - Trails Illustrated Map
Alaska: A History of the 49th State by Claus-M Naske and Herman E. Slotnick
Guide to the Birds of Alaska by Robert H. Armstrong
Wild Flowers of the Yukon, Alaska by John G. S. Trelawny
Kenai Fjords Weather
Current Seward, AK Weather
Click for Seward, Alaska Forecast

Alaska Facts
  1. Alaska State: Flower Forget-me-not
  2. Alaska State Bird: Willow Ptarmigan
  3. Alaska State Tree: Sitka Spruce
  4. Alaska State Mineral: Gold
  5. Alaska State Gem: Jade
  6. Alaska State Mammal: Moose
  7. Alaska State Fish: King Salmon
  8. Alaska State Sport: Dog Mushing
  9. State Nickname: The Last Frontier
  10. State Motto: North To The Future
  11. State Song: Alaska's Flag
  12. Alaska State Holidays: Alaska Day, Oct.18th and Seward's Day March 27
  13. The United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million, about 2 cents an acre.
  14. 15 species of whales are found in Alaska waters.
  15. Alaska has more than 80 potentially active volcanoes.
  16. The flag of Alaska contains 8 gold stars representing the Big Dipper and the North Star on a field of blue.
  17. Longest Day: Barrow the sun rises on May 10th, it don't set for nearly 3 months.
  18. Shortest Day: Barrow when sun sets on November 18th, Barrow residents do not see the sun again for nearly two months.
  19. What maybe the oldest documented site of human habitation in North America, the Mesa Site found in 1993 lies 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
  20. There are more than 3,000 rivers in Alaska and over 3 million lakes.
  21. The name of Alaska probably comes from Unalaska, an Aleut word derived from agunalaksh which translates the shores where the sea breaks its back.
  22. The 90,000 Native people of Alaska make up roughly 15% of the state's population.
  23. Almost half of Alaska (175 million acres) is classified as wetlands.
  24. Highest Point: Mount McKinley, 20,320 ft
  25. 17 of the highest 20 mountains in the U.S. are in Alaska. It has 19 peaks over 14,000 feet.
  26. Of the total 365 million acres of land that make up Alaska, less than one-twentieth of 1% is settled.
  27. Alaska has numerous natural hot springs found across the state. Near Port Moller Hot Springs on the Alaska Peninsula, a village site has been occupied intermittently over the past 3000 years.
  28. The largest gold nugget found in Alaska was discovered near Nome in 1903. It weighed 155 troy ounces and was 2 inches thick, 4 inches wide and 7 inches long.
  29. It is estimated that there are 100,000 glaciers in Alaska covering 29,000 square miles or 5% of the state.
  30. The estimated tidal shoreline of Alaska including inlets, islands and shoreline to head of tidewater is 47,300 miles.
  31. The largest state in the union, Alaska is one-fifth the size of the Lower 48 and spans 2,400 miles east to west and 1,420 miles north to south.
  32. On average 1,000 earthquakes registering 3.5 or more on the Richter scale occur in Alaska each year.
  33. Most snowfall in 24 hours: 62 inches, at Thompson Pass near Valdez, Dec. 1955.
  34. Most monthly snowfall: 297.9 inches, at Thompson Pass near Valdez, Feb. 1953.
  35. Most snowfall in a season: 974.5 inches (over 81 feet), at Thompson Pass near Valdez, 1952-53.
  36. Most precipitation in 24 hours: 15.2 inches, in Angoon, Oct. 12, 1982.
  37. Most monthly precipitation: 70.99 inches at MacLeod Harbor (Montague Island), Nov. 1976.
  38. Most annual precipitation: 332.29 inches at MacLeod Harbor (Montague Island), 1976.
  39. Highest recorded temperature: 100¡F, at Ft. Yukon, June 27, 1915.
  40. Lowest recorded temperature: -80¡F, at Prospect Creek Camp, Jan. 23, 1971.
  41. Earthquakes: 9.2 on the Richter Scale on March 27th 1964 - the strongest ever recorded in North America
  42. 430 bird species have been sited in Alaska.
  43. Over 50 species of wild fruit is found in Alaska including Low and Highbush Cranberries, Blueberries, Salmonberries, wild rose and strawberries.
  44. Three species of bear are found in Alaska: the black, the brown/grizzly and the polar bear. Brown bears are the largest living omnivorous land mammals in the world.
  45. The Arctic Circle is the latitude where the sun does not set for one day at summer solstice and does not rise for one day at winter solstic.

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