Surreal experience five days solo sea kayaking experience in Alaskan Wilderness in Kenai Fjord in Aialik Bay. Watching massive glacier calving, paddling with lovely harbor seal baby and sea otter, sleeping in the tent with black bear wondering around..AND swimming with humpback whale, which make my kayak capsize and killed all of my phone and camera(( no photo in this trip recorded))….BUT so lovely that there is so much travelers to take me picture and send me back by email. Very rewarded solo kayak experience before busy Arctic season
—Attention : Please pardon me that there is NO high quality picture as the whale cause my camera out of order—
Longing sea kayaking in the Arctic
According to personal 6 seasons polar working experience, sea kayaking is the best way to explore the fjord, Glacier and their ecosystem in the fine way. The fresh Glacier Ice water with salt ocean mixture plus 24 hr mid-sun do offer a great condition for a lot of polar mammal, sea birds and tundra landscape with pine tree as a backdrop. And, Kayak will bring you the wild place that the cruise ship and normal tourism usually cannot reach!
High Risk of Arctic Kayaking
Sailed from Seward, where is a regional capital of Kenai peninsula, 2 hrs water taxi to drop me off a remoteness fjord system called – Aialik Bay. During the sail with the capital, He is very concern and worry that how a Hong Kong sub-topical boy can survive alone with sea kayaking in this remote place. He kept asking my plan and skills. However, I do understand why they are so worry !! Icy Arctic water, inaccessible wilderness and limited communication method do make this solo sea kayaking in unnecessary risk situation. One mistake do make me cannot return home!! But, Once the watertaxi left and I sit alone on the beach with my tent and sea kayak under the alpine mountain background. I am excited and enjoy the moment very much. ((But I cannot find the bear box to protect the food from bear)). Suddenly, I heard massive breathing sound from the bay —-A HUMPBACK WHALE IN THE BAY!!
^^^Video upon ^^
First Whale Swimmer from Hong Kong er
Immediately, I dress up warm and go with kayak toward the whale. Once I reach a group of sea gull (due to the fish around the whale feeding), one young humpback whale hopping and watching me. She is very young and smaller than the humpback in Antarctica. To be frank, this is really what I am dreaming of……. According to my experience with Antarctic whale, they are very friendly and understand human being . However, my six sense feel that there is something wrong after she dive few times….. In sudden, she come up under my kayak and bring me with kayak up to air………… Damn, I exit the cockpit and end up into the cold icy Alaskan sea with all of my phone and camera in!!!!
I settle my panic and pump out all the water in the kayak in order to re-enter it…. Meanwhile, I scared that the whale will come under second times and do hurt me again. Very cold water even the warm mid-sun at 2000pm, my leg feel all of the tiny fishes pass through. Once getting back kayak, I immediately paddle toward campsite. Lucky, A boat in a far distance recognize me in danger and come to pick up. The capital is John, who is retired man, fishing alone with his cosy powerboat at. He made some hot tea and borrow some dry cloth to warm me up before I return the campsite on shore….. Life saving indeed. ( Next morning, when I paddle back toward him to return the cloths, we catch a massive halibut about 80kg and he share some fresh fish, which is the most taste fish I have in life !!! )
Again!!!Being the Toy of Whale
Second day, I do not sleep very well after the whale. The crazy high tide (3m difference), the bear nearby and the whale breathe sound in the bay keep me awake inside the tent. Anyway, I continue my second day of kayaking tour toward next destination – Pedersen Glacier, where is a hotpot for tourism and cursing ship.
The wave is gentle and the rich wildlife along the coastline bring me to deep thinking mode easily…. In sudden, I heard a whale breathe again behind kayak !!! God !! Same young whale just come toward me in 1 meter closed!!!! Damn, I really do not want to enter the cold water again…. I start crazy paddle fast to the shallow water. Still the whale keep follow me all the way, about one hr…….After my heart rate cool down when I ensure the whale cannot hurt me anymore in the shallow water, I think she maybe want to apology or she may think I am her new toy……Anyway, I am really sure that I do not want to enter the water again (But, I still do longing more close experience with whale.) Eventually, I arrive my destination, about 15 km far in 3 hrs against wind and tide direction… Crazy physical workout!!
Paddle Glacier Ice Make so Cool
Pedersen Glacier is an outlet glacier, which drops quickly from the plateau of the ice field through a pair of icefalls terminating 3.5 km in a lake at 25 meters. Similar as a number of Glacier in Alaska, Pedersen Glacier retreat the length dramatically in this century, which create a lagoon system in front of the icefall.
I wait for high tide starting so that the tide current suck me into the Lagoon, like entering a washing machine into new territory…..This is impressive that there is full of blue iceberg with shy harbour seal lie on. One iceberg can have at least 100 seals on the surface…..so insane!! Sometime, the seal (I think the baby one without mother) come toward my kayak and greeting. (Reminder : do not touch them as human smell make the mother do not care their offspring ). Very interesting, The icy fresh water bring the kayak inside so cold and I really cannot stay long. But, setting the bow facing the massive glacier with deep blue diamond-like iceberg around with my cliff bar for lunch and listen the waterfall around…. This is rewarded. (Damn whale kill my camera). I camped 4 km nearby Glacier….. listening the glacier calving sound-like thunder with a few black bear wondering outside of my tent is a unique Alaskan camping experience.
Wilderness with friendly visitors
In my plan, I pre-assume that there is noone I can encounter in the whole entire touring. But, I do meet a group of kayaker, usually from guiding company, in the campsite every-day. They fed me a lots with leftover food (I do run my food low as I eat more than normal after Denali), They help me to take picture and email me back. Great friendship always make in the nature!!
Great Solo Sea Kayaking wilderness experience
Last day morning – when the water-taxi come to pick me up, I do miss the day at the sea alone. I really love this trip after the heavy demanding Denali mountaineering. The moisturised air heal my dry air coughing and dry painful skin. Although I still kept eating the dry-freeze food from the mountain. The view, the wilderness and the landscape refresh me. Looking forward next sea kayaking in Alaska soon…in next season.