Sunday, September 23, 2012

Paddling in the Rain

Welcome to the fifth installment summarizing Karyn and my recent trip to Alaska (all of the stories are here). After visiting Barrow and Denali, we settled into Seward for the final days of our adventure. The rain joined us there after beautiful sunshine for most of our trip. We didn't let that discourage us!

We were hoping to experience some sea kayaking. Unfortunately we hadn't made reservations far enough in advance to join the tour to see glaciers calving into the bay. We settled instead for a wildlife tour at Fox Island. We awoke to a downpour. Not to fear, we own a fair amount of Goretex!

Paddling in the rain. Resurrection Bay Alaska

The trip began with a ride on a large boat out to Fox Island. The boat stopped just long enough for us to jump off and then continued on its way. We were the only two customers for this kayak. We met up with our guide Betsy from Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking company and gabbed our gear. The local caretaker informed Betsy that two River Otters had slept in her kayak the previous night! We checked for any unwanted waste left inside, but it was all good. It continued to rain!

Our destination was to paddle out around the point and into Sunny Cove. That sounded great! Betsy promised that it would be sunny there. No worries.

Guide Betsy.

Sea birds flew around us, fish jumped, and the rain fell. It was beautiful.

Point of Fox Island.

We circled around the point and into Sunny Cove. Horned Puffins, Common Murres, Pelagic Cormorants, Black-legged Kittiwakes. It was great. We checked out sea stars on the rocks and Bald Eagles overhead.

Bald Eagle in the mist.

Harlequin Ducks, Black Oyster Catchers, Marbled Murrelets, Pigeon Guillemots! This was a pretty diverse list of birds for a few hours in a kayak. Wait, where's the sun? Sunny Cove is a LIE! It was still raining! It doesn't matter, we were enjoying ourselves. The puffins were the best. They circled around us and landed on the rocks nearby.

Horned Puffins!

We even got to see Jellyfish. I had never seen striped ones before.

Striped Jellyfish.

The highlight of the day was the River Otters. We had expected to maybe see Sea Otters, but two River Otters came to check us out. Maybe the same two that slept in Betsy's kayak.

The first just swam up and looked at us, circled and then moved on its way. The second one, however, had just captured an Eel. He proceeded to eat it nearby. It almost looked as if he wanted to stay near the kayaks during lunch. Maybe he knew that he was safe with us.

River Otter with an Eel!

More Bald Eagles and more seabirds and our paddle was over. We had lunch at the lodge before a different boat came to pick us up. We circled fox island before heading back to Seward.

As this was a wildlife tour, the captain worked us in close to some seabird colonies. Horned Puffins and Common Murres dominated, but we also saw Tufted Puffins, Guillemeots, murrelets, etc. Had it not been raining, I probably could have had a few more life birds, but it was pretty spectacular the way it was.

Seabird colony!
Horned Puffins, Common Murres, and Black-legged Kittiwakes!

Another great day on our Alaska adventure. Only one day remaining, but it too was full of surprises. I will highlight it in the next post.


April said...

Even with the rain/fog that looks pretty sweet! Definitely want to make it up to Alaska with my husband someday. We lived there for a couple years when I was little and I have some great memories of how wild and rural it was. Neat critters you saw!

Anonymous said...

Now if only we had some zodiac used boats, we'd also take a trip there (probably in rain weather too).