Open Paddle Kayaking
I’m always excited to see Open Paddle Kayaking on the activities roster for the next day. It means I have a chance to go explore a bay, or gain more familiarity with one we’ve visited before.
I’ve kayaked previously, and even carry a sit on top kayak on my sailboat, but for some reason it has never grabbed me like it has here in Alaska. Now I take every chance I can to venture out in one of the many colorful kayaks we carry here on the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer.
One of my favorite areas is close to shore in shallow water where I can inspect the sea life beneath. The kayaks draw so little water I can paddle into what looks like impossibly shallow areas and watch the rocks, sea stars, crabs and shellfish glide beneath me. Various kelps cling to the rocks adding color and texture to the sea bed.
Paddling close to the shoreline also allows me to watch for wildlife living on land as well. Some species I spot in both environments such as sea lions, seals and otters. There are plenty of birds for watching, some on the surface of the water, some diving below it, and some dipping their talons into the water in attempts to pull fish from the water without getting their feathers wet. There are even interspecies bird activities, such as a crow making several swoops at a bald eagle perched in a tree.
So far, the larger land mammals have eluded my viewing attempts, but it is early in the season and I have plenty of kayaking left in my future.
I’m also planning to join in guided paddle when I get a chance. There is something magical about the solitude of exploring the scenery from a small boat by yourself, but I’m also looking forward to sharing the sights with others, and having one of our fact-filled guides teach me more about the nature I’m viewing.