Sea Kayaking Memories From This Past Summer’s Alaska College Leadership Program

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Day 1: We left early to catch a boat that would shuttle us to our first campsite. We got situated on Applegate Spit, and enjoyed a land-kayaking lesson before we suited up and got into our boats for a short paddle around Applegate Island, practicing for our first big day.

Day 2: On our first full day of paddling, we navigated through Culross Passage. We paddled about 10 miles with everyone’s spirits high, everyone talking and getting to know each other. Our day included some seal and up-close sea lion sightings, as well as spotting a pod of dolphins off in the distance. We pulled into camp at Culross Cove that afternoon for some rock skipping and hangout time.

Day 3: The next day was a long channel crossing. We had excellent calm seas and mild weather, which made the nine-mile paddle enjoyable. We arrived at Surprise Cove just about noon, then ate so much food that we almost exploded. We were provided five-star amenities at this campsite, including tent platforms, a pit toilet and bear lockers. We went on a hike in search of running water and found a lake and some beautiful scenery. The rest of the day was spent stuffing our faces and enjoying the weather.

Day 4: The next day, as we approached our campsite we saw some sprays of water in the distance and a loud “whoosh!” Humpback whales were right near us! We spent time with the whales, then returned to our campsite, right underneath a bald eagle nest. After dinner we were able to have a fire and roast marshmallows and enjoy a hilarious game of “Chubby Bunny.”

Day 5: The next day, we all slept in. Since we were staying at the same campsite for a second night, we didn’t have to pack up the kayaks and we all set off straightaway for the glaciers. At Lawrence Glacier we encountered seals. Then we made our way to Blackstone Glacier to view two beautiful waterfalls. While stopped for lunch at a nearby beach, we saw the glacier calve right into the water! That was pretty impressive, but our dinner was even better, coconut chicken curry.

Day 6: We emerged from our tents to a bright and beautiful day. After a hard paddle, the group arrived at a lunch spot where we had a great siesta. Later, we enjoyed super-yummy Alfredo for dinner, with a side of garlic bread, and spent the evening around a warm fire.

Day 7: Our last day on the water, we got up bright and early for the final push to Whittier. We cleaned out our boats, changed into dry clothes and were ready for a victorious shower and some clean laundry. After getting all cleaned up, the group enjoyed stuffing their faces with some wonderful pizza at the Moose’s Tooth. Tired, and with full bellies, we went back to the Eagle River Campground for the night.