I am interested in hearing more from the OP about this paddle. We were in Valdez and Stuart and did go out in powerboats so I got a bit of an idea of the topography… Whittier is rugged enough that the only road and the railroad tracks are in the same tunnel. Its on a fjord.
The importance of that is that any waves will reflect and make confusing seas even if the party is going along the shore. Two of us traveled from Marathon to Michipicoten ON in a Wenonah Odyssey which is a big deep canoe. With some areas of cliffs the reflecting waves were quite concerning even as we knelt ( not fun in a tractor seat) as they came at us from multiple directions and sometimes were 4-5 feet tall even though the seas were about 3 foot regular waves. Only our 20 years of ocean kayaking experience saved us… We had brought the canoe as it was easier to pack…
The next time we brought a sea canoe and a Greenland kayak… Much more reassuring and stable yet we had some nasty crosswinds and six foot seas broadside on the last 5 km stretch of open water.
This is one of our favorite trips… in a kayak. Having seen a little of SE AK I would not do that in an open canoe ever… And I don’t have the local knowledge of where the safety exits are ( like a beach in bad weather). It has taken a little time to build our Lake Superior knowledge and cause she is the boss we always pay heed to that Kenny Rogers song.
Know when to fold em. Know where and when to run.
8 miles open water crossing I would never have committed to without a lot of study of tide wind patterns and weather. Have done 13 miles open water crossing in summer doldrums on Long Island Sound… Bear of a burn.
To the OP know your route and allow for a flexible schedule. A fixed schedule can kill someone.
I am not anti canoe in salt water. For several years ( in the '70’s early 80’s)AMC ran trips out of Knubble Bay in Georgetown based in canoes. This was before kayaks were even around in mass production. Members were mostly Boston Whitewater so they had some skills reading currents( ocean currents can have eddies and holes just like rivers). It was more what they knew than what boats they had.
The Maine Island Trail was initially used by canoeists. I remember a map and list of trips on the back of the KBC outhouse… It has the portages indicated to avoid danger areas. Sadly those are gone.
But Maine coast is not Alaska.
You do have to vet your paddlers. I have had the unfortunate experience of a person who capsized not twenty feet from shore panic and grab the coaming of my kayak from the side… She had English as a second language and totally forgot how to understand instructions… From that time on we had everyone do a wet exit before going on a trip and this is not easy in cold water. They don’t want to do it.