Hey I am fairly new to paddling. I’ve done some river trips and found that I really enjoy experiencing the water and nature from a kayak. I’ve decided to plan a rather adventurous trip in the next five years. The goal is to do the Revillagigedo Island Marine Route in Alaska. It’s a 150 mile plus trip. If that goes well I would like to do more in the inner passage. The problem I am having with this is I can look at kayaks all day and not know if what I am looking at is right for me. I am not planning this to be very soon. I intend to take rolling classes and do some longer distance kayaking closer to home as well before undertaking this. For now though I need help in researching and learning what kayaks would suit me for a trip like this. Anyone have any enlightening info for me? Or suggestions in planning a trip like this. It will be my first big adventure so to speak. 20+ days straight. I am excited but also cautious. I want to learn as much as I can beforehand.
Something you might want to consider
if you have never been to Alaska, is prior to your planned trip taking a guided trip up there.
My wife and I did that twice before we went on our own, and in that way you can learn a bit about the weather, and the dangers that you might encounter, which will get you prepaired for your trip which sounds awesome.
Paddlers here can suggest kayaks if you give a few more specifics, such as weight and height. For instance we do long camping trips, and my wife who is 5’-2" and 112 pounds does perfect in her QCC 10X, where as I would need a shoe horn to get into it. She would be lost in my QCC-700.
Good luck and enjoy the planning.
For salt water I would think big, like 17 feet or more. A double should be in the 20 foot range. You need seaworthiness, carrying capacity and speed for crossiings. A longer hull is better able to span the troughs between waves. You will have to carry a lot of gear and sometimes freshwater in SE Alaska.
You’ll love Alaska.
Classes are a great idea. Make sure they teach self rescue.
To help prepare buy a useed boat join a local club and start doing trips with them. Work up your distance and days on the water, while learning what boats and gear work for you.
Be thinking about partners for the trip. Solo trips are good but I’ve found I enjoy trips of more than a couple days more with a few close friends, and it’s far safer.
Thank you for the advice. I will have at least one partner for this trip and we are hoping to get a small group together. We figure having more than two would help with safety as well as fun
Consider finding someone
experienced in trips of the type you are interested in and see if he/she will mentor you and bring you along. Don’t underestimate the level or skill and experience needed to do a trip like you are planning safely and successfully. Be aware that there may be issues that you are not yet able to perceive because you don’t have the experience needed to recognize the issue. Get the skill and the experience and then go for it.
NOLS does a great job in Alaska
And has a great expedition sea kayak program that's not very well known. First rate gear and boats, amazing with logistics, handles all the food, and good instructors. They've been sea kayaking in Alaska since the 70's. Would be a good primer for longer trips...
I’m not familiar with that area but we did Kenai this past summer (video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwObDXYNR9U). The “beaches” were frequently rocks so a plastic boat makes life a little easier. Some things were peculiar to the area (e.g. safe distance from a glacier or berg) so I’d recommend using a guide for your first trip.
I plan on doing roughly the same trip
I’m very seriously looking a doing roughly the same trip in hopefully 2014. I was hoping to go from the San Juan islands all the way up past Juneau, or at least some section of the inner passage.
I’ve been looking at putting together a small group because of safety in numbers, but no luck so far.
If you go I’d be interested.