Experience with drift ice?

I visited my usual winter paddling spot yesterday, and was surprised to see it reduced to a smaller area than I have seen it in years. It’s a section of tidal estuary normally kept open by a combination of tidal flow, river current, harbour swells and a power plant outfall. We have just emerged from a severe cold snap however, and things froze rather rapidly, to say the least. At its present size of about 2km by 1 km, the remaining open water is heavily populated by overwintering ducks and geese, and I’m not keen on disturbing them by paddling there. They’ve got enough troubles just trying to survive.

I may be forced into the neighbouring Strait, where pack ice roams. I have access to ice reports, but have never had to use them.

Has anyone had to deal with drifting pack ice? Are forecasts trustworthy? What are the weather signs to indicate impending ice movement? Do you plan alternate landing sites?

drifting icepack
difficult paddling at best. you can’t plan on being able to get back the way you came and i’ve found weather reports to be useless. i’ve planned alternate routes on such trips but rarely have been caught out to sea when the ice shifts to inland. more often you can make land but then can’t get out the next day. kind of like waiting for the tide only different — slower.

Hey stranger…
Where the heck have you been?


We paddled in Glacier Bay
amongst the drifting ice bergs, and “berger bits”, but there was no fear of it sealing up.

When we got close to the glaciers where it was the thickest, you definately couldn’t return the same way you came, but there always seemed to be plenty of open channels.

The one thing that we were forwarned about was the fact that the larger bergs, and the packs that had larger chunks on top, could tip over in a heart beat.



why jack, i didn’t know you cared - - -
where i been? well, just got back from paddling on the gulf coast of the Everglades … from Everglades City to Flamingo. wonderful trip, lots of bird life, alligators, manatee, shark, rays and stuff. camped on the beach all the way down. i’m going again next week. beyond that, i’ve been here. not posting much but reading. how goes it with you?

How many days…
…did it take you, and how did you handle the shuttle?

We have paddled from both ends, and did a five day circuitous one out of Flamingo, and have always wanted to do the full 99 miles.

It is on our list.

Also, how much water did you take, and how much did you have left?


Bring firplace pokers or
icepics.They come in handy when trying to get through the ice or around it sometimes.

how long and how much H2O
did the trip in 9 days … no rush. stopped two days at a few spots to fish and took the inside route through Lake Ingraham to East Cape to see the white pelicans. going in i caught it at low tide and it was abit of a slog but managed to get out before the tide started running back in.

i took 7 gallons and had maybe half a gallon left at the end. i don’t cook on these trips … just boil a cup water for couscous, cereal and coffee in the a.m and some freeze dried. i drink about half a gallon a day.