Paddling in Alaska

My paddling partner and I are starting to plan this summer’s trip. Last year was central coast BC, this year we’re heading to Alaska. We haven’t decided where yet and I know many on this board have been there or live there now.

Here are what our needs are:

-Not more than 1 day travel before we launch (we only have about 3 weeks total).

-Able to rent decent kayaks, preferably NDKs.

-Remote enough that if we run into another paddler or trekker we’ll all be pleasantly surprised.

Homer seems like a good starting point, then maybe ferrying out. Kodiak Island is mighty tempting.

Thanks for any and all opinions.


homer, alaska
contact tom pogsen at alaska kayak school.


– Last Updated: Jan-14-07 8:07 PM EST –

be the only one with NDKs. Most kayak outfitters up there don't carry spendy boats for rent. Tom is your best bet. As far as crowds, no worries. You'll be lucky if you run into any paddlers. Kodiak? You definetly won't see anyone while paddling, except bears and Coasties.

3rd on Tom P
if Homer is your destination…tom is great.

fwiw i will be a keynote speaker at the Homer kayak fest in May. I try and get to Homer every year. this is 3rd. I always hang with Tom.

Kodiak is ex$pensive.


Thanks for the help
I sent him an email.


Live here…
Homer, for that brand of Kayak. expect to see people in Katchemak Bay. Last time I checked on renting kayaks in Kodiak, no one would rent one without a guided trip. Whittier is a good place to launch out of,

Valdez is a little longer trip to get to, and you would want to be dropped off OUT of Valdez and not be in the tanker lane.

email me if you would like to have answers to specific questions

have fun !!


Tom’s really great
Thanks for recommending him. We spoke for over 30 minutes last night.

So far we’re considering:

Kenai Fjords

Circumnav of Revilla I.

Baranoff Island (can’t ignore Salty’s advice)

Prince William Sound

Kodiak Island (most scary option)

Any other ideas?


Thanks Donna,
When we get our plans firmed up a bit I’ll email you.


Circumnav of Revi Island
Not sure I’d recommend this, as frankly a lot of the eastern part of the passage is kinda mundane. Southern section and Misty Fjords are superb, as is the coastline to the south from the southern entrance. Sitka to Craig Alaska is a great trip with some great coastal exposure. I also very much like the Icy Straits area, Glacier Bay, Hoonah, etc. So much to see…hard to mess up, but keep in mind camping in SE can be scarce as so much of the coastline is rocky and or heavily overgrown right to the tide line. How bout a trip down the outside of Vancouver Island? That’s a tremendous journey!

Hi Salty
I knew you’d weigh in, thanks!

That’s good to know about Revilla I. I’ve been drooling over the charts and photos online of Misty Fjords, but Kenai Fjords look pretty amazing, too and my guess is they’re less visited. Have you been in that area?

Dan just ordered books, and I’m reviewing all the charts online (it’s a great advantage to be going somewhere in the US and having free charts!!). We’ve got alot of homework to do before we make up our minds.

The outer coast of Vancouver is a definite maybe, but not this year. And we both have a hankering for Scotland.

You know that tee shirt, ‘too much water, too little time?’

It’s great to hear from you again.


good to hear from you and see you planning another adventure. I have not been to Kenai Fjords yet, so cannot comment on that. Scotland is cool. Years back took the old mans ashes home and met all the family. Nice place…did some ice climbing as it was February. Terrible food! Not too impressed with the suds either, but all in all a very cool place. Highlands are pretty. Edinburgh was a blast…drank at a few pubs that I’m sure my dad did when he attended university there. I’ve seen the paddling footage and it looks a great place, but gosh for my buck I’d have to go to Greenland or Iceland. West coast Vancouver Island is one of my favorite places. Port Alberni to Kyuquot is one amazing stretch. Take care, and happy travels!!

I look forward to hearing from you. I really love my state and I enjoy sharing it with others.

Port Hardy to Kyuquot
Sorry, but the other would also be great!

Kodiak Island…
I’ve been to Kodiak a couple of times. It’s a beautiful place and I like it best compared to my limited experience on the Alaska mainland. In the summer, there are a lot of tourists on the Alaska mainland. Kodiak doesn’t feel like a tourist destination. As has already been pointed out, you cannot rent a kayak there without taking a guided trip. If you can access the Coast Guard recreational facilities (in the military, retired military, possibly a government employee), you may be able to rent kayaks there. If not, you could take kayaks on the ferry from Seward or Homer (I think) or bring a foldable or inflatable. There are also places to buy kayaks on Kodiak. The climate at Kodiak is warmer and drier compared to the Kenai penninsula. When I was there in mid August 2004, the water temp was about 58 deg f at Kodiak and 41 deg f at Seward (Resurrection Bay). The temp was even colder in the Kenai Fjiords near the tidewater glaciers. I took a one day cruise from Seward out to Aialik glacier in Kenai Fjiords and it was beautiful but very wet and cold. There were 12ft seas when I went so that added to my enjoyment of the trip. I can’t imagine how scary/dangerous that would have been in a kayak though. If you are looking at taking an extended kayaking trip at Kodiak checkout Shuyak Island. It is considered one of the jewels of the Alaska State Parks System. I haven’t been there but it sure looks like a magnificent place to explore:

Regarding cost, I think Kodiak is a bargain compared to Alaska in general. In my opinion, Anchorage is one of the most expensive places to stay in Alaska. At Kodiak my lodging rate was about $75/night in the summer. Restaurants can be more expensive but not bad. There is also a WalMart on Kodiak as well as a really nice Safeway supermarket.

Have fun!

great info, thanks
I cut and pasted the whole post and sent it on to my paddling partner. Puts Kodiak back in the picture. Tom in Homer said we could put kayaks on the ferry to Homer as long as we travel with them.


Thanks Salty
We went back and forth for a long time about whether to return to BC or to go to Alaska (or elsewhere). As much as we loved BC, we’re being drawn by the glaciers and fjords of Alaska. I must admit that having free online charts to view is a big bonus.

I think next year we may actually do something tropical if we can work out the logistics.


You guys are awesome
actually out there doing it!!! Planning trips is great fun. Ya know, some years back i did a film gig paddling in Glacier Bay. Parke Service has the place pretty regulated, but wow, what a cool place! I would return there. Great camping and incredible scenery.

Kenai Fjords
I went to Kenai Fjords last summer. You can see the pictures online at

There were six of us, and we spent 10 days in Northwestern Fjord. We flew into Anchorage, took the train down to Seward, then took a boat about 4-hours out to Northwestern.

It rained the entire 10 days, but we had a great time. I’m the one in the red feathercraft.

Feel free to email me if you want more details about the trip - staging, etc.


Thanks Paula! Just beautiful! :slight_smile:
Though life has so far conspired to delay my plans, I still intend to someday live in the Seward area; primarily so that I’ll have access to that kind of paddling…and such beautiful surroundings to wake up to every day, paddling or not.

My walls are covered with charts from Vancouver to Seward, and they keep my dreams of Inside Passage/Alaska alive and well. At least I know that by the time I finally make the move, I’ll know these charts as well as I know the foredeck of my kayaks! (and I intend to put all of them to good use). :slight_smile:


fantastic photos
Thanks Paula! Looks like you have an amazing trip and the photos are so beautiful. I’ll email you backchannel more info when we narrow the choices.