Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kayaking Alaska's Sitka Sound

I heard them before I could see them. A very loud boom followed by a large spray of water. Then a glimpse of their sleek gray bodies. We heard them a few more times before they were too far away to hear. I was sitting in a double kayak ( also known as a "divorce kayak" I'm told) with Mr. UR and our friends Wayne and Jo  in the Sitka Sound in Alaska. We had arrived in Sitka by ferry the day before. On a whim we called Sitka Sound Ocean Adventures to see if they had any openings on their kayak tours. We were in luck and they did. So the next morning we met our excellent guide Mitch and after a short safety demo we headed out into the sound on a misty and drizzly grey day.






We were sitting in the sound looking at all the kelp and listening to Mitch tell us his story of moving to Alaska when we heard them. They passed about 100 yards away moving along the channel as if it was a whale highway. There are a variety of whales that travel the Sitka sound - humpbacks, greys and orcas. It was hard to tell by sight what kind they were but I saw sleek grey, no black or white, so I'm guessing our first sighting were greys.











After that incredible experience, we started paddling towards our lunch spot. This time we saw the spray from their blowhole before we heard it. The whales were much further away, probably about 300 yards and the weather was getting choppier so it was tough paddling. They appeared to be playing in the water with lots of spraying going on. We did our darndest to get closer but it was rough going. But we were running out of time. Our kayak tour would be over and we needed to get to our meet-up place so we paddled on.





Sitka Sound Ocean Adventures met us at the beach with a healthy and delicious lunch. We ate and then they transported us and the kayaks by boat through the sound. We saw otters and passed by the Sitka harbor with it's cannery and fishing boats.










We paddled about 7 miles in all and I thought I wouldn't be able to lift my arms the next day but lo and behold, I could! It was, hands down, one of the best experiences ever. I would do it again in a heartbeat! Kayaking with whales - you can't beat it!


Full disclaimer: We paid for our tours with Sitka Sound Ocean Adventures - nothing was complimentary. I just really, really liked them. And I can't recommend them enough.



1. Sitka Sound Ocean Adventures provided us with kayaks, paddles, kayak skirts, wet weather clothing, lunch, transportation back to Sitka and ginormous homemade cookies to munch on while we paddled. You can find out more info here.
2.We booked our kayak tour on a whim but I would recommend advance reservations if you know that is what you want to do.
3. They operate guided tours, multi-day tours and have kayak rentals.
4. Enjoy!







I'm linking up with Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, Weekend Wanderlust at A Brit and A Southerner, Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections En Route and Friday Postcards at Walking On Travels. Go give them a look see for some travel inspiration!

12 comments:

  1. What an incredible experience- and I'm sure it's one you'll never forget. To be that close to whales! Did it scare you at all?

    Even on a gray day, Alaska is beautiful.

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    1. Alaska certainly is beautiful! I think I took more pictures there than anyplace I've been! And yes, I was a bit scared - not on the first sighting - I was more surprised than scared. But when we were rushing to them the second time I finally realized what was happening so it was scary and thrilling at the same time.

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  2. How cool! I will like to visit Alaska one day and do something adventurous like this. I will also like to do a tour focused on wildlife.

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    1. I have heard the tours to see the bears on Kodiak Island are very worthwhile! I still want to go back and do Denali and the Kenai Peninsula.

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  3. That is amazing and I am in awe of this experience. We recently saw whales, which i loved, but from a boat.

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    1. It was pretty amazing Paula! Seeing them from a boat is pretty amazing also though!

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  4. Wow, just had to click on this post - such an adventurous title. Seeing a whale from a kayak would be an awesome experience!

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    1. Thanks for clicking and visiting Jan! It was awesome!

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  5. Jill, Sitka is one of my favorite little towns in Southeast. Hearing the blowholes of a whale is an amazing experience, and I am glad it happened a couple of times. Don't you think sea kayaking is really wobbly. I have done it a couple of times, and yes, afterwards loved it, but during I get a little anxious!

    Thanks a bunch for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration!

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    1. Sitka is a very cool town - I also loved the historical park. And I just went sea kayaking in a single a few weeks ago and it was way wobbly. But still very fun!

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  6. What a fantastic to see the whales! I can understand why you'd do it again in a heartbeat :) Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

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