[Alaska] Day 4: Kayaking by Aialik Glacier
After a few days of hiking, we were finally starting the different planned activities we booked before the trip. First up: Kayaking by Aialik Glacier. I split up with Melissa and Aly because the kayaking trip was pretty expensive so they opted in going dog sledding instead. I have read so many great things about this trip and when will I ever get the chance to kayak next to a glacier? Also, it’s summer time so I wouldn’t even be able to sled on snow, so I wouldn't get the full experience of dog sledding. I can save that for when I go to see the northern lights (hint: this will hopefully be soon!). The other draw to the trip was that we were also going on a boat for about 2-3 hours there and back so this was the perfect time to see wildlife and be on the beautiful waters of Alaska.
My trip was supposed to meet at 7:15am but they others didn’t have theirs until 11 so they woke up early and dropped me off. My guide was Sid and he was pretty young, in his early/mid twenties. He told me that he has been guiding for awhile and that each season he moves to a different city to do different types of guides, which is pretty cool! Such a good way to travel and explore new places. Our group had 6 people but there were about 3 other groups going with us on the boat. Everyone on the crew were amazing! They were all so friendly and knowledgeable about everything you would want to know regarding Alaska, wildlife, glaciers, kayaking, etc.
They provided us with hot drinks (tea and coffee) as well as muffins on the boat to get us started. Then off we went! The boat was a smaller one, fitting about 35 or so people. Being on the water felt amazing! The only problem was that since we were going so fast, it was freezing! I pulled out all the stops. I put on my extra jacket, so I had 3 layers on, gloves, and my beanie. Also, I didn't want to sit instead so I stood out in the war zone the entire time I basically did that to myself. We saw a ton of orcas whales and dolphins! The crew would slow down for us to take pictures and watch them swim through the water.
Did you know that there are two types of orcas? There is one that only eats meat and the other only eats algae. Although they are right now categorized as one species, they are starting to develop such different characteristics that they will eventually be two different species.
We also saw puffins, sea otters, seals, and someone said they saw a humpback whale but I didn’t see it so I’m skeptical. Haha. Anyway, there are also a ton of birds!
Did you know that this area by Resurrection Bay and near the Harding Ice Field is home to 80% of all birds in North America
It took about 2-3 hours to get to Aialik Bay where we were kayaking. The kayaks that they had were probably the most sturdy and quality ones I have been on! We even did a kayaking lesson beforehand and no other places I’ve done it at have done that. Then we were off! From the bay to the glacier is about 3 miles. Along the way Sid was telling us a lot of interesting facts about the bay, glaciers in general, and the area that we were kayaking in. He was really knowledgeable!
Did you know that the reason why glaciers are blue is because they are packed so tight that the only light ray that can escape is blue?
Man, Aialik Glacier is a beaut! We got really close up to the glacier and it’s massive! It’s just one of the glaciers floating into the Harding Ice Field. We saw a ton of ice chunks fall off and once it hit the water, it made a loud thunder like sound. It was so peaceful just floating in the water for awhile. Then on our way back, we took a different route to see another side of the bay. We even saw a ton of jelly fishes! This area was absolutely breathtaking. We also lucked out that the day we went it was a beautiful sunny blue sky. They said that the days before were cloudy and rained a ton.
Back on the beach, we were given sandwiches and snacks to enjoy. THEN we were joined by a little friend… a black bear! At first he was just ruffling in the grass area behind us so I couldn’t really get a glimpse of him and we all eventually just gave up. But all of a sudden he came out and bared himself to us. He was only about 15 feet or so away from us. He didn’t have a care in the world that we were all there. He minded his own business, which is how all bears should act. They shouldn't think of humans has preys or be scared by us. We should be able to live simultaneously with them without harm to either party.
Did you know are actually amazing swimmers? Even though they are big animals, they are able to get across the water pretty quickly. Also grizzlies like to have their prey rot a little before eating so once they catch something, they would leave it for awhile and come back. Therefore, if you do encounter a grizzly you should play dead. However, for black bears, they tend to eat you right away.
Around 4pm, we made our way back on the boat and across the bay. Like going there, I bundled up and stood on the deck to be the first to catch any wildlife. But the only problem I had was being in a moving vehicle, kayaking for a few hours, the breeze in my face all meant I was getting extremely sleepy. I was nodding off as I stood out there so maybe that didn’t really help me much. We saw more puffins, sea otters, and whales on the way back. We got back around 6pm.
However, when I finally had signal I got a text from the other two that they were going kayaking from 6-8, leaving me alone in Seward for 2 hours with nothing to do. So what do I do? I go get a drink lol of course what else? I went to a coffee shop that also sold wine (great idea by the way, more coffee shops should do this). They had house wine for $7 and the cup was very filled! It was about 3 glasses for $7 so a really good deal. They finally came back and we all felt extremely dirty and itchy so I hit up our new friend from the bar and used his shower. Lol I know what were we thinking…? But we wanted to be clean! Then after, the rest of history or too funny to text publically. Oh man what a night, it was one for the books.