Frequently Asked Questions
- What should I wear?
When joining one of our paddling tours – whether it’s right in the bay or further out – you’ll want to come prepared. Some days are warm and sunny, and you’ll want to be in a short-sleeved shirt and maybe take a dip! However we are in a coastal rainforest, so the possibility of rain is always there, and we paddle rain or shine. No matter what, you’ll want to avoid cotton and jeans. Once these get wet, whether on a hot day or a cold and stormy one, they will stay wet and make you cold. Synthetics are ideal: polypro, capilene, fleece, etc.
Clothing that wicks away sweat, insulates, and dries quickly is what you’re looking for. Over everything else, rain gear is always an essential item. It’s better to have it and not need it, than be without! Rain pants and a good rain jacket are a MUST. Hats and sunscreen are good on hot days and gloves are nice on colder days.
As for your feet, that’s up to you. Our guides will do their best to keep your feet dry while getting in and out of the kayaks, but nothing is a guarantee, and your feet certainly might get wet. Hiking boots or sturdy sneakers with warm wool socks are a good option, knowing you may not stay totally dry, but you’ll be warm.
- Do I need rain gear?
We require rain gear (jacket & pants) for all of our full day tours, and highly suggest at least a rain jacket for our half day tours. We operate in a coastal temperate rainforest, so we see a number of drizzly days and we want to be sure our guests stay warm and dry.
We rent high quality rain gear for just $10 per piece and you can learn more about Why we rent rain gear via the link!
- Will I get wet?
There is a chance you may get wet while kayaking, it is a water sport after all! The most common scenarios are that your feet may get a bit wet on launching or landing (they will definitely get wet on launching / landing on multi-day trips using fiberglass boats), and that your sleeves may get a bit wet from drips off the paddle. Otherwise, rain is the most likely factor for getting wet, or possibly splashing if it’s a windy or choppy day. Please come prepared with an extra layer or two, in case you do get a bit wet or cold. Just remember synthetic layers are the best way to keep warm if you’re wet – unlike cotton or jeans, which will make you cold.
- Will I see wildlife?
Although, as with any natural setting, nothing is guaranteed, the chances of seeing wildlife on our tours are very good. Bald eagles, marbled murrelets, pigeon guillemonts, and other sea birds are seen most days, with very few exceptions. On day trips that stay in Resurrection Bay, there are chances of seeing sea otters, seals, sea lions, puffins, salmon, harbor porpoises, and other various marine creatures. Our trips that take you further out into the fjords offer the opportunity of spotting orcas, humpbacks, sea lions, and puffins along the way. Once in the fjords, you are away from the boat traffic and constant human presence, so the likelihood of seeing wildlife increases dramatically. Black bears are frequently spotted in both Aialik Bay and Northwestern.
- Do I need experience?
No experience is necessary to go out on our trips. We have everyone paddle double kayaks, which are much more stable than singles and also allow two people to work together to make the boat move. They are decked sea kayaks, and you’ll be wearing a PFD and a spray skirt at all times while on water. Our kayaks have rudders, so the person sitting in the back will steer the boat using their feet. Normally, the guide will paddle a single kayak, and clients will all be in doubles. If we have an odd number of people on the trip, though, then the guide may ride in the back of one of the doubles.
- Do I need to be fit?
Paddling is a sport, and it does involve a bit of exercise. Nothing will make the boat move except for you. This is important to understand, but it’s also necessary to know that it’s relatively easy. It is very rare that the wind is blowing too hard to take a trip out, but if we don’t think you can handle it, we won’t go. Most days are quite calm, with flat water and easy paddling. We will take our time and explore the coastline while discussing the natural history of the area and the wildlife we encounter. These trips are not a race or a fitness contest; they are an exploration of the Alaskan wilderness that anyone can take part in. We keep our groups close together on the water and try to assign paddling partners so that all boats will move at a similar pace.
- Will I tip or fall into the water?
It is very rare that a boat will capsize – and usually when it does, it’s because people are joking around and acting inappropriately. Is it possible? Yes. Is it usually preventable? Yes. Does it happen often? No. The boats we use are very stable, and you will receive basic kayak instruction before getting on the water. And you do not need to be a swimmer. Everyone wears PFDs (personal floatation devices… aka life jackets). If your boat should tip, your PFD will keep you afloat, and your guide is fully trained to get you back into your boat quickly.
- Can I bring a camera?
Of course! There are so many photo opportunities in Ressurection Bay and Kenai Fjords, it would be a shame to miss them. Clearly, it is a concern to keep your camera dry and protected. We will provide a 10 L day trip dry bag for your camera and you can strap it to the deck of the boat. This way, you can access your camera as you paddle, but when you’re not using it, it will be safe and dry. It is also a good idea to bring disposable waterproof cameras. Then you have no concerns at all during the trip.
- What is the weather like?
The weather in Seward varies a lot. We are in the heart of a coastal rainforest, so cool days and steady drizzle come our way quite frequently. In the summer months it is often in the low 50s – low 60s and overcast. It is rare for the rain to really downpour, and usually the drizzly days provide calmer waters and better wildlife viewing. We can have days in a row with blue skies and warm temperatures as well. When we’re in t-shirts, nothing feels better than a dip in the fjord! However, we often see more wind when it’s sunny out, which makes paddling more difficult.
We will take trips out in all weather, as long as the conditions are safe. Please be prepared for cold and rain during your trip to Seward. Many people watch the online weather forecast carefully, and try to plan their trip around it – but honestly, that forecast is often wrong, and your best bet is to just get out and enjoy the area rain or shine!
- Should I tip my guide?
Our guides work in the industry because they love being outdoors, teaching others, and meeting people like you. None of us are in this line of work for the money, but tips can go a long way towards making guiding a feasible long-term career choice. It is an industry standard to trip your guide if you feel they did a good job providing an enjoyable and informative trip.
There are many schools of thought on how much to tip, but a common estimate is between 10% and 20% of the trip cost, like waitstaff in a restaurant. As in any service industry, your tip should be based on the service you feel you received. Please keep this in mind when the time comes. Gratuity is always appreciated!
- Can I book as a solo traveler?
We welcome solo travelers and are happy to add you to any of our Group Tours. Because we require a minimum of two people for these trips to run, we will need to add you to a trip that we already have on the calendar. Give us a call or send us an email with your desired tour and dates available, and we will do our best to match you up with a group going out.
- Can I bring a drone?
No, we do not allow drones on any of our tours. Drones have been proven to disrupt marine mammals, such as harbor seals and whales, and alter their behavior. This is costly to these animals from a resource standpoint, because every time we change their course or behavior, they have to work harder to get where their going, feed themselves, or care for their young. We prefer to observe the incredible wildlife of this area without altering their natural actions. Disrupting these animals in such a way can be considered a ‘take’ under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a regulation in place to protect these fragile species.
Drones are prohibited in Kenai Fjords National Park. We paddle in other protected areas where drones are also not allowed. In addition to the possible harm to the local wildlife, drones can be disruptive to other visitors and paddlers looking to enjoy this peaceful place. Instead, we encourage you to soak up the solitude and enjoy the wilderness.