Our most popular multi-day trip includes two days of paddling near glaciers, looking for wildlife, and camping at our exclusive campsite in Aialik Bay!
Booking: Call to book only
Boat-based Multi-Day Kayak Adventure in Kenai Fjords National Park
Check out the video to learn more about our Mothership Trips!
We’ve partnered up with local captains Mike Brittain and John Maniscalco to put together our most plush multi-day adventure package aboard the vessels: DORA and STARR. Our Mothership trips allow you to move around the fjords with great flexibility. Paddle where the conditions are best each day, while enjoying the comforts of living on board the boat. Our captains won’t just zoom from one location to the next like most water taxis, but will take you along the coastline and share the unique and awe-inspiring highlights along the way. In addition to your captain, you’ll be accompanied by your kayak guide, and the two will team up to share great Alaskan stories and local information. This trip by far offers the greatest versatility and flexibility to travel the fjords at the highest level of comfort. A hot shower, flush toilet, warm beds, and a comfortable living/dining area bring the comforts of home to your trip.
Mike Brittain came up the Alaska Highway on his Triumph Bonneville motorcycle for a two-week stay – in 1970. Alaska has been his home ever since, and the Kenai Fjords have been his backyard beginning in 1975. A Seward resident since 1982, and a licensed captain since 1987, Mike has been a sailor (he lived on his 35′ wooden ketch for 8 years in Seward), tugboat captain, killer whale researcher, tour boat captain, commercial diver, and kayaker.
He is a trained naturalist, an avid environmentalist, and most of all: a lover of Alaska. He has worked Alaskan waters from Southeast to the Bering Sea in both summer and winter. Experienced, personable, knowledgeable, and conscientious, Mike is certainly one of the most experienced mariners in the Kenai Fjords area, and has been sailing the park since before it was a park.
Dr. John Maniscalco first came to Alaska with the U.S. Coast Guard in 1985 and learned to operate a variety of vessels. After leaving the Coast Guard, he entered academia earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Master of Science in Fisheries, and a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the University of Alaska. John’s research studies have focused on seabird and marine mammal ecology along the northern Gulf of Alaska coast. He has been working as a Research Associate/Scientist at the Alaska SeaLife Center since the summer of 2000 where he continues studying the behavior and population dynamics of Steller sea lions and nesting seabirds. John has been operating vessels in the Kenai Fjords region since 1999. He greatly enjoys his continuing work as part-time captain and naturalist for the tourist industry while sharing his passion and vast knowledge of Alaskan marine fauna with visitors from around the world.
Built of steel, the Starr was constructed in Portland, Oregon and launched in 1988. Designed for travel to Alaska with a fully enclosed pilothouse as well as outside helms, she is well suited for traveling in any weather. Sixty-two feet in length overall and seventeen feet wide, the Starr has hosted months-long vacations in Southeast Alaska for her original owners, and is now being offered to carry adventurous sea kayakers into the wilds of South Central Alaska. Strong, reliable, and comfortable, you’ll live on the Starr during your excursion into Kenai Fjords National Park. The Starr features such amenities as a full galley, washer/dryer, dedicated shower, two heads (bathrooms), and a huge driftwood-paneled main saloon for relaxing and dining. She also carries an inflatable dinghy for both shore excursions as well as to help expedite entrance/exit to your kayak.
Though constructed in Tacoma, WA, the Dora is truly Alaskan tough. Built in 1990 for the lower Cook Inlet salmon fishery, she has sailed Alaskan waters as a commercial gillnetter from Cook Inlet to Bristol Bay and the Shumagin Islands. Forty-five feet in length and fourteen feet wide, she has served most recently as a research boat for killer whale scientists in the Aleutians and the Pribilof Islands and is now being offered to carry adventurous kayakers into Kenai Fjords National Park. A real Alaskan workboat, the Dora is not luxurious, but she is strong, and comfortable. She has a huge back deck, a commodious flybridge, walk-around decks, twin-engine reliability, and ample interior space for passengers and crew. A 12.5′ rigid hull inflatable with a 30 hp engine complements the Dora for shore excursions or short cruises from the mothership.
We offer Mothership trips to Aialik Bay and Northwestern Fjord. These two fjords in Kenai Fjords National Park are relatively close to Seward, and offer the chance to experience incredible glaciers and wildlife. If you’re looking for a 3 or 4-day trip, then we will explore within Aialik Bay. On a 5 or 6 day trip, we will visit the highlights of both Aialik and Northwestern. Just let us know your interests, adventure goals, and timeframe, and we’ll work together to plan the perfect trip!
Our Mothership trips are priced according to the number of people on the trip, and we are happy to combine smaller groups to bring everyone’s per person price down. We will only combine groups of adults (ages 14+).
If you’re traveling with kids under the age of 14, we will make your trip a private family trip. There will be no extra cost for a private family trip — we are excited to share this place with young explorers, and we recognize traveling with kids involves different challenges.
We always cap our trips at 6 people, to provide the best possible guest experience while minimizing our impacts.
All prices listed are per person and exclude tax and gratuity.
More Tour Info
We will host a mandatory pre-trip meeting the night before the trip at 7 pm at our kayak shop in downtown Seward. This is a great opportunity to meet your guide and other guests on the tour, discuss bear & ice safety, go over the itinerary + weather, and get any last minute questions answered. We will meet the following morning at 6:45 am at the kayak shop, then head to the small boat harbor to meet the captain and Mothership vessel.
We will have about 5-7 hours of cruising the coastline looking out for wildlife on our way out to either Aialik Bay or Northwestern Fjord. We often encounter whales, sea lions, mountain goats, sea otters, and other wildlife throughout the journey. Learn all about the area, the wildlife you see, and hear great Alaskan stories while you pass the day with people filled with local knowledge and experience.
As for the exact itinerary for the trip, we will head to highlights throughout Aialik and/or Northwestern and paddle wherever the conditions are best! Typically we go for 2 or 3 paddles throughout the day, which range in timing and distances based on the conditions and group’s adventure goals! This tour allows for an incredibly flexible & customizable itinerary.
On the final day, we will squeeze one last morning paddle in before heading back to Seward. We typically pull into the small boat harbor around 4 – 5pm.
- Wildlife Tour
- Warm, Healthy, Made from Scratch Meals
- Snacks, Coffee and Hot Drinks
- High Quality Rain Gear (if needed)
- Transportation From Downtown Office
- All Kayaking Gear
- Personal Floatation Device
- Spray Skirt
- Neoprene Mitts
- 10 Liter Dry Bag
- Stable Double Kayak & Paddle
For these trips, we ask you to wear synthetic layers of clothing – because cotton and jeans get really cold if they get wet. We also ask that you bring a raincoat and rain pants, since this is a coastal rainforest and we see lots of rainy days. We have rain gear at our shop to loan out as well, should you need it.
For this tour we will provide you with rubber boots to wear while kayaking and ask you bring footwear for the Mothership vessel that will keep you warm and that you’re comfortable walking in, running shoes and hiking boots are good options.
We also provide pogies (neoprene mitts for your hands while kayaking) which will keep your hands warm and comfortable while you’re out there. You’ll want to be sure to have your own reusable (non-disposable) water bottle, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
You will receive a trip-specific packing list upon booking, which will go into great detail about what else to bring. Keep an eye out for it in your confirmation email!
We book our Mothership trips as dates are requested and confirmed. We will fill out our calendar according to the inquiries and bookings that come in, so let us know what your available date range is and we’ll give you an idea of our Mothership availability.We are happy to coordinate multiple parties to try to save costs for everyone, and we do this often. However, we don’t typically combine more than 2 separate groups on a Mothership because the cabins aboard both vessels sleep 2 people (in one) and 4 people (in the second). We like to keep at least a bit of privacy by not asking folks to share a sleeping area with another group. For example, if you have a party of 2 and your dates align with another group of 2, we would cap that trip at 4 (and everyone will pay the 4-person price), but if we have a group with 3-4 people who want to share the vessel then we’d be happy to go up to 6 people max.In order to book the dates you’d like, you may have to pay a deposit based on the number of people in your party, and we will reduce the remaining balance due if we are able to add others to your trip. You remaining balance is not due until you arrive for the trip, so we can adjust your per person rates based on the number of people on the trip.If you’d prefer to keep the trip private rather than coordinate with another party, you will simply pay the per person rate based on your group. We understand that everyone’s adventure goals are different, whether that’s a quiet getaway or an opportunity to meet like-minded paddlers, and we’re happy to accommodate to the best of our ability.Note: In 2020, we only ran private Mothership Trips due to COVID-19. We are currently only booking Mothership trips for private groups in 2021, based on the continued threat of infection. However, our policies will adapt and we will communicate any changes moving forward.
With thoughtful consideration, we have revised our cancellation policies for 2021. The policies below reflect our dedication to providing a stress-free booking, planning, and travel experience for our guests. Our revised policies are flexible and forgiving, so you can book with confidence.
Because our Mothership Trips require more advanced planning / logistics and often sell out 6+ mother in advance, we make a significant investment when we take a booking, including turning away many other potential guests. It is nearly impossible for us to fill last minute cancelations. For this reason our Mothership cancelation policy is as follows:
At the time of booking, a 50% deposit is required to secure your Mothership Trip. For all Mothership trips, guests will receive a full refund for cancellations made prior to April 1, 2021. After April 1, guests will receive a 90% refund for all cancellations made at least 1 month prior to your trip date. Within 1 month of your trip date, guests will receive a 50% refund for all cancellations made at least 2 weeks prior to your trip date. Any cancellations made within 2 weeks of your trip date will incur full charges.
Mothership trips involve more logistics and limited availability, so while our Mothership refund policy is generous, it reflects these limitations.
We completed our 2020 season and are happy to share that, with strict COVID-19 protocols in place, we had a successful summer. We were able to share this area with hundreds of people, and no known cases of COVID-19 were contracted on our trips. We are taking what we learned in 2020 and preparing for another meaningful, inspiring season in 2021.
While our hope for 2021, is to operate our trips in the same way we did pre-COVID-19, we have careful plans to address the continued public health risks posed by the virus. We will follow scientific expertise and industry standards for hygiene and cleanliness, encourage the use of cautious practices among our staff and guests, and communicate all changes to our policies as we continue to adapt.
With 100% of our guides and staff returning in 2021, we are set up to share this place in a meaningful way with purposeful Covid-19 mitigation policies. Please take just a few minutes and check out our Travel Updates & Covid Response Page.