Saturday, September 22, 2018

A Kayak Trip Across the Bay

Little Tutka Bay from Rick and Dorla's cozy spot

I've been out kayaking before in Halibut Cove and on Hidden Lake, but never spent a ton of time on the water. Last spring I was attending a silent auction and won a bid for a full day kayak trip with A Seaside Adventure.  It did indeed end up being an adventure!

As a single person, I was curious who the rest of the group would be.  It ended up being a family from the East Coast with two adult daughters and one of those daughter's husband who were doing a family vacation to Alaska. Ma and Pa were in the 60's and 70's, and Pa was hard of hearing and not wearing his hearing aids. We discovered each other on the dock as our water taxi was late.  They were panicking, pacing up and down the docks, worried they would miss their boat. Once we started talking, I realized it was likely they were more nervous about the kayak trip than missing their boat. Neither Ma nor Pa had ever kayaked before in their life, and I admired their willingness to try it--on the ocean in Alaska no less.

Turns out the water taxi was late because the waves on Kachemak Bay were impressive that day. The ride over turned into a prayer not to get sick all over the boat as we were up and down and up and down all the way over. Once we got behind the Herring Islands, the way was smoother.

I don't know if every trip is as epic to set up, but between getting to Rick and Dorla's spot in Little Tutka Bay late and then gearing up, getting lessons on kayaking and actually getting the kayaks in the water, it was almost noon. I was just along for the ride and not set on making incredible progress so I just enjoyed getting to know the family I was spending the day with.

Pictures are worth a thousand words, so I'll let the pictures (with captions!) demonstrate the day.

Getting geared up, seats adjusted, basic stroke lessons

Slightly choppy waters even in the protected area behind the Herring Islands.
We were all in double kayaks; the person in back got to steer.

Little islands, mountains, water and the sky--enjoying Little Tutka Bay

Wildlife viewings on this day were eagles and sea otters

Putting in at a quiet cove for lunch

Enjoying the scenery from our lunch spot

With such large tide differentials in the area, it is important to know whether the tide is coming in or going out so the kayaks are left in a safe spot

Rick and his assistant preparing a lunch of salmon and wild greens we picked minutes before tossing them in the soup (the salmon, however, we did not catch!)

Things got interesting after lunch. We were paddling back towards our starting place and there were waves coming in and Rick noticed some rip tides in the area we would need to paddle. As he said, if all the folks were young and experienced paddlers, he likely would have had us push on, but Ma and Pa were struggling as it was so Rick decided to head back to our lunch spot. He called a friend who lived next door to him in Tutka to come and get us, and he left the kayaks there to come back and retrieve them later.

The water taxi was 30 minutes late picking us up, but the ride back was uneventful and smoother than the ride out that morning.  We'd kayaked maybe 2 hours out of the whole day. I heard that other kayak tour places cancelled completely that day, so we were lucky to get that much in.

Even for that little bit being out there, it is an experience that gave me confidence on the water. And it was fun getting to know some new people for a day too!
And back to Homer...a cruise ship was in the harbor

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