Sea Kayaking In Juneau

Sea kayaking Juneau

It was a scramble. There was only one 1-person kayak, and our group of three HAD to have it. That, or I would feel guilty for choosing to kayak with my sister over my boyfriend.  Luckily, the rest of the group milled around, unaware of the solo stampede toward the parallel kayaks laid out at the shore of Fritz Cove. I successfully claimed the solo kayak and a double right next to it, gripping both, one hand on each, and looking eagerly over my shoulder for Steph and Mike to join me. We strapped into life jackets, and at the slightest nod of the tour guide, we anxiously drug our hunks of warm plastic towards the water. Steph and I begin the dance of the two-person kayak; who sits in front? Who gets in first? After seconds of deliberation, Steph volunteered me for the front and set about gingerly climbing in, settling heavily into my seat, relieved not to have tipped the boat over yet. Steph pushes the nose, and me, into the water and climbs in herself. We shoved the kayak with feet and paddles inch by inch towards the water. Finally bobbing and fully in the water, we thrust our oars into the bay with complete disregard for cooperative movement. After doing a few unintentional 360 perspective tours of the Cove, we figured out how to move forward together, and meet the rest of the group. Our guide started the tour by pointing up at the trees on a nearby island. Bald eagles adorn the trees as if they grew there and were ripe and in season. Still moving, we glided past the flock, entering Fish Creek. Paddling up the shallow water stream, we struggled with our oars, trying to avoid the rocky bed and the lingering swimming salmon from the ending salmon run. The chum salmon, reaching the end of their spawn in this little creek, were swimming lazily, ready to end the spawn and their lives. Some had already started, zombie fish decomposing in the fresh water, still partly alive and still partially swimming. The smell of rotting fish was starting to fill the air, but hadn’t quite completely saturated it yet. A widened, deeper area of the stream was the perfect place to turn ourselves and head back to the Cove to have a distanced view of the retreating Mendenhall Glacier and further off, Lemon Creek Glacier. We turned our view to the glacier’s southern neighbor, Admiralty Island. Home to approximately 1 brown bear per square inch, perhaps the island was a little too close. Luckily, the bears stayed on their side of the Cove that day, only a harbor seal peaked its head from the water as we turned to laboriously row back to shore.