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Published: June 18th 2010
Midnight Sunset Water Sports
Anchor Point, Alaska, USA
Kel had done a doozy of a job when it came to planning our trip. Unlike our previous trips where we showed up in a country and did our best to figure out what to do once we got there, this time we (and by we, I mean she) were prepared. Almost every day we had an activity planned. And it all started with our first day in Anchor Point.
Despite being totally inexperienced, we were booked for a 4 hour sea kayaking trip in the Cook Inlet off the coast from Homer. Our combined opinion of this activity will prove what wimps we are. We both had visions of us rolling the kayak in frigid Alaskan seas.
The image in our heads went like this:
Kel and I get ourselves wedged into our 2-person kayak and manage to flail ourselves into the middle of the Cook Inlet as we struggle to remain at the back of a pack of extremely fit adventure tourists. As we progress through the trip we prove both to ourselves and everyone else how completely unprepared for a sea adventure in a small plastic boat we really are.
Me and The Prize
Ninilchick, Alaska, USA
Just as we gain a little confidence in our ability to steer our tiny craft, I catch sight of a sea otter off to our right (Is that starboard or port? Who knows?) and lean just a little too fast. Kel attempts to correct for my stupid jerky move only to throw us into a total flummox. As our guide starts yelling at us, we pitch in the water like drowning rats. I, being slightly fitter, manage to right the kayak and get back in; but, as Kel gets back in I manage to, in attempt to help her, pull on her too hard and tip us again. Repeat this story multiple times and that is our nightmare. (Kel’s note: My image also contained a picture of me on top of the kayak, trying to get my legs back in, and ending up laying across it like a giant sandbag for the rest of the trip)
But, it turns out we are better suited to sea kayaking than we thought we’d be. The key here is the term sea in the phrase sea kayaking. These bigger kayaks have a slightly deeper draft and thus are more stable. That little
Straight Into The Sun
Cook Inlet, Alaska, USA
bit of added stability was all we needed. Neither of us had any difficulty getting in or ourtof the kayak, we totally kept up with the pack and, I’m proud to say, we didn’t tip over. Not even once!!
And, on top of all this amazing showing of our athleticism, we had beautiful weather for a day out on the Cook Inlet. We spent our time with two other couples and our guide Marin circumnavigating a small island on the south side of the Inlet. As the pictures will show we were surrounded by beautiful vistas, a few sea otters and some sail boats. Rare is the 70 degree day in Alaska at this time of the year! Thankfully we took advantage of it and had a blast!! What Time Of The Morning
For May 31st’s activity we were both completely shocked by what was ahead of us. I stood in the kitchen of our small cabin as Kel prepared dinner on the night of our kayaking adventure and read through the information packet for our next days adventure. With a smirk on my face I said to Kel: Mike:
“It says here that
Carrying My Lunch
Ninilchick, Alaska, USA
we need to be ready for our fishing trip at 3am tomorrow.” Kel:
“HAHAHA, that’s funny. What’s it really say?” Mike:
(frowning) “I wish I were lying but, nope, that’s exactly what it says.” Kel:
“Wow, that’s still night time, not morning. I guess we should try to go to bed even though it’s 8pm…”
Go to bed, we did…but 2:30am came REALLY early. We both stumbled from our cabin looking bleary eyed and worse for wear. We’ve looked worse and felt worse, but it hasn’t happened often. And, to make matters worse, we had to wear full rain gear and hip boots (Kel’s barely fit, great fun at 2.30am) because of a) rain, b) possible river fording and c) 38 degree weather. That’s right, the temp had dropped from a 70 degree high the day before to a 38 degree low. Not cool…or, rather, VERY cool.
What was all this fuss about, you ask? King Salmon fishing in the nearby Ninilchick (pronounced neh-NILL-chick) river. Yup, we got up in the middle of the night to do something neither of us ever would have thought about
Ninilchick, Alaska, USA
doing. Despite Kel’s upbringing on the coasts of Massachusetts, neither of us considers ourselves the least bit inclined to angling. But, when in Rome, right?
Well, thanks to our early departure I can tell you that the sun rises in Ninilchick, Alaska in late May at about 3:45am. But, thanks to the early time, there was no one else on the river except our small group of 8 - 6 fisher-people and two guides, Tyler and Gary. The lack of other people on the river led to a successful morning with three fish caught by the group.
Basically, salmon fishing on a river is a modified version of fly-fishing. Using short fly rods/reels we cast salmon roe into the stream and let the current carry it from up-river to down-river. Once our bait reached a significant distance down-stream, we reeled in and cast again. The salmon are not interested in feeding as they head upstream to spawn. Instead they attack the bait because, since it’s fish eggs, they wish to remove it from the river and thus give their own eggs a better chance of survival. It’s kind of a survival of the fittest idea . . .
Ninilchick, Alaska, USA
until we catch one .
I had the big disappointment of the day as I managed to snag what appeared to be the largest fish of the day but, because I got excited, I lost it. In my excitement I pulled too hard on the rod and snapped the line. You could visually see Gary the guide’s disappointment as my line went slack. But, thankfully, I did catch a medium sized (for this time of year and size of the stream) fish that weighed about 10 pounds. Kel didn’t have any luck but walked away feeling happy with the experience. (Kel’s note: At that point, I was most happy to head back to a hot shower and warm blanket. But I did love watching Mike reel in the fish and felt quite proud of my outdoorsy-ness fording streams in my hip boots. I toyed with some fish, but the fish and I parted ways amicably.)
The weirdest part of the whole day was that we got six hours of fishing in, took the 10-pounder to the fish-processing place and returned to the cabin all before 9:30am. Of course, when we returned we both ate a little and then
Homer, Alaska, USA
passed out asleep until the afternoon. As you can imagine, when we awoke it felt like a completely different day. Very disorienting!
Well, that’s all for now. Keep on reading as we have a couple of more entries to go for Alaska. If you’re interested in keeping in touch with us for the future, be sure to sign up for our blog by clicking on this link: Subscribe
Also, make sure to check out the pictures on the second page!!
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