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This video represents about 20 or so hours of video shot during three kayaking adventures in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. On each trip we were totally self-sufficient for about a two week duration in our two person kayak. The kayak is a Feathercraft K2 folding kayak. It’s built like an aircraft with a tubular aluminum frame and a waterproof skin stretched over it. It takes about an hour to build, sometimes 45 minutes when we’re practiced. With all our camping gear, food, extra clothing and fresh water, we weighed about 750 pounds and yet we could still travel around 15 to 18 miles a day at near four miles per hour (on a good day). To date we have covered well over 300 miles of the bay.
Alaska Airlines was our airline of choice each time which accepted all our camping gear and kayak as baggage with no overage charge. We brought everything we needed on the airline except fuel and water which we obtained once at the GB park headquarters. From there we took a boat up into the bay where we were dropped off on an island. This gave us a head-start and allowed us tour through more of the bay while allowing enough time to paddle back to the park headquarters. We allowed a couple extra days in the schedule in case of bad weather, which we used. There were days when the wind and/or fog made it impossible to navigate so we just stayed in one place until better weather on another day.
Every day we were engulfed in terrific scenes of snow capped mountain, glaciers, icebergs, whales (orcas and humpbacks), bears, seals, bald eagles and many other birds. Seldom, if ever, did we see another person for the two weeks we were out in the bay. Only in the west arm of the bay did we see cruise ships. They aren’t allowed in the east arm.
Camping is open to wherever you can camp except where the park service may have closed an area because of a known threat such as a recent moose kill where the bears are acting exceptionally territorial and on certain islands which are off limits to protect the bird rookeries.
One of the biggest threats in Glacier Bay that most people don’t realize is the changing tide and powerful currents. One must understand the tide table and travel strategically with the currents in mind. Campsites must be carefully selected to be well above the high tide line or else you may wake in the middle of the night with a very cold damp sleeping bag and find that your kayak has drifted out of sight. The tide can rise and fall as much as 25 feet, a big difference. This also means that some passages cannot be navigated at low tide as it becomes dry land.
These trips were in the early to mid 1990s prior to the time High Definition video was available. Video formats used included Hi8 and Mini-DV. Also the airline bag and weight limits have changed since 911. We would certainly pay for extra bags and weight if we were to make this journey today. But note that if you consider this type of adventure, kayaks are available for rent at the park. Just take your own camping gear and food.
These are memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. It was a great team building experience and strengthened our marriage. We absolutely had to rely on each other the entire time for our safety and survival. That’s why we’ve done it three times now. And because it is such a beautiful place. These expressions of beauty and love from God our creator were just magnificent to behold.