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Northwestern Fjord Day Trip

Quick Details

Person
$500

The Best Kept Secret in Kenai Fjords National Park!

Travel back in time and visit Northwestern Fjord in Kenai Fjords National Park. When kayaking through Northwestern you will see freshly carved out cliffs, waterfalls, emerald green waters, and many other unique geological features in this newly exposed fjord.

Return to geologic antiquity with our Northwestern paddle. Cruising aboard our custom-built high-speed landing craft, we take a two-hour ride through the Kenai Fjords National Park to Northwestern Lagoon. On the water taxi ride from Seward, we commonly stop to view sea otters, Dall’s porpoise, Steller’s sea lions, bald eagles, humpback whales, and orca. Puffins and sea birds are also abundant as we pass through the Chiswell Islands, the most prolific roosting grounds in the region.

 

     Meeting Time

     Ending Time

  Meeting Place

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5:30 am

Plan to arrive at 5:30 am to check in, pack up, meet your guide. The water taxi will depart at 6 am sharp to Aialik or Northwestern Bay on a two-hour water taxi ride

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Between 6 and 9 pm

Expect to be back at Miller’s landing between 6 and 9 pm. Return time is dependent on our boat schedule for the day, and cannot be guaranteed at a specific time

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Meet at the main office, 13880 Beach Drive Seward, AK. Check in early to meet your guide and even enjoy a cup of coffee on our porch that overlooks the water
   
 

Age Requirements

 

What We Provide

 

What to Bring

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This trip is best for ages 12 and up.  Feel free to contact us with questions!

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  • Kayak, PFD, spray skirt, pogies
  • We provide snacks, a small breakfast on the boat, and lunch
  • Dry bags for gear

 

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  • Warm and waterproof layers
  • Water bottle
  • Warm socks, preferably wool
  • Your favorite snacks!

   Tips for a Great Trip

Difficulty 

 

Bringing a Camera?

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Be sure to pack comfortable shoes that could get wet, good layers, and snacks for the ride home. It’s important that you have good rain gear and warm layers to ensure your comfort throughout the trip. Reach out if you have any questions about gear

 

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This kayak trip takes place on calm waters in a protected bay, so it’s good for newer paddlers. Be ready to kayak anywhere from 8 to 15 miles through the course of your trip

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We use sit-in kayaks for this trip, you can have your camera around your neck or in a dry bag. There are water-tight compartments in the kayaks, but they are difficult to access while on the water


 

More Information

  • Price includes approximately two hours of water taxi time watching for wildlife each way!
  • All kayaking gear and instructions provided
  • Gratuities are not included in the original sale price. A suggested 20% guide tip is greatly appreciated! (Suggested tip $50 to $100/person)
  • Please note: All participants paddle tandem kayaks. This paddle is appropriate for children aged 12 and over. This paddle is approximately six to eight hours in length.
  • Trip sizes max out at 12 persons per the National Park regulations.
  • All excursions practice Leave No Trace wilderness ethics, and we are happy to accommodate all diets.
  • Our operational capacity in Northwestern is more economically priced and logistically able than any other outfit in our area.

Itinerary

Your day begins with an early morning departure at 6 a.m. on our comfortable water taxi for a two to two and a half-hour wildlife tour and transport to the Kenai Fjords National Park. The boat ride alone is an adventure as we traverse the vast beauty of the Gulf of Alaska. The day continues as we cross the submerged terminal moraine of Northwestern Glacier (a full 8.75 miles from the current face of the glacier!) and into Northwestern Lagoon, where the ocean depths shoot from over 400 feet on the outside to 24 feet at the crossing, and then down to 600 feet on the other side of the moraine! Enjoy opportunities to view black bears, coastal birds, and a host of marine mammals over the whole course of your trip — not just on the sea kayaking portion!

We land ~ 8 – 9:30 a.m. in the heart of the Kenai Fjords National Park on one of many beautiful pristine beaches. Your guide talks you through your kayak and gear on the way, providing paddling advice and raising situational awareness, which should allow for a quick start once unloaded.

Then it’s time to start paddling, where a rugged coastline folds into five sizeable glaciers for a full-day excursion. You and your group explore the park, moving from place to place from circumnavigating Striation Island to crossing in front of tidewater glaciers, this journey ranges from 8 to 15-miles, depending on the group’s speed and intentions. Trips travel at the pace of your group, so whether you’d like to cover as much ground as possible or rest on a beach with your journal or camera, we work to accommodate you!

The water taxi boat picks you up in the late afternoon, 4 – 6:30 p.m., depending on the day, and the crew loads your kayaks and gear. The return trip explores the Kenai Fjords all the way back to Seward, keeping an eye out for the many whales migrating and feeding through our area. We aim to be at Miller’s Landing by 6 – 9 p.m., depending on how exciting our sightseeing options are on the way home.

We do reserve the right to be flexible — marine weather and logistics can delay things or require an earlier pick-up. Keep in mind they are boats, not trains, and we have to heed the demands of the ocean from time to time.

So what’s the difference between Aialik and Northwestern?

NOAA Chart Northwestern 1932-2002

The image above was compiled from NOAA historical chart databases to illustrate that since 1932, the face of Northwestern Glacier has retreated over 9 miles in the last 85 years. The Northwestern Fjord area wasn’t even charted until the 2002 NOAA charts were released, with the space simply reading, “The upper part of Harris Bay is usually filled with floating ice.” This is a really incredible place, folks.

The Tidewater Glaciers in Northwestern are more vertical than the tidewater glaciers in Aialik. While Aialik is expansive and gorgeous as well, the glaciers are massive and slowly lope up valleys. In Northwestern, the glaciers shoot straight up the cliff sides to the Harding Icefield. We see alpine calving, avalanches, and a lot of very raw, recently exposed country. The lush rainforests that bridle the glaciers in Aialik Bay are nowhere to be found here, not having had the time to encroach on the rapid recession of Northwestern’s giants.

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