Tracy L – Why paddle the inside passage?

The germination of the idea:

My desire to kayak through the Inland Passage began 7 years ago when my family and I took the Alaska Ferry from Bellingham up to visit a good friend and high school classmate, who lived in Petersburg AK with her family.  Growing up in North Seattle, many of my high school friends used the Alaska Ferry to travel up and back to summer jobs in the canneries.  They would camp out on the back deck of the Ferry as it snaked its way up to Alaska and their summer destinations.  I heard many great stories about those trips and I was excited to finally be able to experience this Northwest Seattle tradition with my own family.  In my mind, a trip to Alaska in the summer would not be complete without as much water time as possible, so I brought my surf ski kayak along.  As my husband and our two young boys climbed onboard the ferry with backpacks loaded, we waited in line on the car loading deck holding my racing kayak.  We paid the extra fare and stored my lightweight-racing kayak on the car deck along with the extra cargo and supplies that people transport on the Ferry system.

During our week in Petersburg, while staying with my dear friends Tani and Leif Stenfjord, I took several wonderful 1 – 3 hour trips kayaking on the Frederickson Sound They had a spectacular home located just outside of town, right on the Frederickson Sound and I launched my kayak right in front of their house on mini trips every day.  My trips included experiences including paddled up to and all around feeding Humpback whales.   Listening to the Humpbacks calling singing to each other, and watching them feed.  One afternoon, I cruised across the Sound a dup to a large iceberg that had calved off of the near by Stikine Glacier.   Hearing the sounds of the melting ice from the ancient past and the salt water lapping up from underneath the water is something I will never forget.  I paddled around small islands and by large seal rookeries filled with nursing seal pups.  Watched Stellar sea lions eating the by catch being dumped form the cannery   and on a separate trip, and paddled by fishermen stringing out their nets to catch salmon.   Other highlights of the trip included, catching an 80-pound Halibut and salmon on just about any kind of bait, watching the Northern lights magnetosphere fire works display over the mountains while listening to the eerie mating songs of the Humpback whales.  A boat trip right up next to the Stikine glacier, eating and breathing in the oxygen from, melting glacial ice from thousands of years ago. Watching feeding Grizzly bears and salmon fishing in a river teaming with migrating salmon. These are memories I will never forget.

On the way home as the Ferry worked its way through the narrow passages of Alaska and Canada, I knew that one day I had to make this same trip in a kayak.

Seven years later, it is time to start checking off the to do lists to make this trip a reality.


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