Friday, September 19, 2014

Foto Friday: Kayakin' in Ketchikan

Bald Eagles. Bald Eagles EVERYWHERE! Perfectly timed American symbol following the fourth of July
Day Nine: Ketchikan Sea Kayaking

Following the excitement and epic fun of the 4th of July in Skagway, Ketchikan was a great day to take it a bit easier and relax while mother nature did all the work. Except steering the kayak, mother nature couldn't do that and it seemed for awhile that I couldn't either =)

Kayaking partners!
The expedition we took involved a drive from the city out to the port. Along the way we learned that Ketchikan is actually n island and it literally only reachable by boat (or swimming). theres a narrow channel between Ketchikan and the mainland and even the airport strip can only be reached by crossing the water via ferry or a quick cold plunge into the water.

Once at the dock, we hopped on board a motorized boat to ride about 5-15 minutes out the the little island we would kayak around.

Our boat driver actually owned the tour company with his family and was very engaging and friendly, in fact, if I haven't mentioned it here before, all of our guides in each excursion were excellent and extremely informative/interesting people!

so serene
 Once on the boat, we could see all sorts of small islands and once we got out far enough we began to see the bald eagles. If you have never seen one, let me tell you, they are much grander and majestic than any picture can do justice.

Unlike ducks and other water-fowl, bald eagles do not have oil on their feathers that keeps them dry in any dive into the water.  Because of this they have to dry their wings after each dive, which explains the pose you see on quarters.
 We got to our kayaks and determined that I would steer since Rah has some chronic knee problems and sitting to steer involved sitting rather uncomfortably. Since my mom also had some recent knee issues, my dad steered their kayak. Now while my steering was less than perfect, I must confess that sometimes I turned wrong on purpose just to exasperate Rah (I mean, that's essentially my number one job as youngest sibling, and I take all my jobs seriously) =)

We were actually quite a good team and decided that in the final stretch of kayaking around the island, once we were just heading into shore we would race everyone. and we WON! We even beat the guides! But we did make sure not to tell them we were racing until after we had passed them =)
Sea-kayak selfie!

We ran into quite a few eagles and had a great photo op with the group when one of the guides volunteered to take some pictures of the group:

Like a B.O.S.S.

This eagle was eating a salmon, it was the closest one I saw and let's just say I'm glad I wasn't a fish

Other than eagles we saw a ton of starfish! They were purple and orange and we were even given permission to pick one up (provided we put him/her back of course). The water was cool and clear and since it was protected by the islands it was easy to forget it was salt water since it reminded me of a lake more than the ocean.

Starfish Sam and Me!
At one point, someone glimpsed a seal and another kayak had a salmon jump right into the side of their boat and then swim away!

The whole excursion was so serene and peaceful. We saw a deer and her fawn and learned that pregnant females will swim out to the islands to give birth since there are no predators for them out there. With our short trip we were able to glimpse into what made that area so special.

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