Evening Kayak Tours in Glacier Bay National Park

This tour is a very easy paddle oriented for beginners.  It is a two and a half hour tour, with two hours on the water.   After we received all our gear (everything is provided, including waterproof coats, pants, spray skirts, life jackets and rubber boots) and went through a training course in safety and paddling, we headed out toward the deeper waters to see a humpback that had come rather close to Bartlett Cove.  However, since there were some winds picking up, Leslie, our guide, decided it would be better to remain in the cove.  The waters were calm there and wildlife was abundant.

We had made reservations for this trip in Juneau when we booked the whole visit to Glacier Bay through the Goldbelt Tour Center.  Leslie met us at the front desk of Glacier Bay Lodge at 6 p.m., giving us about 45 minutes from the time we arrived and checked in.  She schedules the tour to coincide with the arrival of the bus from Gustavus.  The cost of this tour was $49.00 per person.  

Leslie was raised here in Glacier Bay and spent much of her life in kayaks exploring the waters.  She currently studies biology at Linfield College in Oregon.  We had no doubt she was probably top of her class, having spent her life amidst the nature that most children learn about only in textbooks.   Although Claimjumper and I had spent time in kayaks before, I very much appreciated the paddling tips she gave, and helped to speed us along more efficiently, and found my upper back did not become as tired as it usually does.

We requested seeing sea otters on or tour.  Leslie told us that even though her kayak was equipped with buttons to push to see different wildlife, she would be the one deciding which buttons she would be pushing.  While she seemed to appreciate our request, she made it very clear that she would be the one controlling the wildlife viewing, not us.

As we paddled through the shallow waters of the upper cove we entered into a calm lagoon.  Over in the shrubs right along the waters edge one of the adventurers on our tour spotted a little head.  Leslie was no doubt trying to impress us with her button pushing.  As we paddled closer, remaining as quiet as we could a black bear stood behind some grasses eating.  Leslie estimated it to be about a year and a half old, probably out on its own for the first time.  

And Leslie kept pushing those buttons.  Every now and then a harbor seal would swim up to us and check us out.  As we paddled into more shallow waters, I looked down to see a medium sized Dungeness crab crawling sideways across the lagoon floor.  As the sun set, minnows started jumping all around us like popcorn.  Leslie showed us a type of seaweed they call “rockweed” and demonstrated that it was edible.  We followed her lead, sampling the seaweed ourselves.  It was actually pretty good, although we have no plans to open a restaurant featuring this dish.

When Leslie’s fingers tired from the button pushing we headed back to shore.  

For direct contact information and reservations, see Alaska Discovery.

Last Visited: July 2000

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