Kayaking Kodiak Island 2009

The oceans, bays and fjords surrounding Kodiak Island have been the domain of sea going kayaks for more than seven thousand years. Alutiiq hunters earned their living from the waters surrounding the island in their incredibly seaworthy vessels by hunting marine mammals and fishing. Today kayaking remains a wonderful way to experience Kodiak Island’s rich and diverse marine environment.

Upon arriving on Kodiak Island we rented a car and drove around Chiniak Bay to Lagoonside B&B where we met our hoist John Fiorentino. Lagoonside B&B provides its guest with use of modern 17 foot fiberglass sea kayaks, located on an amazing stretch of coastline, it is the perfect opportunity to explore Kodiak’s marine environment without the hassle of transporting kayaks all the way from home. John is an excellent cook and provides all meals, sure beats camping out in the bush! Here is the view of the lagoon from his beautiful home.

We found the surrounding area a bird watchers paradise with dozens of small islands that are an easy day’s paddle to explore.

Brenda heading out into Brookers Lagoon

More than 240 species of birds have been identified on Kodiak Island and the Chiniak Bay area supports a minimum of 23 seabird colonies during the summer. Sea going birds often use small islands and large rocks to rear their young away from land based predators, like this nesting colony of Kittiwakes.

Just above the high tideline we found this shell lined nest with two Oystercatcher eggs.

The parents look on nervously

Hiking up to the top of Svitlak Island looked easy from the water but turned out to be thick chest high brush and grass. We had to be very careful where we walked as well, Tufted and Horned Puffins lay their eggs in underground burrows that can collapse when walked on.

Early morning and the sea is calm, we can peer into the world below and wonder at the complex web of life that slips by under our hull. Overhead puffins dive bomb us, their stubby wings beating hard to gain altitude as they leave their subterranean dens to look for food.

Winter storms sculpts these islands and shores like an artist with hammer and chisel, we thought Kekur Island looked kinda like an elephant.
Taking a break at Isthmus Point we stopped to ponder the vastness of the Gulf of Alaska. Will it allow us to return we wonder, for our time spent here seemed much too brief, we hoped so.

The Alutiiq museum located in downtown Kodiak has a wonderful collection of kayaks and equipment used by the first inhabitants of the island. We marveled at the ingenious technologies they had created that allowed them to survive on land and sea.

If these photos have inspired you to visit this extraordinary island, or if you just wish to know more, here are a few more links you might find helpful and informative:
Kodiak Visitors Guide
Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
Kodiak Audubon Society

“But hopes are shy birds flying at a great distance, seldom reached by the best of guns.”