Alaska kayaking small ship cruise
December 2006 Newsletter
Alaska on the Home Shore News

Photos: Looking Back, Planning Ahead
Ben Kyle's Top 6 Winter Paddling Tips
Featured Destination: Glacier Bay
Glacier Bay Mothership Tours
Our Ship
Paddling Alaska

Dear Member, 

We're launching our newsletter - your resource for kayaking the dramatic labyrinth of Southeast Alaska. Each issue will bring you a featured destination (the unparalleled Glacier Bay graces this installment), tips from our paddling guides, and the latest Home Shore news. Questions? Comments? Requests? We'd love to hear from you!

Photos: Looking Back, Planning Ahead

hat paddling dreams did you realize this year? Home Shore guests recall the glacier-rimmed fjords, sea arch playgrounds and tidal sloughs of Southeast Alaska. Our 2006 season included a full schedule of trips from May to September that ushered paddlers to Baranof and Chichagof Islands as well as hidden spots like Tracy Arm and Lituya Bay. As usual we explored new areas, adding the intriguing inlets and rock gardens at Cape Spencer to our list of favorites.

Kayaking Alaska

Weather patterns in 2006 favored the wetter side of Southeast's typical mix of sunshine, overcast, and rain. Winds were normally light, and paddling conditions were quite good most days. Several guests from drier parts of the country reported they had never kayaked in the rain before, and were surprised at how much fun it is!

If you're reminiscing about a 2006 Home Shore trip or considering an Alaskan adventure for 2007, we have a great resource for you. This year we began posting a photo collection from each tour. We choose 30 images at tour's end, quickly mail the image CD to Office Manager Nichole, who then posts the pictures on our internet photo site. Although we missed a few of our 2006 trips, we're planning to get them all in 2007.

We invite you to view our collection at Snapfish to relive your summer or, for paddlers who haven't experienced the Home Shore, get a glimpse of what our mothership charters entail. You can even order prints - past guests will find the tour log they received on board a handy photo album. Do you have photos to share? Send them on and we may upload them to our site!

View more photos

Alaska Kayaking tips

Ben Kyle's Top 6 Winter Paddling Tips

Just because the snow is falling doesn't mean you have to abandon your kayak. As a Home Shore guide and alternate captain who can't get enough of the water, I think you'll find winter a great time to paddle, provided you're prepared for conditions.

In addition to a wet or dry suit, be sure to wear wicking fabrics, a warm hat and neoprene booties and gloves. Then, consider these additional tips:

  1. Eat high-cal foods frequently
    Your body will burn hundreds of calories trying to keep you warm. Stoke your fire with high-calorie foods like nuts, dried fruit, energy bars and chocolate.

  2. Take a hot beverage
    You'll be glad for a steaming cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate if you get cold so make room for a thermos. Sip at the first sign of a chill. Your core body temperature will thank you.

  3. Keep spray skirt free of ice
    While it's unlikely that your spray skirt will freeze to your kayak (unless you're out in extremely frigid conditions), it can happen. Monitor your gear for ice and chip off any accumulations immediately.

  4. Know the signs of hypothermia
    The first signs of hypothermia include tense muscles and goose bumps - find a heat source now (a hot drink, a campfire on shore)! Take action before advanced signals such as shivering, confusion and mood swings set in.

  5. Paddle with a partner
    Even expert paddlers can use a hand now and then, especially in cold weather. A partner will watch for signs of hypothermia, ensure you get back into your kayak after a spill (or get you to shore), and go for help if necessary.

  6. Stay home and plan for spring
    Of course, sitting in front of a fire and dreaming about spring isn't such a bad thing, either. Take the opportunity to plan warm weather adventures.

Featured Destination: Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay Kayaking

Photo by Gary Luhm

If you've paddled Glacier Bay National Park, slipping past luminous tidewater glaciers among orcas and humpback whales, you already know your great fortune. If you haven't, visit this national treasure while you can. The park's ancient walls of ice are retreating rapidly (possibly due to global warming) and our generation may be the last to witness their magnificence. With only 25 motorized boats allowed in the park per day, you can be sure to find beauty as well as solitude among the area's 3+ million acres.

Location: 65 miles (by water or air) northwest of Juneau
Getting there: Charter boat, Alaska State ferry, private plane
Permits: Permits (free) are required. Visitors must go through a safety orientation at the Visitor Information Station in Bartlett Cove
Climate: Average summer temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees; mix of sun and rain; minimal wind
Why visit: 10 massive tidewater glaciers, many of which actively calve; epic paddling in a multitude of secluded bays and narrow fjords; snow-capped Fairweather mountain range; abundant wildlife including humpback whales, brown and black bears, seals and seabirds along with a rich tapestry of wildflowers, grasses and rainforests
Safety considerations: Brown and black bears
More information: Visit the Glacier Bay National Park website at


Glacier Bay Mothership Tours

Join Alaska on the Home Shore in Glacier Bay - a huge estuary with very little traffic. See vanishing tidewater glaciers, race a slalom course of icebergs and witness pods of feeding humpback whales. We'll visit the Visitor Information Station at Bartlett Cove on our way in.

Our two May, 2007 Glacier Bay Sitka-Juneau tours are almost full, but we plan to return in 2008, and space is available. See our Glacier Bay charter schedule.


Thanks for reading our kayaking newsletter Alaska on the Home Shore News! Be sure to drop us a line with your feedback. We look forward to keeping you updated with helpful information about exploring Southeast Alaska by kayak.

Happy paddling,

Captain Jim Kyle and the Home Shore crew

Alaska in 2009

Thinking about a Southeast Alaska adventure on the Home Shore? Past guests will be happy to learn that our veteran crew is returning in 2007. As always, Captain Jim Kyle will head up most of our trips, ready to share his 40+ years of local experience. Kayak guides Ben and Benson along with hostess/chefs Kendra, Ensan and Kristin will team up in various combinations to make your tour the trip of a lifetime.

With the exception of one forward stateroom berth (female sharing) on our May 14 Glacier Bay tour, we are sold out for 2007. There will likely be cancellations, so please contact us about our standby list. For 2008, act soon for the best selection of dates. Visit our website for 2007 and 2008 availability.

Alaska on the Home Shore | 4102 Linnell Road | Deming | WA | 98244

Alaska on the Home Shore© Alaska Sea Kayaking All Rights Reserved
Except for the main homepage graphic, no image contains objects that have been digitally manipulated. All photographs were taken during Home Shore tours, with contributions from professionals Gary Luhm, Suzanne Steel, Heath Cowart, & Ben Kyle.
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