Last Thursday was my birthday. My family and I spent the day kayaking the 12 miles around Fox Island. The day started out somewhat clear when we took a walk down to the end of the rocky beach, but less than a mile into our paddle it became misty and cloudy. I really enjoy the sunshine, but really, paddling in the ocean for several hours with an on and off mist and fog made the excursion extra special. Visibility wasn’t great so it felt mystical.
Brother and I shared a kayak. He was in back, manning the steering. I was proud that he didn’t yell at me at all for hitting his paddle a few times, but then I realized perhaps he was being nice since it was my birthday and all. My parents, who apparently have matching kayaking outfits, were in the other kayak, and then we also had our guide, Eileen.
I mentioned yesterday that on our trip to Fox Island that we stopped to see some whales. Honestly, being in a big boat with a bunch of people sort of makes seeing a whale seem not that special. It feels like a motorized version of being at SeaWorld, actually. So, being in a kayak right on the Gulf of Alaska, on my birthday, I was quite delighted to see 5 humpbacked whales during our excursion. Also, right after lunch we witnessed one swimming along the coast and were probably no more than a couple hundred feet away. This is also when a salmon came flying out of the water behind our kayak and scared the shit out of me. I can’t imagine that salmon swimming in a jumping motion out of the water is very energy efficient, but I somehow sense that it had gotten off course somewhere in the first place.
Lunch was on Sandsplit Point, which you can see in the very foggy photo with the trees all the way to the right. Curried chicken salad sandwiches, an apple, Cheetos (an odd selection) and a chocolate chip cookie that hit the spot. I couldn’t figure out why it tasted so good. My mom insisted that we burned “500” calories an hour paddling. I begged to differ and continued to mock her overestimate for the rest of the trip. Don’t say I’m not a good daughter.
That somewhat unflattering photo of Brother and I makes me laugh every time I see it. The pegs for steering kept slipping in the back, and he kept making disgruntled noises, but I couldn’t tell what he was doing, so I took photos instead of trying to turn around.
I also saw snow that hadn’t melted yet. This was the first time I’ve ever seen snow in August.
That evening we had wine and ate a delicious 4 course meal at the lodge. Dessert came with birthday candles added by my mom. The woman comes prepared!
I’d say that we had a rager that continued on late into the night, but 5 hours of kayaking is kind of hard work, so we all passed out before the sunset (which is like… 11pm).
Here’s Fox Island on Google Maps if you’re interested.
Photos from Kenai Fjords tomorrow!