Frequently Asked Kayaking Questions
DO I NEED TO HAVE PRIOR KAYAKING EXPERIENCE?
No kayaking experience is necessary for any of our trips. We paddle with first time kayakers every day. Sunny Cove provides kayaking instruction in every one of our tours. Our attention to safety and knowledge of local waters allows all levels of paddlers a comfortable, rewarding experience. Join us and learn a new skill!
Do i need to be in great shape to kayak?
Kayaking is a low level aerobic exercise relying more on technique than brute strength. Our tours accommodate a wide variety of people and skill levels. Generally, shorter tours are easier, while longer tours may require covering more distance or hiking with an elevation gain. Read each trip description to discover which trip is right for you.
Do I need to book my trip in advance?
We HIGHLY recommend booking your trip well in advance. It's very common for us to sell out of available space. Booking last minute might not work out and then you'll miss out on your amazing Alaska kayaking experience!
I'M WORRIED I WON'T FIT IN A KAYAK. DO YOU HAVE SIZE RESTRICTIONS?
Our tandem kayaks and gear can accommodate most people. All kayakers need to be able to fit into a extra-large PFD (personal flotation device), wear a spray skirt with a maximum waist of 44" and be able to sit properly and comfortably in the kayak. Kayakers over 6'5" may not fit comfortably in our kayaks. Since we all come in different shapes and sizes, please contact us if you are uncertain. We're happy to assist you and answer any questions.
WILL I TIP OVER? DO I NEED TO BE A SWIMMER?
You do not need to be a swimmer, but you should be comfortable with water. We use a fleet of very stable tandem (two person) sea kayaks. While it is possible to capsize any boat, it is unlikely you will tip over these very seaworthy crafts if you follow the instruction provided by our experienced guides at the beginning of your trip. We will also fit you with a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) to help keep you buoyant should a capsize occur.
We're happy to say capsizes are rare. Our guides will provide you with in-depth instruction to help insure each participants safety prior to kayaking. If you follow their instruction you should not have any trouble staying upright. Once or twice a year we do have clients inadvertently capsize a kayak. Often this is due to horseplay, or disregard to provided instruction. Should a capsize occur our guides are well trained to resolve the situation with your participation.
WHAT ABOUT The other kind of tipping...gratuities?
As we like to say in the kayaking world, 'tip your guide, not your kayak!' Sunny Cove is proud to employ some of the best guides in the industry. Our kayaking guides enjoy sharing this beautiful place with you and strive to make each kayak tour unique and fun. If you feel your guide made your time on the water more enjoyable you're welcome to express your thanks with a tip – this is greatly appreciated by your guide. General rule of thumb for the outdoor professional industry is 10-20%. We would appreciate if you would tip your guide directly.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE in Seward?
Summer can bring a variety of weather conditions. Temperatures can range from the lower 50's to mid 70's. Rainy days, sunny days and overcast days are all a part of our mix. Rainy days are common to our temperate rainforest climate and often our best paddling days are rainy days with calm waters. Sunny days can be amazing for kayaking, but the sun often creates on-shore winds making afternoon paddles a bit more challenging and exciting. We're also just a few miles away from 60 deg. N, which means we enjoy the long summer days of northern latitude; in other words, the Midnight Sun. Check out our weather page for details about local conditions.
HOW COLD IS THE WATER?
Contrary to popular belief the bay water isn't always near freezing. May and June water temperatures tend to hover around 40-45 degrees, while later summer temperatures can near the upper 50's. The temperatures in Aialik Bay, Northwestern Fjord and Bear Glacier tend to be colder due to tidewater glaciers.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR WHEN I KAYAK & what does sunny cove provide?
A great rule of thumb for your entire Alaskan adventure is layering. Expect a mix of weather wherever your travels may take you. We advise wearing synthetic fabrics, wools and silks since they will keep you warm even if they are wet. Avoid cottons and denims (no jeans) as they will make you feel colder if they get wet. A waterproof (not water resistant) jacket and pants will be really important for your comfort while traveling in Alaska. On our day trips we'll outfit you with a spray skirt, personal flotation device (PFD), pogies, dry bag for your camera and personal gear and rubber boots to help keep your feet dry (you may want to bring an extra pair of socks). Please bring a water bottle, camera, sunscreen and a sense of adventure! We suggest bringing a waterproof camera or one small enough to fit in your vest pocket or dry bag as you'll want to keep it in a safe and dry environment. If you're joining one of our multi-day excursions we'll give you a detailed clothing and gear list to help you pack for your adventure.
WILL we SEE WILDLIFE?
We sure hope so! Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park are home to abundant wildlife on land, sea and air. Sea otters, sea lions, harbor porpoise, seals, humpback whales, orca, bald eagles, puffins and much more are commonly seen in the areas we kayak. Our quiet kayaks afford a wonderful opportunity to have intimate encounters without disrupting the animals. We'll do our best to find wildlife on all of our tours, but unfortunately cannot guarantee sightings.
WHAT IF WILDLIFE GETS REALLY CLOSE TO MY KAYAK?
While we'll avoid directly approaching animals we're sometimes lucky enough to have a 'close encounter' with one of our local wild residents. When this happens our guides will often have the kayaks gather close together. Then we enjoy the show, an experience few are lucky enough to enjoy! We have never seen any type of aggressive behavior from any of our wild population, however, wild animals can be unpredictable. We never chase or harangue our wild residents.
HOW CLOSE CAN WE GET TO a glacier in our kayaks?
Kayaking near a tide water glacier is a magical experience requiring a healthy amount of respect and space. We avoid getting any closer than one half mile from tidewater glaciers. It's very common for these glaciers to calve (drop ice), and these ice falls can produce huge waves. Our half mile cushion keeps us in water deep enough to avoid most wave action.
If our trip includes a charter boat is there a bathroom on the boat?
Yes, all of the charter boats we use have marine heads, also knows as bathrooms.
WHAT IF I WANT TO BOOK A RESERVATION FOR A LARGE GROUP?
We can accommodate most groups. Give us a call and we'll set up a custom adventure! We love to kayak with friends, families, corporate outings, church groups and youth groups.
Why don't you offer any one night kayak camping trips into Kenai Fjords National Park?
We want you to see it all, and that's just not possible without a minimum of two nights. Local charter transportation gets kayak camping trips to the park between 11am and 12pm the first day, and picks up between 12pm and 1pm on the last day. A one night trip would mean two relatively short half-days of kayaking, which is just not enough time to really explore. If you only have one night available in your itinerary check out our Caines Head Kayak Camping Overnight or our Fox Island Kayak Camping Overnight. Both are a bit closer to Seward and will allow you plenty of time to explore!
CAN I PADDLE A SINGLE KAYAK?
Due to the remote nature of all of our trips, all of our guest paddle tandem (two person) kayaks on our adventures. If you're a solo paddler or have an odd numbered group we'll pair you with a new friend. Single kayaks are reserved for guiding staff.
DOES SUNNY COVE RENT KAYAKS?
All of our trips are fully guided using tandem kayaks - kayak rentals are not available. We do offer a guided rental option with most of our kayak camping adventures. This option is available to experienced campers who have their own camping equipment.
CAN I SEND MY CHILD ON A TRIP UNACCOMPANIED?
Children 16 and older may join our three-hour excursions without an adult if a parent or legal guardian signs our waiver before participation. Otherwise children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult on all of our excursions.