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Seward

Fox Island: Your Trip of a Lifetime Awaits

People come to Alaska for a variety of reasons. For the wildlife...for the mountains...for the isolation...for the adventure...for the bucket list...whatever their reason may be, there is one place that encompasses all that and more in my favorite place to spend time; Fox Island.

If it is wildlife you are looking for, Fox Island is a hub of activity for sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, bald eagles, puffin, salmon, humpback whales, and orcas. Being about 12 miles closer to the open ocean than Seward, Fox Island has the benefit of being in the feeding path of many of our marine animals. Fox Island is one of the few places in the world where orcs have been documented rubbing their bellies on the beach...the very same beach we launch our kayaking trips from. I was fortunate enough to be leading a trip on the water when this happened and it was a treat!

If you want mountains, Fox Island sits out in the middle of Resurrection Bay where you are able to glimpse the views of mountain tops created from two different tectonic plates that sit on opposite sides of the bay. Snow capped all summer long, our tallest peaks shoot up around 4,000-5,000 feet straight out of the water in a meeting between mountains and ocean that rivals any vista around the world.

If you like the isolation, a Fox Island trip may be just what you need. An already busy tourist town, Seward was put more in the spotlight by the national parks 100th anniversary celebration and a visit from President Obama last September. With several kayaking companies in town, Sunny Cove is the only one with an established base on the island and you will be sure to experience the peaceful nature of Alaska while on your trip. 

And if you are the adventurous type, there isn't a better place to explore than Fox Island. With trips that run from three hours to full day adventures, Fox Island has many route options depending on the weather, wildlife, and paddler abilities. And since you take a boat to the island, many of our trips and combined with a sightseeing tour of Resurrection Bay after you finish your paddle. 

When I first came to Alaska, I fell in love with this place I now call home. And of all the majestic and wonderful things you can see and do during your time in the Last Frontier State, make sure Fox Island is at the top of your list and check off that bucket list in style. It is a truly magical place and we look forward to seeing you out there on the water!

Looking over the Fox Island sand spit from one of the saddles between the island's mountain peaks.

Looking over the Fox Island sand spit from one of the saddles between the island's mountain peaks.

~ Danny

Staff Spotlight: McKenzie

Meet McKenzie! McKenzie is a fire spinning fermenting wizard that can ski. Or so she tells us. While most of our guides come from all over the lower 48 states looking for adventure, McKenzie is the rare breed that is actually from Alaska! Growing up in Anchorage she was privileged to have spent many years in this great state and decided to move to Seward for the summer and guide with Sunny Cove. McKenzie is a first year guide with tons of Alaskan knowledge and if you are into plants and flowers, she's the guide for you! We were excited to bring McKenzie on board and please continue reading below to learn more about this wonderful new addition to Sunny Cove!

Just off the train!

Just off the train!

Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska!

Favorite Food: It's a tie between salmon and coconut ice cream. (But not combined)

Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones

Favorite Book: Either the Anarchist's Cookbook or Plants of the Pacific Northwest

Favorite Sport: Besides sea kayaking?! Backcountry skiing!!!

Favorite Animal: Caribou

Certifications/Degrees: Bachelor of Arts Degree in Ethnobotany, Wilderness First Responder, CPR, AIARE 1 (Avalanche Training)

Number one item of bucket list: I want to take an underwater photography/diving course.

Best Life Experience: I had a stint at a tiki bar on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Every night I got to watch the sunset over the bay and during the day I got to go swimming, kayaking, fishing, and ate copious amounts of mangoes and rum. It was really amazing there and I am planning a return trip. 

Best Alaskan Experience: As a child my mom used to take me out in the winter so that we could look for northern lights. I would get all bundled up and curl up in my sleeping bag amidst the snow watching the sky for that magical flickering. I always fell asleep before I saw the lights but getting to stay up late watching the sky with my mom is one of my favorite memories. 

Why I love to guide: I love to show people my home and the amazing wilderness that still exists in the world. Plus I enjoy the dynamic challenge that each day can bring!

Random fact: I love teaching people about edible foods, foraging, and fermentation. 

Personal Statement: Instead of a personal statement, let me tell you my perfect date. Let's go on an adventure, whether that be sea kayaking, skiing, or whatever else we can come up with that is active and that doesn't cost a lot of money. After that let's make food and celebrate being alive. Badda Bing Badda Boom. Party on Wayne. 

~ Danny

Staff Training Expedition in Aialik Fjord - Day 1

Over the course of a 4-day sea kayaking expedition in Aialik Fjord the Sunny Cove staff and owner practiced, trained, refined and enjoyed subjects such as birding, mammalogy, glaciology, geology, plant identification, group management, paddling technique, leadership styles, and seamanship.

aialik_group_photo.jpg

After departing from the Seward Harbor via the Alaska Wildland Adventures (AWA) water taxi fittingly named the Weather or Knot, the Sunny Cove guides breathed a collective sigh of relief as we knew then, we were departing civilization with only the belongings we had with us on the boat, there was no longer the need to triple check the presence of each piece of gear. We were now headed out to the wilderness of Kenai Fjords National Park with only the modern sea kayaking equipment necessary for a 4-day paddling adventure and the communal atmosphere of the recently reunited Sunny Cove staff. Motoring across the calm waters of Resurrection Bay we viewed sea otters, seals, and sea lions. Once we reached the Harding Gateway at the mouth of Resurrection Bay we spotted our first whale spouts including an elusive gray whale migrating past the fjord on its way from Baja California Sur to feed on the rich marine abundance of the Bering Sea, the longest known migration of any mammal. The majority of guides had seen gray whales before in the lower 48, where they spend a significant portion of time near-shore, but seeing a gray whale above 60 degrees North in Alaska was a special treat.

We were dropped off at McMullen Cove and we packed our kayaks with a quickly rising tide. We pushed off just as the tide was beginning to touch the bows of our kayaks and paddled through the peaceful, serene, and drizzly McMullen Cove, passed a handful of lively waterfalls on the way to our lunch destination- Quicksand Cove.

Tidal Lagoon and ghost forest behind Quicksand beach.

The group gathering for a mid-day lunch in a thick mist on Quicksand Beach.

After a feasting on a delicious sandwich spread we launched and paddled north with our hearts set on reaching the 6-mile Holgate Arm of Aialik Fjord to view the magnificent tidewater face of Holgate Glacier. Paddling out of Quicksand Cove we spied mountain goats lazily munching new spring growth whilst precariously perched on unimaginably steep hillsides, and the sound of humpback whale spouts to our aft reminded us of our love for the ocean and all its' inhabitants. Before we reached the Holgate Arm we were pleasantly interrupted by one of the most unique wildlife gatherings many of us had ever seen.

Double eagle, single black bear.

As we rounded a small rocky point, we spotted from a distance the familiar white head of a bald eagle, except very unusually there were two sitting right next to each other well within their 6 foot wingspan. Having an enormous human-sized wingspan creates both a difficult landing and take-off in dense spruce foliage, especially within 6 inches of another already perched eagle. The 14 guides on the trip were already marveling at the two eagles perched so delicately next to each other when a plump black bear poked its' head out from behind the same spruce tree and paying us little attention as we paddled by. This unique wildlife combo was likely the most American thing that any of us had ever seen! 

After nearly fulfilling (never quite possible ;)) our fix of paddling, and wildlife viewing we made camp above the tideline on the north side of the Holgate Arm where we filled our bellies with local salmon and quinoa, then laid our heads to rest to the sound of a steady drizzle pitter pattering the outside of our tents and the Holgate Glacier rumbling with calving ice just a short paddle away, with the thought of tomorrows adventure gently seducing us to sleep.

 

Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking Is Officially Changing Names

When John Page first started Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking (SCSK), he named his company after Sunny Cove on Fox Island where he would run trips and spend his summers living. Many moons have passed since John lived and ran trips from Sunny Cove. John currently lives and runs his operation just south of Seward on Lowell Point. As SCSK has continued to change and grow over the years, we have started a discussion on if it is time to change the SCSK name brand to reflect the direction the company has taken over the past decade. And so it is with great excitement that after many hours of brainstorming and deliberation, we will be officially changing the name of SCSK starting summer 2016. 

What's the new name you ask? We wanted the new brand to reflect the dynamic nature of everything we offer. And so without further adieu, we are thrilled to announce that Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking will now be called...

Liquid Kayak Adventure Sixty Degree Fahrenheit

Liquid refers to the nature of our trips on the water. We will still focus on kayaking so it was important to keep that in the name. We threw adventure in there because apparently that's the thing to do in Seward. And the 60 degree clearly refers to Seward's average summer temperature. We wanted a name to distinguish ourselves from all the other companies in town and felt this one did the trick. To make it easier to pronounce, we will use the LKASDF acronym to refer to ourselves. 

We couldn't be happier to announce this monumental change. We are counting on you to spread the word to help the community learn our new brand. To make the transition as easy as possible, the new name will go into affect in the middle of the 2016 summer season.

While we are sad to say goodbye to Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking, we look forward to introducing everybody to Liquid Kayak Adventure Sixty Degree Fahrenheit! Thanks for your support and happy April 1st! :-)

~ Danny 

Winter in Seward, Alaska

We often get asked what Seward is like in the winter.  The answer is AMAZING! Sure, we have shorter daylight hours checking in at about 5 hours on the shortest day, but those short days lead to incredible light for long sunrises and sunset.

Sunrise, December 2015

Sunrise, December 2015

Sunset, December 2015.

Sunset, December 2015.

There's so much to do!  Cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, back-country skiing, sledding, heli-skiing, snow machining (snow mobiling to you out of staters), ice skating, kayaking, fishing, you name it.  If it's a winter sport it happens in Seward!

Exploring Grayling Lake

Exploring Grayling Lake

Skiing Exit Glacier Road

Skiing Exit Glacier Road

Walking in snow Small Boat Harbor

Walking in snow Small Boat Harbor

Most people think all the wildlife disappears in the winter, but that's not true with the exception of the Humpback Whales.  We often see tons of birds, sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals and eagles.

Juvenile Bald Eagle (and an unfortunate Common Murre)

Juvenile Bald Eagle (and an unfortunate Common Murre)

Harbor Seal

Harbor Seal

Yelloweyes

Yelloweyes

Sea Otter

Sea Otter

Stellar Sea Lions

Stellar Sea Lions

Seward is really an amazing place to live in the winter!