A day on the water

dinner time

People often ask us what our days are like, what we eat, where we sleep, if we get bored. Here is a synopsis:

where to now

It’s funny how after all the days paddling I push my boat out into the water, slide in, my hands reach out for the paddle and for some reason my arms move back and forth as if on autopilot. Sometimes I forget I even have a paddle in my hands as I talk to Anna and look at the scenery. We have formed routines.

coming in to find camp

We kayak for a couple hours taking breaks and eating something to regenerate our bodies until lunch. Look at the map deciding what dirction we should take and hoping for favorable waters. With out talking we know when we need lunch and look for a good place to stop and eat. Always looking for decent places to land our boats with out barnacles or mussels or sharp rocks but sometimes it comes down to running up and finding logs to lay down and sliding our boats onto them. And hoping for calm waters on reentry. Or sometimes we find an eddy (place in the water that stalls out so we don’t get sucked backwards) to pull into because the cliffs don’t allow us to land our boats and we bob around and eat or lunch wanting to stretch our legs but can’t.

eating on the water

Onward we paddle looking for wildlife, talking and thinking. Somedays are incredibly beautiful and full of animals and others are quiet and monotonous and we look for things to talk about or the worst is when I somehow get a song stuck in my head. Like this really annoying Laddy Gagga song or the start to Giligins Island, and even Titanic theme song. And I might just be childish and mention it to the person beside me on purpose to see if she starts humming it annoyingly. Somedays are longer than others. Weather might push us off in four hours or somedays we long for weather days when eight hours slides to twelve hours and we race to make it as far as we can to get to a certain spot so are set up well to make a crossing in the morning when the waters are calmest.

Johns Hopkins Glacier

Many times we come in from a long day of paddling, pop our sprayskirts, unfold our legs from the Chinese finger trap and slide our boats up on shore and just want to go to sleep. But immediately we start looking to see if the beach will allow us to set up our tent or look for a nice clearing in the woods that has a semi flat spot with only a few rocks and roots sticking up. Our eyes scan for water, a nice place to rest our boats above the next highest tide, and any sign of bear (bear scat, bear trail, bear up rooting).

I enjoy finding the next place, it’s like we’re buying a new home and we get to make it our grand palace. We unpack our gear and food so we can lift our boats to higher ground. Set up our tent which has become more of a speed game than anything, trying to see if we can get it up faster then last time. Unroll our sleeping pad and throw out our sleeping bag. And with in a few minutes we have our new home.

We always want to get to camp before dinner time so we have time to roam around, read and just relax but sometimes we slide in late and have to start cooking soon after. As the stove is being primed and lit and the kitchen is layed out on the ground in front of us, someone starts filtering water and digging through the drybags looking to see what’s for dinner. We have found many enjoyable meals that are fun to cook on the beaches. Between mexican food, pastas, Thanksgiving, to stir fry and pizza and our favorite- breakfast for dinner. Siting in our chairs we look out to the waters enjoying the best seat in the house and talk about the good times and chow down on another great meal.

Kitchen with a view

Dishes get cleaned down at the waters edge, kitchen packed back in a bag, boats get repacked up and tied to a tree. Then right before bed we have to decide if we will hang the food in trees to keep the bears and other animals from eating it. Or do we leave our valuable food in our kayak and hope the local bears don’t associate human’s with food. It is one of the harder things I try not to worry about.

relaxing on ice

Double checking our campsite for misplaced items before we head to bed, we take a moment and look out at the world around us and think how lucky we are to be experienceing this trip. Ducking into our tent to get a good nights sleep we find that spot to allow our bodies to relax and melt in to the sleeping pad. I look up at the tent as I lay there and smile because I look forward to the next day and really enjoy waking up and knowing I am in a tent outside. Granted the day it is raining sideways or the sun is up early and it’s a 85 degrees is not the days that we enjoy the most but they all have a place in our memories that make this trip what it is.

Say no to sand in the tent

Morning comes with a loud obnoxious alarm telling us to get up but we fight it with hitting the snooze button and grabbing 10 more minutes. Slowly we pull our tired bodies out of bed and grugenly put our cold waterproof bibs on and shove our feet or wet shoes. One starts making breakfast as the other one stuffs away the house into drybags. Pulling out all our gear from our boats and transporting it and or boats down to the water line I sometimes think to myself how it feels like we just did this hours ago. We work hard to stuff all gear and food back in to the hatches, tossing drybags back and forth to each other using every small space available. Sometimes we have to race the tide waters as they get closer and closer to our boats because the only good spot to lay our kayaks on the beach is to close to the waters edge. Pulling our cockpit covers off we arrange our sitting area, put on our spray skirts and PFDs and lift our heavy boats back into the water. And then we slide in and let our butts mold back into place and reach out for that paddle and start the day all over again.

Cold day on the water

Some might think this is crazy other might wonder why we would want to put our selves through all this, but I feel like this is all part of the fun and adventures and I would not trade this for anything. It’s hard some days but amazing most and the trade off is when we see that amazing sunset, meet incredible people or fall asleep being serenaded by whales. It’s allowing ourselves to be scared, bored, cold, enraptured, overwhelmingly surprised, awed and exhilarated by raw nature. To feel those deep intense emotions that are so easily lost in suburbs and day jobs. This is why we do this.

enjoying the endless sunset

How many of you have one of those song stuck in ther head now?


  1. Ditto. I too go out into the wild for my taste of adventure so I can feel fully awake and alive. Next year I return to the Inside Passage for another month. Love reading your stories. Thank you.


  2. So glad you teo keep a website! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every post this far. I can’t wait to see more pictures and hear the tales of the waters in person.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s