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Sea Kayaking

Friday, September 07, 2012

Vermont Week, Paddling Lake Champlain

If you live on the shores of 120-mile long Lake Champlain, you better love to play in water. On any day during early fall, you can find sailboats tacking back and forth, sea kayakers heading out to the Lake Champlain islands, ferries crossing over to the Adirondack Mountains in New York state, and scuba divers. That’s right, scuba divers. The cool waters of New England’s largest lake contain one of the finest collections of wooden shipwrecks in North America. The list includes the Revolutionary War boat, Philadelphia, pulled from the waters in 1935 to sit in the Smithsonian Institute, and the Eagle, Allen, and Linnet, three naval craft that participated in the War of 1812. In September, the water on Lake Champlain is still warm enough to go swimming, sailing, and sea kayaking. If you want to kayak with a local guide, go with Abenaki Outfitters in Shoreham


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/07/12 at 12:00 PM
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sea Kayaking the Bay of Fundy

On my last day in New Brunswick, I headed an hour drive southwest of Moncton to Fundy National Park. The Bay of Fundy is home to the highest recorded tides in the world, often in excess of 40 feet, so I’ve always wanted to check out the current on a sea kayak. In Alma, I met up with Fresh Air Adventures for a half-day jaunt along the rugged coast. We had to paddle against the winds on the way out to open water, looking at Nova Scotia across the bay. The big of body of water was quiet, no fishermen, no other sea kayakers, as we made our way along the shoreline. Tall spruce and firs stood tall atop the craggy rock. When we stopped at a deserted beach, we spotted deer. After a snack, we cruised with the current, practically surfing atop the waves back to town. Even with the strong current, the long sea kayaks were sturdy and I never felt like I was going to go for a dip in the frigid waters. For an encore, we stopped at Hopewell Rocks on the drive back to Moncton. The iconic image of the Bay of Fundy, the tall rocks are carved by the perennial surf and are always evolving. Often referred to as “flowerpot rocks,” many of the formations have trees sprouting out of the top, thus resembling flowerpots. We can check this one off the bucket list. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/21/12 at 12:00 PM
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Favorite Travel Days 2011, Sea Kayaking Sheepscot Bay, Georgetown, Maine


North of Freeport, Maine, fingers of land dangle down from coastal Route 1 to create miles of sheltered bays to paddle. One of my favorite spots is Georgetown, where last June, I rented a room at Coveside B&B and had Seaspray Kayaking deliver an oceanworthy kayak to their docks. Careful not to start or end near low tide (or I’ll be digging for clams in the muck), I paddled south past the lobster boats to the Five Islands Lobster Company wharf. On the way, I spotted ospreys sitting atop their oversized nests, seals popping their heads out of the water like periscopes, and the distinctive orange beak of the American Oystercatcher. Yet, the reason this little jaunt makes my list of top five favorite days is the kayaking north on Little Sheepscot River, sheltered from the surf by MacMahan Island. The boulder-strewn shoreline is draped in seaweed and topped with velvety moss, creating a soothing, shady retreat in the late afternoon hours. An image that I remember vividly more than six months later. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/12/12 at 02:00 PM
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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Cruise Alaska with AdventureSmith Explorations

Adventure cruising might sound like an oxymoron, but more and more cruise lines are jumping on the active lifestyle bandwagon as the demand grows. A younger clientele and athletic baby boomers have helped transform an industry best known for its all-you-can-eat buffets and cozy chaise lounge chairs to one where a weeklong itinerary might include sea kayaking, biking, hiking, scuba diving, ziplining, and rock climbing. Leading the way is Todd Smith and his small ship cruises at AdventureSmith Explorations. New next summer in Alaska is the Glacier Country Cruise, with a full slate of sea kayaking, hiking, and paddleboarding options. It’s the best of both worlds, because after a day of adventure, you’ll get to return to the 86-passenger yacht and relax in the hot tubs, get a massage, or down a glass of wine from their extensive wine list. Then there’s the Glacier Bay and Islands excursion that is run by members of the Tlingit Kaagwaantaan Clan and focuses on First Nations culture and indigenous flora and fauna. You’ll never think of cruising in the same way again. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/07/11 at 02:00 PM
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Sea Kayak the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

South of Anchorage, the shores of the Kenai Peninsula are glacial-carved inlets where 4,000 foot peaks plummet into the waters below.  Katchemak and Tutka Bays stretch more than ten miles into the forested interior, protected from the nasty glaciers and swells of the Gulf of Alaska. Sea otters, sea lions, porpoises, eagles, and seals use these relatively calm waters as a safe haven, and now sea kayakers are following their lead.  Through the second week of September, True North Kayak Adventures out of Homer organizes three-day adventures into this fjord-like setting. You’ll spend your days paddling under 400-foot waterfalls or hiking up one of the small peaks to get an eagle’s vantage point of the landscape.  At night, you’ll camp on Yukon Island and feast on freshly caught salmon. Trips start at $495 per person, including guides, food, and tents.

I’ll be leaving today on a two-week trip to the Canadian Rockies, starting with a weeklong family adventure jaunt with my friends at Austin-Lehman Adventures. We’ll spend two additional nights in Jasper at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, before taking an overnight train on VIA Rail into Vancouver. After spending three nights in the city, we’ll take a ferry over to Salt Spring Island, a personal favorite of Seattle-based writer and BC travel guru, Eric Lucas. I’ll be back on August 8th with an update on western Canada. Enjoy these two weeks, and, as always, keep active!

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/22/11 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Sea Kayaking Maine’s Sheepscot Bay

In 1999, I was hired by Men’s Journal magazine to pen a story about inn-to-inn sea kayaking along the Maine coast. Under the helm of the Director of Fun, Jeff Cooper, owner of H2Outfitters, we spent our days paddling along the rugged Maine shoreline Winslow Homer made famous, watching seals pop their heads out of the water like periscopes to look around, and the ever-present lobstermen, zipping from buoy to buoy to pull up their catch. It was really the best of both worlds. After showering, we would dine on lobster and steamers at a local lobster-in-the-rough joint and then sleep in a comfortable bed. How bad can that be? This Thursday, I’ll be headed back to my favorite spot on that trip, Georgetown, to sea kayak from the exquisite beach of Reid State Park into the waters of Sheepscot Bay. After spending the afternoon paddling with Seaspray Kayaking, we’ll dine at Five Islands Lobster Company and spend the night at Coveside B&B. A perfect day in Maine!

 I’m leaving for Maine tomorrow and I’ll be back on July 18th.  Have an active week!


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/11/11 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Chasing Icebergs in Newfoundland

Some of us chase after the morning train to get to work. The more indulgent will chase down that shot of bourbon with a pint of Guinness. And the truly intrepid? They follow Ed English as he chases icebergs. Come May, it’s not unusual for villages on the east coast of Newfoundland to wake up to a mountain of electric blue ice the size of a 15-story building.  The icebergs calve from the glaciers of western Greenland and begin a slow 1900-mile journey south with the Labrador Current on a route dubbed Iceberg Alley. English, co-owner of Explore Newfoundland, takes sea kayakers up to Quirpoon Island, the northernmost point of Newfoundland, to get as close as possible to the huge crystalline structures before they float away. An added bonus are the pods of humpback, minke, and occasional beluga whales who feed in Iceberg Alley as they make their way north. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/18/11 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Sea Kayaking Saguenay Fjord with H2Outfitters

Writer Walt Whitman described the waters of Quebec’s Saguenay Fjord as “dark as ink, exquisitely polished and sheeny under the August sun.”  That’s exactly the time of year you’ll be headed to Saguenay on a weeklong camping trip with the highly reputable sea kayaking outfitter, H2Outfitters. From August 13-20, you'll kayak the length of the fjord as you slice through this St. Lawrence estuary, a Marine Park in Canada, alongside walls of ash colored rock that rise some 1,150 feet.  An added bonus is that this sheltered cove is a rich feeding ground for whales. Humpbacks, smaller minkes, and the cuddly white belugas have all been spotted on past trips. The put-in is located 2 ½ hours northeast of Quebec City and cost is $975 per person, including camping fees, guides, kayaks, and all meals.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/18/11 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sea Kayaking with My 80 Year-Old Dad on Lake George

When I tell people that I find Lake George more exquisite than Lake Tahoe, Lake Powell, or even that wondrous lake to the north, Champlain, they often look at me bewildered.  They equate the lake with the honky-tonk village on the southern tip, packed with T-shirt and fudge shops, video arcades, hokey haunted houses, a requisite water park, and my personal favorite, Goony Golf, a miniature golf course crowded with huge fairy tale characters. All folks have to do is drive about ten miles north on Route 9N to find the far more charming town of Bolton Landing. This section of the 31-mile long lake is more like a river, narrow and hemmed in by the peaks, offering vintage Adirondack beauty that once inspired Hudson River School painters to grab their canvases and head north, followed by Georgia O’Keeffe and her camera-toting husband Alfred Stieglitz.

Growing up in Schenectady, New York, we would make the hour-drive to Bolton Landing on a regular basis to reach our sailboat docked just out of town. Now I return on an annual basis with my family to visit my father and his wife who summer here, and treat my kids to a good dose of natural adventure. One of my favorite things to do is rent sea kayaks on Green Island and paddle around the classic Adirondack resort, the Sagamore, a large wedding cake of a hotel that’s been the lake’s premier address for over a century. This past weekend, I persuaded my dad and his wife, Ginny, to join me. I put my father in the front of a double kayak that I steered while Ginny paddled alongside us in a single kayak. The wind was strong and the waves choppy as we approached the sloping grounds of the Sagamore, but soon we were around the island singing sea shanties. Whether you sail, sea kayak, or prefer a motor boat, get out on this lake and make some memories.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/07/10 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Yoga and Whales in Baja this November

Sea Kayak Adventures, who’ve I’ve recommended in the past as one of the most renowned sea kayaking outfitters in Baja, has just announced two adventures geared to yoga lovers. The all-women November 4-9 trip and co-ed November 9-14 jaunt will feature daily yoga sessions led by certified instructor, Julie Zimmerman. Start your day with yoga on a deserted beach and then go kayaking with dolphins, sea lions, fin whales, and all the other marine life that call the Sea of Cortez home. Each evening begins with a restorative yoga session while guides prepare dinner. No prior kayaking experience is necessary and the $1095 cost includes two nights in a Loreto hotel, three nights camping, four days of guided paddling, all meals while camping, and daily yoga sessions.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/24/10 at 01:00 PM
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about us
photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

Adventure Travel Trade Association