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Sea Kayaking

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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Monday, July 12, 2010

Wet, Wild & Wallet-Friendly: Sea Kayak the San Juan Islands

Whether you crave the salt of the ocean, a rapid river through canyon walls, or a lake to get lost on, there’s more than enough activity to be had on America’s greatest bodies of water. This summer, you can sea kayak in the San Juan Islands, surf the Pacific, even learn to scull on a hidden lake in Vermont. And, of course, like most outdoor adventures, you can do it on a budget. This week, I describe five of the best ways to get wet throughout the country. So stop sweating and go jump in a lake. 

There’s no better way to explore the myriad of San Juan Islands and its abundant marine life than from the comfortable confines of a sea kayak. During the summer months, the San Juans are home to pods of Orca (killer) whales in search of Pacific salmon.  Who needs to see Shamu at Sea World when you can kayak beside him? At any given time, you might also be accompanied by minke whales, pacific white-sided dolphins, porpoises, harbour seals, and sea lions. Birding is also exemplary with more than 300 species of birds found in the region, including bald eagles, great blue herons, and loons.  Paddle on a 3 or 4-day jaunt with Tim Thomsen, owner of San Juan Kayak Expeditions, who’s been leading tours since 1980. Thomsen knows every nook and cranny of this region. The price starts at $520, including guide, kayaks, meals, tents, and other camping equipment.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/12/10 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Top 5 Beaches in New England to Be Active: Sea Kayak Mile Beach, Georgetown, Maine

There are two types of New England beach lover. The first heads to his favorite stretch of sand, squeezes his towel in between the masses, layers on the lotion, and kisses away the day. The second thinks of the beach as a welcome mat to that great expanse of ocean that lies ahead—a starting point to a slew of activities like sea kayaking, surfing, or sailing.  Even if you prefer to stay on terra firma, there are New England beaches that cater to the mountain biker or walker. This week, I’m delving into my favorite beaches in New England to be active.  First up is Mile Beach in Georgetown, Maine.

Shrouded in an early morning mist, the fog recedes and you’re treated to a view of Maine’s coastline few have seen since Winslow Homer captured it on his canvases over a century ago. This is why one heads to Georgetown’s Reid State Park to sea kayak along the shores of Sheepscot Bay. The sand at Mile Beach soon gives way to the boulder strewn coastline where the Northern Atlantic pounds the rocks, spewing foam high into the air. Juniper pines, dwarfed by forceful gales, refuse to budge from the land above.  You’ll no doubt be joined by seals that pop their heads out of the water like periscopes to look around.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/21/10 at 01:00 PM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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