“Taking people outside can change their lives,” says Trenton Gould. It’s a statement he firmly believes, and it’s what drove him to become an outdoor educator and guide.
Trenton has guided adventurers in far-flung places: New Zealand, Africa, Southeast Asia. But it’s Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park – with its pristine water, dynamic glaciers, and abundant wildlife – that really captured his attention and led him to Kayak Adventures Worldwide. Today, Trenton runs the environmentally-conscious business, which guides more than 2,000 visitors each year on sea kayaking excursions in Resurrection Bay and into the Kenai Fjords National Park.
Sea kayaking is a very personal way to experience the wilderness of Alaska. Certainly you can see some of the same views from a tour boat, and you can even spot wildlife from shore. But a sea kayak puts you into the heartbeat of the water, allowing you to feel the connections between land and sea. It’s the closest you will get to communing with marine mammals, as your kayak glides quietly through the water, near ice chunks where harbor seals may be resting, past playful otters, sea lions, and sometimes even near majestic humpback whales!
You could rent your equipment and go it alone, but a tour with Kayak Adventures Worldwide has several advantages.
Learn something New
Kenai Fjords National Park is an open classroom for all ages. If you’re interested in learning more about the environment as you paddle through these waters and stroll the shoreline, Kayak Adventures Worldwide will not disappoint. “Because of our focus on education, we attract some really smart people who are excited about that aspect of guiding,” said Trenton. “Folks who have environmental law degrees, masters in forestry – even the president of the Harvard mountaineering club.” Your guide will help you interpret what you are seeing so you leave not just with an “ooh” and “ah,” but with a richer understanding of your experience. And for locals or those in Seward for an extended time, Kayak Adventures Worldwide offers classes in sea kayaking and wilderness medicine.
Know That Your Trip is Environmentally-Friendly
This part of the world is still wild. With more and more visitors, Trenton and the team are passionate about keeping it that way. “We think about how we can grow the business sustainably without impacting the areas we visit.” Limiting excursions to small groups (6 max), packing out all waste, and campfire-free trips are a few examples of these practices. All guides embrace Leave No Trace ethics and will show you how to reduce your impacts too. As a company, Kayak Adventures Worldwide has earned Green Star certification with green purchasing practices, recycling policies and facilities, and carries Gold Certification with Adventure Green Alaska.
Get Out and Back Safely
Sea kayaking can be tricky. Going with a trained guide who is familiar with the area allows you to focus on enjoying the trip rather than wondering how close you should be to the face of a glacier, whether it’s safe to check out this particular cove, or whether changing weather means you should head back to shore. Guides for Kayak Adventures Worldwide go through four+ weeks of paid training, much of it on the water in the areas where you’ll be headed. This is more training than any other guiding outfit in Seward, leaving your guide well-versed with safety precautions, shoreline conditions and weather patterns, as well as regulations and best practices related to wildlife viewing.
Going on an excursion with a small group of people and a friendly guide makes for a great day on the water, even if it’s rainy (which is frequently the case). Kayak Adventure Worldwide guides are on the team because they love the outdoors and want to share their excitement with others. Your guide will be focused on making sure you get the most out of your day, have a great time and want to come back again to see even more. Nervous about not having experience kayaking or what it might be like to join a group excursion if you’re traveling solo? With its focus on education, Kayak Adventures Worldwide offers a supportive environment, so everyone feels included and part of the team no matter their skill level.
Support the Local Community
A guided kayak trip is an investment, so it’s nice to know that you are helping to support the local economy. Kayak Adventures Worldwide is a small, locally-owned business that is active in the Seward community. For every kayak trip booked, it also donates $2 to the Alaska Wind for Schools program, which promotes wind energy education in schools around the state. That adds up to about $4,500 every year!
So much to explore!
Over the years, Kayak Adventures Worldwide has developed a range of excursions so that visitors can find something that fits their schedule and interests:
Aialik Bay Trip
This is a trip visitors rave about and often call the best choice they made on their entire Alaskan vacation. That’s because it blends kayaking, glacier viewing and wildlife viewing all into one magnificent day. You start with a 2.5 hour water taxi ride, which just happens to showcase the incredible wildlife in Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park. From puffins and porpoise to eagles, otters, and whales, this is a great time to have your camera out and ready. Once into the protected waters of Aialik Bay, you’ll have four hours to explore. Your stable, double kayaks are quick and allow both paddlers to share the workload. Navigate through an amazing field of floating ice chunks (or in technical terms: “growlers” and “bergy bits”) as you draw closer to the mile-wide, 500-foot tall Aialik glacier. On the way, watch for more wildlife on the shore, including black bear, or harbor seals hauled out on some of the larger pieces of ice. Once you get about half-a-mile from the glacier face, you’ll stop to admire this dynamic, continually-moving massive mountain of ice. Bring your kayaks together for a lunch out on the water, listening for the glacial groans and ice chunks crashing into the bay. As part of a safety-conscious tour, kayaks stay a half-mile from the face of the glacier so they experience rolling waves, not breaking waves, when it calves! Pull up onto a beautiful slate beach to stretch your legs, explore the flora and take pictures from another view before the water taxi arrives to take you back to Seward. This gives you another chance to spot more wildlife as a perfect ending to a very full day.
Custom Family Trips
With their natural curiosity, love of nature and wonderful way of viewing the world, children are a lot of fun to have on kayaking excursions. Kayak Adventures Worldwide is the only guiding service that offers customized family trips, where it’s just your family and a guide for a half-day or full-day. You need a minimum of three family members, but you don’t pay any more than a regular trip and you’ll have the flexibility of exploring areas that most interest your family. Whether your kids want to spend time flipping over rocks at Tonsina Point, exploring the rainforest or helping to paddle a double or triple-kayak, this is a great opportunity for family fun.
Even if you only have part of a day, you can still experience sea kayaking and see a lot on a half-day trip along the coastline to Tonsina Point. Other full-day excursions head out to Fox Island and Caines Head. Multi-day options range from fully guided camping trips, fully outfitted trips using public use cabins or a hostel, or a sweet 3- to 7-day mothership adventure with comfortable accommodations and the flexibility to stop and linger at wonderful spots along the way.
Booking and Travel Tips
Advanced bookings are highly recommended. Book online, or get in touch with Kayak Adventures Worldwide if you want to talk about what kind of trip is best for your situation.
Kayak Adventures Worldwide recommends that you invest in travel insurance for your trip to Alaska, and that you plan for a few days on either side of your preferred excursion date in case it’s cancelled due to poor weather. Trips will set out rain or shine unless high seas or high winds make travel unsafe.