Imagine a kayak trip that explores a place even more remote than our Frederick Sound adventure but still departs from Petersburg. The Tebenkof Wilderness Area is an emerald region legislated to remain preserved for future generations. In these pristine surroundings you are more likely to hear the blows of whales than any sound of man. The only human presence you might see, other than your sea kayaking comrades, could be a glimpse of a distant fishing boat. More often will be sightings of humpback whales and other marine mammals. We expect whale watching to be even better on this kayak expedition than at Big Creek basecamp.
Tebenkof Bay is a complex of fertile fjords carved into 65 mile-long Kuiu Island. Although Kuiu Island doesn’t have any active glaciers like LeConte Bay, it does have the severe, rolling terrain created by recent passage of heavy ice. The central portion of Kuiu is dominated by a cluster of mountains ranging up to 3,325 feet. Intricate marine waterways and fresh wetlands nearly bisect the island and several portages of less than 5 miles allow one to cross the entire island on foot. Where drainage is poor, a unique bog-like habitat called muskeg dominates. The annual rainfall of approximately 100 inches has cloaked Kuiu’s uplands in a dense growth of moss-covered hemlock and spruce. June through mid-August is the driest time of year to visit the Tongass rainforest.
Marine mammals thrive in Tebenkof, including humpback, minke, and orca whales; two kinds of porpoise, harbor seals, northern sea lions, and sea otter. Perhaps the cutest marine mammal of all, mustachioed sea otters dive for rich shellfish beds beneath their floating kelp forests. Eagles and other marine birds abound. On land there are black bear, timber wolves, Sitka black-tailed deer, river otters, mink, martin, beaver, and more. Several salmon species spawn in the streams along our kayak trip route, affording amazing views of one of nature’s most exciting spectacles.
Tebenkof Wilderness Alaska Kayak Tour Itinerary
Please note that itineraries of Alaska kayak trips may change spontaneously due to Mother Nature’s whims!
- Day 1: Fly or ferry into Petersburg, Alaska. Enjoy this quaint little town after settling into your hotel. Meet the group and kayak guides at 7:30pm for a briefing and final check of everyone’s personal equipment.
- Day 2: Board a float plane to Kuiu Island and the Tebenkof Wilderness. The 45 minute flight will reveal spectacular views of Mitkof Island, Rocky Pass, and Kuiu Island. The seaplane will land in Elena Bay near Alecks Creek at the northern end of the wilderness area where we make our first camp. That afternoon we learn sea kayaking skills and safety followed by a fresh seafood dinner and beach campfire.
- Day 3: After a hearty breakfast we pack up the sea kayaks and island-hop our way across Tebenkof Bay to a new campsite near the Troller Islands and Explorer Basin. The route takes us through prime humpback whale watching areas and kelp forests favored by pods of sea otters. One of the best camp activities is to sit on shore and watch the mother otters nursing and playing with their young pups.
- Day 4: Today we explore our surroundings by sea kayak and foot. The Explorer Basin and Windfall Islands yield excellent wildlife sightings and scenic vistas of the wilderness. Daylight hours in Alaska are quite long and there is time for photography, fishing, beachcombing, or just lounging around. Your expedition staff is available at all times to lead walks, identify flora and fauna, and discuss the natural history of the area.
- Day 5: We point our sea kayaks south to explore the myriad coves and islands in the southern end of the Tebenkof Wilderness.
- Day 6: This morning we break camp to travel to the northwest corner of the Wilderness area and investigate Gap Point and Happy Cove. Later, we hike up Alecks Creek trail to immerse ourselves in the coastal rainforest habitat. We should find sign of black bear, wolves, deer, or other wildlife.
- Day 7: Last chance to enjoy the ancient rainforest before the float plane arrives to return us to Petersburg this afternoon. The last night of our Alaska kayak adventure is spent in a hotel. Later, gather with the guides for a no-host dinner to share stories of our kayak vacation and bid each other farewell.
- Day 8: Off to your next adventure!
Join an Alaska Kayaking Trip for Your Vacation!
Meeting Location: Petersburg, Alaska.
Kayak Trip Fee: $2999 per person for groups of 10. Small group surcharges apply.
Kayak Tour Dates: Available on a custom trip basis only, please provide us with your requested dates and group size.