Saga of Sea Tub

Sea-kayaking Anacortes, Washington to Emmonak, Alaska

Northern Paddling Adventure #1

100 days, 3,392 miles, Apr-Jul 1988

Ray & Jenny Jardine

Sea Tub - Synopsis page 1 of 5

Our 3,300 mile Journey through the Inside Passage, over the Chilkoot Trail, and down the Yukon River to the Bering Sea.

April 25, 1988 we began our summer's adventures by putting our 2-person collapsible kayak into the water at Anacortes, Washington. Navigating the coasts of British Columbia and of the Southeastern panhandle of Alaska, we paddled 1,085 miles in 50 days. Characterizing this portion of the trip were frequent big waves and rough seas, lots of rain, stunning scenery, the occasional iceberg, and a profusion of wildlife sighted at close range - including killer whales which surfaced sometimes a boat's length away.

The town of Skagway, Alaska lies at the northern terminus of the great Inland Passage. From there we paddled 4 miles up the Taiya River, then disassembled the boat to begin an overland portage of the historic Chilkoot Trail, route of the Klondike goldrush stampeeders. For 7 days we carried 80-pound packs, making 2 trips over the snowbound, high mountain pass. By the time we reached the first ice free lake we had hiked a total of 95 miles.

On the shore of Lake Lindeman we reassembled the boat and paddled through a series of connecting lakes to reach the headwaters of the Yukon River. Thus began our 2,058 mile kayak journey down the mighty Yukon. Taking advantage of the current, we paddled long hours and cooked our meals afloat. Before the river slowed we managed several 100-mile days.

The 24-hour sun beat down relentlessly - often we gained relief from the heat by diving off the kayak's bow.

After 31 days of river paddling we reached the open waters of the Bering Sea, and for a few minutes the American continent lay behind us.

Turning around, we paddled back upriver 12 miles to the Eskimo village of Emmonak. After disassembling the boat and packing it into flight bags, we summoned a bush plane by radio. Feeling we were leaving Alaska all too soon, but pleased at having achieved our goal, we flew out to Anchorage and on to the lower 48.

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