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

Part 4 - Down the Yukon River page 5 of 5

Ray and Jenny 1988

Saga of the Sea Tub

A 3,300 mile Journey to the North

Part 4 - Down the Yukon River

Ray Jardine

The summer of 1988, Jenny and I embarked on a 3,300 sea-kayaking voyage along the Pacific coasts of Canada and SW Alaska, over the Chilkoot Trail by portage, and down the Yukon River. This is the forth in a series of articles about the Saga of the Sea Tub.



In the initial 62 days we have paddled and sailed our two-person kayak 1,085 miles through the Inside Passage, and portaged it over the Chilkoot Trail. Now on the shore of Lake Lindeman we reassemble the boat and paddle through a series of connecting lakes to reach the headwaters of the Yukon River. Thus begins our 2,058 mile kayak journey down the Yukon. Taking advantage of the current, we paddle long hours and cook our meals afloat. Before the river slows we manage several 100-mile days.

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

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

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

Beautiful Lake Laberge on the Yukon River.

Breakfast is cooked and served aboard the Sea Tub.

A typically beautiful campsite on the Yukon river.

This squirrel had apparently fallen into the river, and the wind and currents swept it so far out that it had no chance of swimming back. It was close to drowning when we happened along. I scooped up its limp and nearly lifeless body, and placed it on the kayak's deck immediately behind my seat for shelter from the headwinds. And there the little fellow rode for an hour or so, slowly recuperating. When we did finally pull in to shore, we had to persuade the squrrel to debark. Once it got the idea, it scampered away into the brush.

A beaver swims past the kayak in dense fog.

In the wee hours, Jenny sleeps while I paddle.

We actually found this little tugboat on the river.

Strong offshore wind on the Yukon.

A new form of wildlife presents itself, in the form of one big, furry dog. Where it had come from and how it had found us we haven't a clue.

We reach the Bering Sea, and for a few moments the American continent lies behind us. Turning around, we paddled back up the Yukon river 12 miles to the Eskimo village of Emmonak

At the Emmonak airstrip, a turbo-powered Cessna lands and taxies to a stop before our pile of gear. Fortunately there are no other passengers, so the pilot stows the four aft seats, secures the bulkhead safety net, then helps us load our big and heavy bags.

Saga of the Sea Tub, Part 4

© 1988 Ray Jardine

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