Baranof Blog & Fishing News

kayaking through the Misty Fjords

My partner and I had just recently moved to Ketchikan for an adventure of a lifetime.  On our 2-day ferry ride to town, we worked on our Ketchikan/Southeast Alaska bucket list. One of the top items on that list was to visit the Misty Fjords National Monument.  To this point all, the sum of our experience with the Mistys was a flightseeing tour out of Ketchikan that included a brief landing on an alpine lake - or information we had read online. The pictures and history of the Ketchikan area were exciting and intriguing to us, especially New Eddystone Rock which was formed at the end of a volcanic vent where magma repeatedly rose to the surface of the earth. How amazing!  I knew once I read that I had to go and see Eddystone from a viewpoint most people never get to experience.

After a short time in Ketchikan, we had found the joy of exploring the area by kayak. That is where the idea of kayaking through the Misty Fjords was born. Anyone who has been to Ketchikan / Southeast Alaska knows the hardest thing with exploring is all the logistics and planning that is required. You can’t just plan a trip for 3-days. Storms and weather can come in fast around here and, the next thing you know, your 3-days trip has turned into a week. However, that is a different story. Being new to town and not owning our boat was one of the biggest obstacles we had in the beginning. We were lucky, however, that you can find private charter boats to take you to different locations throughout Southeast…

Because we felt this was going to be an adventure of a lifetime, we invited a group of friends and their partners from Idaho to join us.  This proved to be an excellent idea, though stressful. Being the most experienced of the group (which meant having an entire year of experience of living in Alaska), we were deemed as the most knowledgeable and the experienced for leading the voyage. If they only knew our knowledge only consisted of how much it rained in Southeast, I wonder if they still would have trusted us as much as they did.

Misty Fjords Day One

DAY ONE: The Adventure Begins

The route we had chosen included a stay for a few nights at Punchbowl cove, then kayaking to Winstanley Island Cabin for the remaining two nights.  To give our friends a different perspective of the adventure we were about to head out on, we decided to send them by float plane for a bird’s eye view of the area while my partner and I boated out with all of our gear and kayaks in the water taxi/private charter. Just before we were about to depart we told our friends, “NO MATTER what, if you arrive at Punchbowl and we are not there, DO NOT GET OUT OF THE PLANE. We have all of your gear and supplies. We are your life-line in the Alaskan wilderness.” This was the first broken rule.

The boat ride to the Misty’s was breathtaking; the waters were somewhat calm and the sun was coming through the clouds. Our captain was amazing, giving us local advice of where he suggested we drop our crab pots while at the cabin. The captain also wanted to show us an old petroglyph in the area and to see the new Winstanley cabin himself, so we decided to go by the cabin on our way to Punchbowl cove - a choice that ended up changing the entire trip. As we were circling the cabin and going through an area that is covered in water at high tide but dry on a really low tide, we hit a sunken log. That log destroyed the prop of the boat. Our captain, being the experienced sailor that he was, started the kicker and headed to the cabin so he could call for help. When we arrived at Winstanley, the Forest Service maintenance crew was just putting the last touches on the cabin. Lucky for us, the cabin was available two-days ahead of schedule. “Perfect! We will do our trip backward,” we decided. Now to relay that information to the rest of the group…

Our friends departed Ketchikan by floatplane an hour later. Final destination; Punchbowl Cove. This was the group’s first time in Alaska, so they had no idea what was in store for their time in the Alaskan wilderness.  The only regret we have is not seeing their faces when they flew through the Misty’s. What I do know is they saw a pod of Orcas by Eddystone, which caused someone later in the adventure a little bit of a panic situation. There was so much to take in they had forgotten the one rule we had told them before we parted ways. They were so excited to look around, not realizing at the time we were stranded at the cabin with all of the gear, food, and the kayaks, they left the plane and decided to wander around and wait for us because we should be there at any moment. Thankfully, the pilot of the floatplane decided to look for us on his way back to town. He came by the cabin and we were able to flag him down. Once he landed we explained the situation and how there was no way we could make it to the group by nightfall. So, the decision was made; he would go back and pick up the group and bring them to the cabin.

Wow!! The cabin was awesome, and we were its first occupants. We moved in quickly, ready to get in our gear and head out on the water in our kayaks to drop the crab pots and show the group the petroglyphs on the wall the captain of our boat had pointed out earlier. That night the excitement of the week to come was high. The fire was perfect, the crab pots empty, but the moods were high.


Tags: Misty Fjords Kayaking friends private charters Posted in Misty Fjords
Share it
Captains Report
From the Wheelhouse
Our captain’s report on up-to-date fishing conditions, regulations, and trends.
View Report
Future Blogs
Check Back For These Great Upcoming Stories
  • Overnight kayaking through the Mistys Fjords
    Nothing breaks you into the beauties of the Misty's like a week paddling through her splendor.

  • SE Alaska 2019 Fishing Regulations
    Fishing limits and the Fish & Game’s reasoning, and what it means for Baranof’s guests.

  • Adventure around Revillagigedo Island
    Misty's, Hot Springs, Fishing, Crabbing, and wildlife; the experience of a lifetime.
Alaskan Anecdotes
Campfire Stories
Stories told by our guides, from local children, commercial, Ketchikan historical stories.
View Stories