Monday, June 30, 2014

Literature Spotlight – The Raven’s Gift

Something for our fiction fans out there! There has been a recent trend in post-apocalyptic movies, TV shows, and books and Don Rearden’s The Raven’s Gift displays what this genre may look like in the land of midnight sun. Taking place in the far reaches of the Alaskan tundra, a deadly epidemic strikes putting the local community into complete disarray. Written so you feel like you are immersed into America’s Last Frontier, this is a great read for those who love adventure, drama, and conspiracy theories. Not many literary pieces are set in Alaska so you will also take away an appreciation for the culture one can find in a part of the country many are unaware of. Enjoy!    

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Wildlife Spotlight - Glaucous-winged Gull

Look closely; those white spots are all birds!
That's a lot of birds.
The glaucous-winged gull, an inconspicuous bird, a simple white and gray motif.  You'll see it everywhere up here in Alaska. It's large size makes it often mistaken for an eagle when soaring high in the sky. Which at times is a fair mistake since glauscous-winged gulls have been known to kill and eat other smaller birds, even small mammals. These birds also happen to play an integral part as food for other birds of prey and spraying nutrient rich "matter" out their rear end. 

Along side these large birds you will often see their smaller cousin, the kittiwake. We have two types of kittiwake, the black and the red legged. The only way to tell them apart is a visual check of the legs. Kittiwakes love to feed on small oily fish. You will often see a large gathering of these birds above the water when a bait ball (school of small fish) has gathered. These bait balls also tend to attract whales, keeping an eye on a pack of kittiwake can sometimes reward you with a sight of some blubber.

Well these facts about gulls may not impress you, you may even ignore them when you're out and about. Yet there is no way to ignore either of these birds at their nesting grounds. The stench and the sound are over whelming. The sound and smell of thousands of gulls may not seem appealing but it is truly a sight to be seen...preferably from the inside of the boat.

~ Jack

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Trip Spotlight – Fox Island Sea Kayaking Evening Trip

Watching the sunset during the evening paddle
Ever dream of escaping to a remote wilderness island? The Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge offers overnight guests comfortable accommodations, wonderful meals and the opportunity to paddle with Sunny Cove. Sunny Cove kayaking options for overnight guests include an exclusive sunset paddle. This 8:00pm to 10:00pm paddle is a wonderful way to end the day.

Friday, June 27, 2014

History Spotlight - Klondike Gold Rush

Gold Prospectors carrying gear through treacherous terrain 
If you have been following our history spotlight posts, you will remember that when Alaska was purchased in 1867, the American public was not thrilled about tax payer money being spend on a frozen wasteland. But on August 16, 1896, that started to change with the discovery of gold in the Yukon area near the United States/Canada border.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Guide: Fox Island

Fox Island gear shed
Sunny Cove offers trips out of several locations and my personal favorite spot to be is Fox Island.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Jack Delaney

Meet Jack! Jack is from Iowa and will be a senior at the University of Northern Iowa in the fall. Jack is a Physics major who plans to teach high school physics after he graduates. This is Jack's second year guiding at Sunny Cove and here are some fast facts about Jack!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Seward Spotlight – Alaska SeaLife Center

One of my favorite places to visit in Seward is the Alaska SeaLife Center. Established with funds generated in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the SeaLife Center was created to generate and share scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alsaka’s ecosystems.
Woody the Sea Lion at the SeaLife Center

Monday, June 23, 2014

Literature Spotlight – Canoe & Kayak Magazine

Canoe & Kayak Magazine has inspired paddlers worldwide for over 37 years. Readers subscribe to Canoe and Kayak Magazine for high quality journalism, beautiful photography, destination ideas, and insights on the latest trends and gear items. If you are looking for a little extra motivation to get off the couch and on the water, this publication may be just what you are looking for. Both print and digital versions are available. I subscribed a few months ago and love it!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wildlife Spotlight: Black Oystercatcher

One of the most rare birds around, the Black Oystercatcher is a favorite among birders looking to add a new bird to their life list. Easily identified with their black body and large thin bright red beak, the eggs of these birds blend right in with the rocks along the Alaskan shoreline making coastal Alaska perfect for reproduction.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Trip Spotlight – Lowell Point Three Hour Sea Kayaking Trip

Our most popular trip! Experience the beauty of Resurrection Bay, its abundant marine life and beautiful glacial vistas on this Seward kayaking excursion from Lowell Point.
Waterfall on Tonsina Beach

Friday, June 20, 2014

History Spotlight - Lowell Family Settles in Resurrection Bay

If we have had the pleasure of having you on one of our trips, you probably are familiar with Lowell Point. This small area of land is about 2 miles south of Seward and is where Sunny Cove launches many of its trips that paddle out in Resurrection Bay. Lowell Point is named after Frank and Mary Lowell; their family was the first group of settlers to homestead in what is now Seward.

Picture taken from Lowell Point

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Guide: Kayak Camping

Colin paddling in front a glacier
We guides are privileged to get paid to do what our guests pay money to enjoy. But don't think for one second that hard work is not involved! Take our kayak camping trips for example: Colin and I recently guided a 6 day kayak camping adventure to remote Northwestern Fjord. Preparing for this type of trip takes a full day itself and includes prepping and testing gear, preparing and organizing meals, and meeting with our guests to review the trip.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Danny Meuninck

Danny is back for his 2nd season working at Sunny Cove. Originally from the Hoosier state of Indiana, he currently spends his off season in Orlando, Florida working at the University of Central Florida. Danny is one of our lead guides and our main blog author. Here's some cool stuff about him!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Literature Spotlight - Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash

Any guesses to what our largest export is as Americans? TRASH!!! The average American is set to dispose of 102 tons of trash in their lifetime.
Pulitzer-Prize winning author Edward Humes authors an excellent narrative that looks into the trash we produce as Americans and its economic and ecological cost to society. We at Sunny Cove love our oceans and unfortunately, much of this trash ends up in these pristine waters and has major ecological effects on the plant and animal life we have come to appreciate dearly. If you have an interest in environmental issues, I highly encourage you to check out Garbology and see how you can implement ways to reduce your trash output and influence people in your community to do the same. ~Danny

Monday, June 16, 2014

Seward Spotlight – Climate

Seward has a humid subarctic continental climate with cool summers and no dry season. Because of the amount of precipitation it receives, Seward is considered to be a temperate rain forest.
Beautiful Days with Beautiful Weather in Seward

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Hiking with dad
From all of us at Sunny Cove, Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there! Shout out to my dad for always being super supportive especially after I decided to move to Alaska of all places :-) If you are in town with your father, we still have plenty of space available on our afternoon trips today for a nice Father's Day paddle. To all you great fathers, have a great Father's Day!

~ Danny

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Trip Spotlight – Fox Island Sea Kayaking and Wildlife Cruise Combination

Fox Island Day Lodge
Our exclusive and unique day tour allows you to experience a half-day of sea kayaking combined with a full salmon & prime rib buffet followed by a wildlife cruise of Resurrection Bay, the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Secluded coves, bold sea stack formations and waters alive with wildlife await you. This combo is offered in conjunction with Kenai Fjord Tours.

Friday, June 13, 2014

History Spotlight - Seward's Folly

With all of Alaska's natural resources, beautiful scenery, and tourism hotspots, you would think the United States was excited to purchase this land from Russia. Think again! The year was 1867 and Russia was looking to sell it's Alaskan territory. Fearing they would lose Alaska in a conflict with the British and with the fur trade industry struggling as a result of the declining sea otter population, Russia sold off the land to the United States for just over $7,000,000.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Matt Barnes

Matt is a fourth year guide at Sunny Cove which makes him our most experienced full time guide! Matt hails from Stone Mountain, Georgia and has spent the last five summers in the great state of Alaska. Here's a little info to help you get to know Matt!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Literature Spotlight – The Thousand-Mile War: World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians

One of our kayak trips is our Caines Head Kayak & Hike Tour where we paddle to Caines Head and hike up to Fort McGilvray which is an old World War II fortification. In order to talk to our guests about the history involved here and based out of my own curiosity, I picked up and read The Thousand-Mile War which accounts the history of World War II in Alaska. By far one of my favorite reads!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Seward Spotlight – Spring Creek Correctional Center

Spring Creek Correctional Center

Located across Resurrection Bay in Seward sits Spring Creek Correctional Center; a maximum security prison that houses over 500 inmates.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Trip Spotlight – Kenai Fjords National Park Grand Day Tour: Whale Watching, Tidewater Glacier Viewing, and Sea Kayaking

Searching for that up-close and personal Alaska whale watching, tidewater glacier viewing and sea kayaking experience, but don't have the time for our kayak camping adventures? This is the trip for you!
In front of Holgate Glacier

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Guide: Training

New guides practicing their paddle talk
The season is starting to pick up and we were excited to bring on some new dynamic guides this season.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Wildlife Spotlight: The Barnacle!

While kayaking along our shores, you will see a layer of white near the water's edge. Upon closer examination, you will see that what makes this white layer are several small organisms called barnacles.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

History Spotlight: Bering Expedition

I'm a big fan of learning about the history of different places I visit so I will be trying to send out periodic historical Alaskan spotlights throughout the summer for any other history nerds like me out there. First up we will start with one of the first great voyages to Alaska; the 1741 Bering Expedition.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Seward Spotlight – William H. Seward

  1. Seward is named after William H. Seward. Seward was the Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson and was responsible for the United States purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7,000,000.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Staff Spotlight – Stephanie Millane

Stephanie is from the cheese state of Wisconsin and has been working for Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking since 2006 and currently serves as the operations manager. Here are some fun facts about Stephanie!