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Thread: The Aleutians

  1. #1

    Default The Aleutians

    Has anyone here kayaked around the Aleutians?

    Do you have any good route recommendations? Best time to go, etc.

    Ideally, I'd like to sea the Islands of Four Mountains, for obvious reasons (see pic) but I'd also like to avoid a huge water taxi (water taxi = $$$) and not put myself out there too far on my first trip. So I was thinking of the waters around Adak or Unalaska.

    I've never been out there so any experiences would be helpful.

  2. #2

    Default Unalaska

    I lived on Unalaska for almost six years and fished, hunted and boated the entire time. I never kayaked there although we did go to PWS to kayak. Way to much big and open water in the Aleutians for my taste-even in a sport fishing boat I saw my life flash before my eyes on three seperate occasions in situations that developed in a heartbeat. Having said that there was a group of folks who did day trips and there were some who did longer trips including some from off the island who did (I heard) a circumnavigation of Unalaska Island. Check out the following website Jeff Handcock is a local and the owner and I believes he still does kayak trips. Good luck and be safe.
    Ruby at the end of a good day.

  3. #3

    Default Unalaska

    I too lived there for three years, and although I never kayaked there, I too would have to say that Jeff would be the person to contact.

  4. #4


    Having a local guide is always a good idea. I may start small and work my way up. I'd just love to get out there. If I have my boat with me and can get out for even just an afternoon then that would be great.

    Thanks again for the contact.

  5. #5


    I'm alittle late on this but You might want to check out this video:

    Birthplace of the Winds Sea Kayaking Alaska

    by John Bowermaster

    A three week journey from California to halfway between Alaska and Russia where the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea collide. Sea kayaking among the five volcanic Aleutian Islands where winds can exceed a hundred miles an hour and the islands rise straight out the seas.

  6. #6

    Default Aleutians

    Unalaska is probably a good place to start when it comes to visiting the Aleutians. I lived there and kayaked a very small portion of the area in a Feathercraft K1. The summer months between late June to early Sept. are probably the best to find lower winds and less rain. I never did a long expedition but can tell you Jeff H. is the person to talk to to set up any type of trip in the area through Aleutian Adventure Sports. He has a trip that he does out to the Four Mountains usually once a year. There isn't much that is cheap out in the Aleutians. Adak will be more expensive.
    I never had any problems in my kayak out there but if you are a beginner it isn't a good place to start. There are big winds that will come out of nowhere so it is crucial that you can get in and out of your kayak if you get dumped by an odd 6-10 footer. When the waves pick up you could see waves up to 20 feet if you are on the right side of the island.
    It is an incredible area to kayak in that it gives you the feeling of being on the dark side of the moon. There are few to no trees on the islands except for the National Forest on Unalaska. Good luck

  7. #7


    Thanks Mtn Bnd.

    I wouldn't consider myself a beginner kayaker but the possibility of 20 footers has a serious pucker factor that should get anyone to think twice. Most of my kayaking experience is from white water.

    What really got me thinking about this trip is a used Klepper that I picked up. With a boat I could easily fly the range of possibilities opened up. Any thoughts on how well suited folding kayaks are for this? Or do you really want the speed and rigidness of a plastic or glass boat.

    Thanks everyone for the comments. This season is out so this will give me plenty to think about and people to talk to for next year.

  8. #8


    The klepper while slow is an excellent boat for big water. I did a Gustavus to Hoonah crossing in big water several years ago. I've been in Shelikof Strait in highwinds with it as well. Its an extremely stable boat with the sponsons on the side. For the Aleutians, I suggest practice practice and practice. You don't want anything lacking in your skill set.

  9. #9
    Member Riptide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default Klepper not the boat

    The Klepper is a terrible boat for wind. WayToo much above the water. Its also a terrible boat for surf landing. I would never take a kleeper into the open ocean myself, much less the most intense region of them all. Many have used Kleppers in the open ocean over the years but none in the Aluetians that I've heard of anyway. I would suggest you take advantage of the new and improved kayaks we now have available to us.

    You'll want a good greenland style kayak that is plastic. Stay on one island too. Don't attempt interisland treks due to intense tidal flows. I cant warn you enough about this region.

    I would not recomend you start your sea kayaking career in the Aluetians. Thats the post -graduate school of the "school of hard Knocks!!!"

  10. #10
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Adak

    Adak is not expensive... you can get to Adak from Anchorage for under $400.00 ,, you can buy airmiles from Alaska airlines .. its only 15,000 airmiles for a roundtrip,, and you can buy those for about $350.00 plus the fee's associated with buying miles....
    in state flights on Alaska Airlines permit 3 luggage per person .. this allows 150 lbs per person to haul around with you....
    The islands around Adak are really something, you will find that they do indeed rise straight out of the ocean for the most part. Not alot of beaches or places to get out of the water safely.
    Not a place for the faint of heart,, and not a place for someone in a hurry..
    you would need to be able to stay put in a fjord etc. waiting out good flatter water rather than head out into marginal water conditions.
    I took a 13 foot inflatable sport boat out to Adak, and enjoyed it..
    All my exploring was done in calm seas, with nothing bigger than short chop.. I am not the thrill seeker I once was....
    But I do have some great stories from years past.... and I am glad I had those thrilling adventures.. my trip from Seward to Homer in Sea Kayak is one of my favorite recalls..
    I would say that the chain would offer similar conditions...
    like 12 foot

    this is the dock at Adak,, notice the flat water in the bay,, the whole ocean was flat that day,, the next day.... not so flat...
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years.


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