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Kayaking Glacier Bay

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With no road access, Glacier Bay National Park is a marine wilderness which can be explored only by water travel. While most visitors experience the park through the deck of a cruise ship or tour boat, Arnd Pralle and I set up to kayak for nearly two weeks so that we could experience the vastness of the bay through a low waterline, observe closely wildlife thanks to a quiet vessel, cross narrow channels and iceberg-chocked passageways not accessible to boats, paddle and land as close to the glaciers as possible, and camp on isolated beaches. Despite the wet weather, huge tides and currents, ice-cold waters, we came to appreciate why the Bay is considered by many to be among the finest sea-kayaking grounds in the world. Using the park water shuttle system to get our double kayak closer to our destinations, we were able to explore the intensely wild world of the tranquil Muir Inlet, closed to cruise boats, and then the spectacular West arm, up to the John Hopkins inlet. See also the scenic pictures of Glacier Bay National Park.

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Kayaks loaded on the deck of Glacier Bay Lodge concession boat. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker standing with gear wrapped in plastic bags after drop-off. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker pulling on shore at midnight, Muir Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Camp on the flats near McBride Glacier with kayak parked nearby. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Diner close to Adams Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayakers relaxing on a beach between Rendu Inlet and Russel Island. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker tying up gear on top of the kayak,  East Arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Camp in front of Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Camper in a tent looking outside to Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Eating breakfast in front of Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker dwarfed by Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker at the base  of Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker on ice-chocked waters close to John Hopkins Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaks prow, floating icebergs, and glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker tows kayak near Scidmore Bay. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker tows kayak into a shallow tidal channel into Scidmore Bay. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker packing tight into a double kayak. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker unloading the kayak by throwing stuff sacks out. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Campfire in Charpentier Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayakers paddle a double kayak in Hugh Miller Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Hiker looking at a tree carved by native Tlingit indians, Bartlett Cove. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayakers in dry suits on the deck of Glacier Bay Lodge concession boat. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker comes down Glacier Bay Lodge concession boat for a drop-off. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker standing with gear wrapped in plastic bags after drop-off. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker retrieving kayak after drop-off. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker loading gear into a double kayak. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Eating on the shores of Muir Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker unloading gear from a double kayak. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker paddling in Muir Inlet at midnight. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker paddling in Muir Inlet at midnight. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Camp on the flats near McBride Glacier with kayak parked nearby. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Taxi boat, kayaks, and icebergs near McBride Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker paddling in Muir Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker paddling away from shore in Muir Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker standing next to dry bag and kayak on a small island in Muir Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker getting into the kayak,  Muir Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker firing up the stove,  Muir Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker looking at the map, East Arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayakers enjoying the rare sunshine after dinner, East Arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayakers getting into their tents for the night,  East Arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker sitting at a rear of a double kayak with the Fairweather range in the background. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker tying up gear on top of the kayak,  East Arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Large format photographer wearing kayaking gear on a beach in East Arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Camp on an outcrop overlooking the East Arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker unloading kayak. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker towing kayak, East arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker towing kayak, East arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker towing kayak, East arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Cruise ship, East arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayak and cruise ship, East arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayak and cruise ship, East arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker paddles in  a shallow tidal channel into Scidmore Bay. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker standing in Scidmore Bay next to a shallow tidal channel. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker towing the kayak in the narrowest part of a tidal channel into Scidmore Bay. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker standing in Scidmore Bay next to a shallow tidal channel. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayakers land in Hugh Miller Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayakers land in Hugh Miller Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayakers in Hugh Miller Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Camper lying in sleeping bag looks at Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Campers set-up a tent in front of Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Eating in front of Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Cooking in front of Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Eating in front of Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Setting up a tent in front of Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Setting up a tent in front of Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Camper, tent, and East Arm. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker sitting in loaded double kayak near Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker pausing amongst icebergs near John Hopkins Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Photographing John Hopkins Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker dwarfed by the front of Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker bellow  the front of Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker paddling bellow Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker paddling away from Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker paddling amongst icebergs. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker dwarfed by Lamplugh Glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker and icebergs. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayaker paddling amongst icebergs near John Hopkins Inlet. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska Kayak's prow, floating icebergs, and glacier. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

All text and photos © Q.-T. Luong. See conditions for use of images. All the 78 pictures of Kayaking Glacier Bay are on this page