Be sure to land your kayak at least 2 miles from tidewater glaciers
Landing your Kayak
Avoid landing on beaches within two miles of a tidewater glacier. Sudden waves from calving ice can slam the shore with surprising power, sweeping away kayaks and gear stored well above the apparent high tide line.
When choosing a landing/camping site, use clues such as driftwood accumulation, beach steepness and cobble size to judge what the wave action is likely to be in storm conditions. Make sure you will be able to launch from the beach in the morning if the wind or weather changes overnight.
Be prepared to wait out storms for several days. Better to get home late than to risk paddling through potentially deadly seas. When in doubt, stay on the beach.
Specific to Kenai Fjords
Use caution when entering Northwestern Lagoon, James Lagoon or McCarty Lagoon. Tidal currents can create standing waves, boils and confusing eddies. It is best to enter these lagoons at high, slack tide.
Pedersen Lagoon should only be entered at high slack tide. Approach the mouth of the lagoon from the east, not the south, as there is a submerged bar that causes breaking waves immediately south of the entrance. Be sure to sit well offshore and analyze conditions thoroughly before entering.
Excerpted and adapted from “The Complete Guide to Kenai Fjords” copyright Greatland Graphics www.alaskacalendars.com