I am interested in kayaking but also very interested in native culture. I currently have reserved the Saxman tour for Ketchikan and plan on spending some Anchorage time (2 full days in Anchorage total) at the Native Heritage Center (after a Denali visit...no Seward this time). I'm trying to figure out how to work kayaking into the schedule. My other ports are pretty well booked (hiking, glacier trek-helicopter, wildlife viewing). My time in Ketchikan is limited (6:30-2:30 I believe) and I also want to explore town.
The options seem to be (1) giving up on Saxman in favor of Ketchikan kayaking and then rely on the Native Heritage Center for the cultural side of things, (2) following the original plan and spend part or all of 1 Anchorage day driving to and kayaking from Whittier or (3) vicariously enjoy the kayaking experience by reading about other people doing it.
Is the second option overly complicated/stressful? This concept of timing for a tunnel that is apparently only open for 15 minutes/hour is instinctively unappealing?
How is kayaking from Whittier (scenery, wildlife, ect.)? I'd probably be talking about 2-3 hours worth of kayaking. And how does it compare to kayaking in Ketchikan?
Can the Native Heritage Center compensate for the loss on the Saxman side?
Thoughts? Other solutions?
[Note: "Visit Alaska again" is a valid but more distant solution.]
Perhaps I should mention that my calculations are based off of ship-excursions that put Saxman from 10:30-1. The only compatible ship-based kayaking in ketchikan would run 7-10:15, which is too close. At any rate, it seems difficult to manage kayaking, exploring town and 2 1/2 hours for Saxman.
You can't do it all. Kayaking out of Ketchikan would make the best use of your time especially with only 2 days in Anchorage, getting to/from Whittier. Are you coming into Seward or Whittier. Perhaps do kayaking before your arrival/departure?? A compromise in Ketchikan would be to walk to the Totem Heritage Museum- authentic poles unlike Saxman or Totem Bight. Could spend an hour there and get something out of it. In planning the Native culture museum in Anchorage- see what activities are scheduled and plan around them perhaps. Not usually much wildlife spotted on kayaking trips.
Well, I could do everything but that would require an extraordinarily early retirement.
The cruise ends in Whittier. I had planned to take the cruise transfer to Anchorage for car rental purpose and then proceed immediately to Denali for a night and a full day/night. We could then decide how early to get on the road for a liesurely return to Anchorage and then spend 2 more days on the back-end to explore Anchorage.
I suppose we could adjust the schedule as follows:
Land Day 1: Disembark and find some way to get to the kayak locale. After kayaking find some way to get transport to Anchorage for the night.
Land Day 2: Rent car and travel to Denali
Land Day 3: Denali
Land Day 4: Drive to Anchorage
Land Day 5: Anchorage
Transportation on day 1 is concerning (plus the additional hotel jumping seems to make things less relaxing). Any suggestions on the transportation issue or on the various itineraries?
Your suggestion about the Totem Heritage Center is a possibility. How would you compare the experience there to Saxman? I spent quite a while studying socio-cultural anthropology so I want that side of things to be worthwhile.
What do you mean by planning the visit around events at the Anchorage Native Cultural Center? What sort of events do they sometimes offer? A quick look at their web site shows a schedule for just the winter.
Check back with the Native museum in Anchorage once it opens fully in season. They have various events, speakers etc. As for kayaking- you could kayak in Whittier then take the train to Anchorage- leaves around 6pm- I think. Would make good use of time since you are disembarking in Whittier. As mentioned- Totem Heritage museum has authenic poles- Saxman are copies. You may want to hire a private guide at Saxman- inquire at the visitor center for their top historian perhaps??