Wild and Untamed, This is Un-Cruise Adventures’ Alaska

Waking up to another morning aboard Un-Cruise Adventures' Safari Endeavour - and another morning in Alaska's pristine wilderness. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Waking up to another morning aboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Endeavour – and another morning in Alaska’s pristine wilderness. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

September 4, 2014

Adventure is on the menu today aboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Endeavour. After another excellent breakfast, guests could indulge in a morning of watersports activities in the secluded bay off Chichagof Island that served as our overnight anchorage.

On the Adventure Menu du jour, kayaking was a popular choice, with two different difficulty levels for advanced and novice kayakers. For something a little more adventurous, guests could try their hand at a two-hour paddleboarding excursion, and a scenic boat tour was prepared for those who preferred to take things easy and perhaps rattle off a few dozen (hundred?) photos.

Safari Endeavour's stern-mounted EZ Dock allows for kayaks and paddleboards to be easily launched and retrieved from the water. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Safari Endeavour’s stern-mounted EZ Dock allows for kayaks and paddleboards to be easily launched and retrieved from the water. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

One of Un-Cruise Adventures’ greatest features is that all nearly all of their vessels – including the Safari Endeavour – have a special system mounted to the ship’s transom stern that allows guests to easily board kayaks or paddleboards without fear of falling in the water. Known as the EZ-Launch platform, this grey floating ‘pontoon’ has four slipways equipped with rollers for kayaks and paddleboards that allow guests to get into their desired water craft from a stable base and, once they’re situated, to be simply ‘rolled backwards’ into the water. Think of it like an under-construction ship rolling down the slipway and into the water at a shipyard and you’ll get the idea.

Even better, this same system allows guests to get out of their kayaks or off their paddleboards in the same fashion: water craft are pulled back onto one of the four slipways, and guests simply step off onto the EZ-Launch platform. Easy!

It's not me, but today I did try stand-up paddleboarding for the first time - and did surprisingly well at it! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

This isn’t me, but today I did try stand-up paddleboarding for the first time – and did surprisingly well at it! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Today, I decided to do stand-up paddle boarding – for the first time ever. My theory is: why not? Un-Cruise offers it here, and it doesn’t cost guests a dime, and I’d probably have to pay over-the-odds for it somewhere else. So, no time like the present.

Out of 84 guests onboard, only five signed up for the 10a.m. paddle boarding excursion. We were joined by two of Safari Endeavour’s friendly bar staff (Silas and Caitlin), and Expedition Leader Mark acted as our guide for our two hour paddle in and around the bay.

Paddle boards also use the EZ-Launch system attached to the stern of the Safari Endeavour, which makes getting situated onto your board a snap. Once you’re in a kneeling position and are strapped in at the ankle, you’re outfitted with your paddle and your board is rolled gently off the EZ-Dock and into the water.

The real fun begins when you have to stand up.

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

I’ll be completely honest: I spent the first fifteen minutes of this excursion questioning every decision I’d made that had led me to this point. The wind had picked up and with it came swells that threatened to knock me off balance every time I tried to stand up. Kneeling down was quickly not becoming an option as my legs were starting to cramp up on me.

Mark gave me some helpful tips though on how to successfully stand, and with the bow of my paddle board pointed into the swells, I gingerly stood up – and stayed up.

For the next two hours, we paddled around the bay, observing entire schools of fish swimming in the crystal-clear waters and crabs scuttling along the sand. There were also some of the largest jellyfish I have ever seen in the bay; all the more reason to stay on the board. We also paddled in and around some of our fellow passengers who were out on a kayaking excursion through the bay.

Kayakers, as seen from Safari Endeavour's bow, set out for a morning of exploration. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Kayakers, as seen from Safari Endeavour’s bow, set out for a morning of exploration. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Our adventure ended with a scenic paddle up a small river into a darkened grotto filled with salmon and water that quietly dripped from the rocky arch above our heads.

If you’re on an Un-Cruise and have the slightest inclination to try paddle boarding, just do it. After 30 minutes, I stopped feeling like I was going to keel over with every wave, and I got used to looking straight ahead. If you look at the rolling waves coming at you, it just makes it harder. Look ahead and just dig your paddle into the water – forward momentum helps greatly. It’s a bit like riding a bicycle; after a certain point you just stop worrying about falling off.

Click here to continue reading!

Our Live Voyage Report onboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Endeavour continues tomorrow as we spend another day exploring on our Discoverer’s Glacier Country voyage through Alaska! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

Comments are closed.

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:


Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!