Subsistence Kayaking – II

The he trip is going well after 45 days and over 300 nautical miles we have reached Sitka. Here we are re-supplying on spices, oil and sugar. After several weeks of fantastic weather we now have a pretty good storm moving through. Hopefully we can continue towards Goddard Hot Springs tomorrow.

Good weather allowed us to paddle the open coast on the west side of Yakobi island.
Brekers along the outer coast of Chichagof Island.
Deer are abundant along the coast and can be amazingly approachable when approached slowly.
Nancy proudly showing off her catch. The first salmon Of the season for us.
Nearly 40 pounds of fresh salmon that will feed us for many days.
Smoking salmon is working well as a way to preserve fish, and it is delicious. The evening before we caught 7 large Keta salmon.
This dinner was a highlight. Pan fried rock fish, with rock fish ceviche, shrimp and fresh picked berries.

Subsistence Kayak Trip

We are leaving for our summer of subsistence sea kayaking in SE Alaska, until September (is the plan). Will start paddling in Haines, and paddle in the direction that seems to have the best catching and harvesting. Our fishing gear, shrimp pots, crab snares, etc. are ready to provide the catch as we collect edible berries, plants and mushrooms. A well stocked spice kit will help us prepare some delicious meals (we hope). A few pictures from last summers trip below. I will try to update this page if we stop in a small town.

Want to hear more about how it is going? We are planning to post several updates with Adventure Kayaker.

 Fredrik Norrsell
Dinner with rock fish, shrimp, wild weeds, and mushrooms.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Nancy Pfeiffer picking blueberries.
 Fredrik Norrsell
Stir-fry with wild mushrooms and greens cooking over a fire.
 Fredrik Norrsell
A nice collection of fresh harvest, watermelon berries, chanterelles, blueberries and chitons.


Ruffed Grouse

A male ruffed grouse kept me entertained in early May, as he called for females by beating his wings together. He had several favorite logs to stand on in my backyard. I like the pictures but they have busy backgrounds. For next year I will have to do some selective trimming in my yard to clean up the background as I now know where his favorite spot are.

 Fredrik Norrsell

 Fredrik Norrsell

Spring Vacation in the Arctic

Most people don’t head to the Arctic after a long winter, but I went kite skiing with my wife Nancy in the High Arctic of Alaska. We arrived in Kaktovik in beautiful weather, that was a balmy (-2ºF) to the locals, but cold to us.


The Arctic Ocean in April.



Whale bones protruding out of the snow.



Kite skiing outside town.



Soaking in a Hot Spring, water temperature at 104ºF (40ºC) and air temperature at -10ºF (-23ºC).



The Aurora danced over our campsites almost every night. The cold -25ªF (-30ºF), quickly drained both camera batteries and the heat in my fingers during night photography. Breathing on the camera would freeze my beard to the camera.



The light quality was often amazing for photography with amazing blue tones. I found it was best captured by setting the cameras white balance to Daylight. I often shoot in Auto White Balance and have found that it works well for most subjects excepts in unusual light situations such as winter twilight in the Arctic.



We had no wind in the Brooks Range or in the foothills, so we spent the first few days slowly dragging our sleds back towards Kaktovik.



Finally Kite skiing on the Coastal Plain!



Of course we also had long periods of what we fondly call Kite-Waiting. In other words waiting for the wind to start blowing again.



With the possibility of Polar Bears on the Coastal Plain we experimented with winter Bear Camping practices. We strived to cook away from our campsite despite the cold and used an electric Bear fence.



Nancy catching a few turns off a pressure ridge on the Arctic Ocean.



We found our first Polar Bear track on the sea ice just outside Kaktovik.