Over the last year, thanks to COVID lockdowns, I have been dreaming of the day when I could travel and enjoy new paddling destinations again. I have had the good fortune to visit many of the top paddling destinations around the world while filming the Facing Waves television series, and with COVID having put travel plans on hold, I definitely have the itch to get back out there and explore!
Facing Waves has brought me to so many incredible locations, and so picking my favorite is no easy task. Now in its 8th season, each destination that I’ve visited while filming Facing Waves has had something unique to offer – not just in terms of paddling, but also in the people who live there and the cultures and that I’ve been fortunate to experience. And while choosing a favorite isn’t easy, thanks to this past year of limited travel but unlimited daydreaming, I’ve put together a list of top locations that stand out for one reason or another.
I will be publishing the 2021 list ‘Best of Facing Waves: Top Paddling Destinations’ throughout the summer / fall on this blog and across social media (GoPaddle on FB and Paddle365 on Instagram). I thought this list of locations would be something worth sharing with my fellow adventure travellers and daydreamers. I hope you’ll be able to get out and start visiting these incredible paddling destinations again soon, if you haven’t already done so!
So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you all to the world-class paddling destination that is Juneau, Alaska! I filmed an episode of Facing Waves in Juneau in Season 5, and as you’ll see below, it is first on my list for good reason.
Juneau, Alaska had glacial adventures, incredible up-close wildlife encounters and the most pristine wilderness I’ve ever seen. It tops my list because it far exceeded my expectations! I would look around in wonder while sea kayaking and I would see a bald eagle, then a sea lion, then salmon jumping, and then over in the distance a humpback whale would breach. And while I was paddling my kayak in awe, you quickly realize that this is just another normal day in Juneau, Alaska. After all – there is more wildlife than people there!
One moment from my trip to Juneau, Alaska that I will remember forever was when a humpback whale came up to surface nearby our kayaks, and then dove deep and swam by us. Being that close to a humpback whale is exhilarating – if not a bit terrifying. It felt like a bus was going by and all you could do was stay out of the way.
Another surreal experience in Juneau, Alaska was my visit to Mendenhall Glacier. The deep blue ice caves offer adventurers a once in a lifetime experience, and because the ice caves are constantly changing, each visit will be different.
I’ll be posting videos and photos of Juneau, Alaska for the next few weeks on social media, so be sure to follow along. I will also be sharing the next location for my 2021 list ‘Best of Facing Waves: Top Paddling Destinations’. Stay tuned!
For more info on travel in Juneau, check out the Travel Juneau web site!