Yet another successful fly-in fly-out surfari to the Petrof Glacier break.
Something to put in the back of your mind for the next time you are scheming on flying over a coastal mountain range for a day at a remote surf break . . . What you see on your side is likely not what you’ll find on the other side. This was the certainly the case on January 30th when we loaded up the Homer Air Cessna 206 with surf boards and a little survival gear and headed up over the Kenai Mountain Range.
This time we did suspect that we might see some fog, but just couldn’t resist taking the gamble. The coastal fog was pretty thick as far as we could see as we came over the mountains. It was all smiles and surf stoke when we saw a swell crashing on the beach through a little sliver of a window in the fog right over the very beach we needed to land on.
The tides were such that we could just squeeze onto the beach in the morning before the water rose too high (see the photo below, no time to spare!). Pickup was scheduled for just before dark once the tide had ebbed enough to uncover the beach landing site again.
We were particularly eager to surf through the high tide this trip after what we found on the previous Petrof surfari – Winter storms had sculpted the bar into something that just begged to be surfed on a high tide. Well, it turns out that the winter storms weren’t done and the bar was totally different again this trip. But no worries, our dreams were fulfilled with a killer session of quick drops and barrels on the new bar.
As soon as the plane departed the little window in the fog that let us onto the beach closed in all around us. The entire day was spent in a fog so thick that the beach was only intermittently visible. Silky smooth waist to slightly overhead swells were emerging out of the fog all day.
After a short four hours we decided it was time to think about how we were going to spend the night with four wet surfers in a single two man tent. And how about starting a fire in a rainforest?
As soon as we were out of our wetsuits we got to working on the fire and heating water on a camp stove. Just as the fire finally got going we heard a buzzing overhead. With mixed emotions we watched our plane emerge from the fog as it touched down on the beach. I don’t think I was the only one already looking forward to that morning surf session. At least it was a more appealing thought than the 14hrs of darkness to come before it.
Not a lot of photos from this trip, I kept thinking the fog would clear and then I’d stop and capture a few of those sweet waves. Well, good thing I took a few shots before leaving the camera high up on the beach, out of the tides reach, and ran myself out of sight into the fog. No regrets missing the photos here though – my memory is foggy but I’ll bet there were more barrels in that session alone than my previous three years of surfing combined. I take that back, one regret, I should have started counting at the beginning!
Like what you are seeing? want to see more about this Petrof Glacier fly-out surf thing?Further reading here on SurfAlaska.net below: