It’s no secret that Kodiak Island can be a windy place, but three weeks straight with winds gusting over 50mph? That just doesn’t seem possible! Well, fortunately we all lived to tell the story of enduring a non-stop series of epic winter storms while on a surf trip around Kodiak Island by boat.
The m/v Milo left Homer right on schedule- November 2nd. We knew it was a short weather window to try and make the 20hr run to Kodiak so it was not a big surprise when halfway there we encountered our first storm. We took what little shelter offered by the Barren islands and for 32hrs watched and listened as the wind ripped past us in screaming gusts that we estimated around 70mph. Little did we know this was going to be the norm for the next few weeks!
In the first few days around Kodiak Island we did manage to get a few sessions in between the wind storms and before the swell diminished. (more surf photos in the next post – Surfing Kodiak between storms) We thought these were our warm up sessions for the trip and soon the wind would settle down and we’d be surfing the swell generated by these huge storms. As it turned out the angle that the storms were hitting Kodiak was not conducive for surfing even with seas forecasted at up to 40ft nearby! We scoured the coastline everyday hoping to find a break catching some swell but sheltered from these gusty winds that not even a kitesurfer could love. We found potential around every corner with nice looking reefs, points, river mouths and beaches that promised great surf but failed to deliver with prevailing conditions.
One thing that Kodiak Island did not fail to deliver on was incredible scenery, which despite the storms, we were able to enjoy from the safety and comfort of the m/v Milo. Our trusty surf boat proved herself yet again to be an incredibly seaworthy vessel fully capable of supporting the search even through some nasty Alaskan winter storms. We were all thankful for a sturdy boat with good anchor gear and our experienced captain, Mike McCune.
It’s a curious thing that photos just can’t seem to tell the story of being on a boat in bad weather. Maybe it’s something to be thankful for, or we might never venture out of the harbor again. Looking through the few photos I took on this trip there are only a few stormy shots and they are a mockery of the actual experience. I suppose those moments of ‘discomfort’ will easily slip out of our memories and we’ll soon be back out there chasing waves in the last frontier.