Last weekend we took our beloved m/v Milo out for a quick trip to the Gulf of Alaska. The swell forecast was looking pretty good. But mostly, after working at home for almost a week following three weeks of non-stop wave hunting were feeling pretty desperate for some waves and a bit of boat time.
We made the run out of Kachemak Bay and checked our favorite nearby haunts, the swell was looking strong with a bit more south than we usually find and winds were light. Leaving our nights anchorage on the first morning we spotted an incredibly nice looking left pop up and peel for a hundred yards over a reef. We’d seen this wave try to break before, but never with this much promise. We watched this wave for about ten minutes to make sure weren’t hallucinating but the answer was never really made clear. It never broke again like the first time. Most likely the tide was changing so fast and the currents shifting that we had just witnessed the last good set of that tide cycle. oh well, plenty of other spots to check.
We launched the Humbug (our 14ft RIB launch) and myself with two eager friends went out scouring the coast for a surfable wave. Our search was rewarded when about 45 minutes later we found a nice punchy left pushing through some rocks. At first it didn’t look like the rocks could be avoided, but after some optimistic patience was revealed that the sets actually broke a little out of the rocks. Radio the Milo and 30 minutes later Mike was paddling into some nice head high lefts at our new discovery.
The photo doesn’t really do this wave justice. Once I saw that it was indeed a legitimate wave I dropped the camera and started getting ready to get a much closer look, feel, and taste . . . We surfed this wave for about 3 hours before wandering on to check a few other spots and explore some new territories. As it turned out this was the best surf we scored on the trip. The crew’s motivation waned a little later as the wind picked up and the intermittent rain showers turned to snow (yes snow in May!).
We found a nice place to anchor for the night, explore some tidal sloughs in the humbug, and enjoy a dinner of grilled king salmon. The following day the wild wintery weather continued with snow squalls passing us by in between pockets of sunshine. I was pretty happy that I stil had my winter 6/5mm wetsuit with me! Just a couple weeks earlier we surfed this area and I was sweating hot in a 4/3mm. For the second day we checked a few spots in the morning with somewhat disappointing results before enjoying a session at one of our first wave discoveries in this area. It’s kind of a funky reef/beach break that peaks as an A frame over some rocks then turns into a beach break on the inside with a nice steep section. I opted for a standup paddleboard and caught plenty of fun waves. The wind picked up a bit and there was a lull in the swell so I headed back to the boat. Peeling off my wetsuit on the Milo I watched as the swell picked up again and Nikos enjoyed a bunch of nice waves all to himself.
Overall a really nice trip. I had fun surfing for a change after our recent trips with pro surfers that kept me busy just taking photos for a couple weeks. Somehow I think watching those guys surf helped me a bit, maybe just seeing what was possible on our Alaskan waves was helpful. I’m still working on editing photos from the madness this spring and hope to be sharing some of them soon as I catch up. As the spring storms settle down it’s time to start thinking about some flatwater SUP adventures and maybe a visit to the turnagain bore tide!