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Paddle to Seattle: Journey Through the Inside Passage (2009)

2:25 | Trailer
Two best friends build their own kayaks and paddle alone for 97 days in the wilderness over 1,300 miles from Alaska to Seattle and survive to talk about most things.


J.J. Kelley, Josh Thomas
7 wins. See more awards »





Cast overview:
J.J. Kelley ... Self
Josh Thomas Josh Thomas ... Self
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Paddle to Seattle: Journey through the Inside Passage will chronicle the progress of two intrepid adventurers paddling handmade wooden Pygmy kayaks from Alaska to Seattle. They navigated the 1,300-mile Inside Passage. From Alaska to Seattle, it's North America's only rainforest. There brown bears own the shores. Rain falls for weeks without rest. What's most unexpected are the surreal encounters with unexpected marine life. The film presents these interactions, in addition to interviews from peoples of the region. The driving force is the friendship and humor of the two friends. Written by J.J. Kelley

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


80 minutes of the best feature film about paddling produced in the past decade



Did You Know?


J.J. and Josh filmed by kayak for 96 days through the North American Inside Passage. J.J. said it was the rainiest summer of his life. See more »


Follows Pedal to the Midnight Sun (2006) See more »

User Reviews

Into Their Wild
4 January 2020 | by thesar-2See all my reviews

Talk about living vicariously through an adventure I could only dream about.

Totally biased here - for several reasons.

#1 My favorite city, which is my dream to retire in and make my future hometown, is Seattle, so that caught my eye this evening. Normally, on a Friday night, I love a good Horror, Action or even Western film. But, tonight, I wasn't in the mood for any of that and after many searches across multiple streaming platforms, I got super lucky.

#2 Just about 2½ years ago, I took a trip of my lifetime with a friend from Ohio. I live in Arizona and we met in Seattle for a cruise up through Alaska, Canada and back to Seattle. We visited THREE of the cities these best bud/filmmakers landed at plus the area of the Canadian stopping point. And bonus for me, seeing these cities again, probably the first time since that trip, aside from the occasional glance at some of my pictures, from a different point of view. I studied these guys' walk through of the tourist towns and tried to recognize areas my friend and I walked. Maybe a glimpse or two, but mostly, it was brand new, and refreshing, to me to see new angles of the same places.

Guess I best get to the synopsis to talk most about my experience watching these men's experiences. Seemingly out of nowhere, two friends decided to work a ton to save up both money and time off to make their own kayaks and paddle south from Alaska to Seattle, Washington. 1,300 miles down a known, but not always safe, path. Along the way, they meet a bunch of neat folks, film some gorgeous shots, encounter some awesome animals, eat too much ice cream in one sitting and even watch the movie Step-Brothers. Note: they hated that movie. Huh. I thought it was okay.

I LOVED this movie. It was simple, but absolutely real, and wonderfully shot and edited. Never once was I bored, or drifted off. It always had my utmost attention even though it wasn't an "exciting" blockbuster some people might have overdramatized a documentary out of. I laughed out loud a ton, marveled at their amateur, but effective filmmaking, wilderness, kayaking and conversation skills. I definitely marveled because I could NEVER see myself taking this kind of adventure, so it was absolutely wonderful to live through their experiences.

In my limited knowledge of any of what they did, saw or where they visited, I actually remember a ton of my own my experiences in these spots and my research I did leading up to my cruise. Not to mention, whenever a cruise ship was spotted, I was looking for the one I took. No luck, but I did see the same brand: Norwegian.

I could see myself buying this on BluRay, but I am grateful it's on streaming. I would love to see this again and experience all the hard work and time invested these two wonderful adventurers put into making this great movie for me to see. (Well, technically, it was three men for a part of the journey and others helping before they left and when they made it to Seattle.)

Sorry, was that a spoiler to say they made it to Seattle? Just kidding, it's in the title. Also, no one, including myself is calling this a tragedy, like that one bear documentary.

Is this recommended for all? I would, sure, but like I said above, I'm totally biased. I LOVE the Northwest and all it's gorgeous beauty. I loved how this slow-paced movie made me feel. It's short at only 86 minutes, despite how long they were at sea and yet, I felt like I went along for the easiest part of the trip...

All snuggled up, under covers, while these men braved three seasons to accomplish their goal.


Final thoughts: And speaking of which, man, this movie made me feel cold! Made me think as well, like how I would handle the situations they found themselves in and completely unplanned at times. But mostly, I felt cold and as the film/journey progressed, I snuggled more and more, safely under my covers.

God, I'm such a wimp. Comparatively speaking.

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

26 September 2009 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Alaska, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(original) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR (RCA Sound System)| Dolby SR


Color (HDCAM)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1 / (high definition)
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