Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Seward Spotlight – Alaska Railroad

If you are looking to get to Seward without having to rent a car, The Alaska Railroad is a great way to take in the scenery along the way. Constructed in the early 1900s and spanning over 500 miles, Seward was selected as the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad in part because Resurrection Bay never freezes over in the winter making Seward a year round port town. With boat and railway transport being the main methods for transporting supplies to Alaska, the Alaska Railroad helped put Seward on the map. Today, tourists use the Alaska Railroad to travel throughout the state to visit some of Alaska’s most beautiful places including Denali National Park. 

~ Danny

Monday, July 28, 2014

Literature Spotlight - A Crisis of Climate

Climate change is a fact of life and has been occurring since the formation of Earth. However, manmade climate change has been a hotly contested debate since the Age of Environmentalism began in America. Patrick Allitt's work, A Climate of Crisis, takes a close look at the history of the environmental movement in the United States and is a fantastic read for anyone who is a fan of both history and environmental issues.

The environmental movement began during World War II after the effects of nuclear fallout was made public. Even since, our country has waged debates on a variety of topics including the use of nuclear weapons, energy consumption, pollution, endangered species, fossil fuels, oil pipelines, ecotourism, the list goes on and on. This book focuses on both sides of the debate and follows along closely with the political landscape on these issues over the past several decades. Regardless of your viewpoints, I hope we can all agree that we are stewards of a beautiful planet and this is a great read for anyone wanting to become more educated on these issues that many of us find extremely important. Enjoy!

~ Danny

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Trip Spotlight – Fox Island Sea Kayaking Day Trip

One of the many options available during this trip

Join us as we explore the Fox Island coastline of sheer ocean cliffs and deep, forest cloaked coves. Optional routes include circumnavigating the island and experiencing the outer coast or exploring the Fox Island spit and the coves of Cape Resurrection. Your route will be chosen at your guide’s discretion with consideration to wind, waves and the groups’ abilities. Along the way we'll stop for a stretch and a picnic lunch on one of the cobblestone beaches dotting the coastline. This adventure is designed for the active traveler and while experience is not necessary, you must be in reasonably good shape. This active tour may involve up to 12 miles of paddling.

This tour includes a one-hour morning wildlife cruise to Fox Island, following by kayaking instruction, a picnic lunch and approximately 5.5 hours of kayaking. Upon your return to Fox Island you will enjoy a full salmon & prime rib dinner buffet. Children 12 and up are welcome to kayak this excursion with an adult in our two person kayaks.

My favorite thing about this trip is showcasing the distinctive geological features of Fox Island. The island itself is composed of rocks from two different tectonic plates. The North American Plate and Pacific Plate once met below Resurrection Bay and the two sides of the bay have completely different types of rock formation as a result. Sitting in the middle of the bay, Fox Island is a unique land mass that paddlers on the full day trip will be able to explore.

Friday, July 25, 2014

History Spotlight - The Alaskan Flag

In 1926, the territory of Alaska held a competition between 7th-12th graders to create a design that would become the official flag of Alaska. A 7th grader, Benny Benson, from our very own town of Seward created the artwork that would be remembered forever as it was selected as the winner of the competition.

Benson's flag has a blue background with the Big Dipper pointing up to the North Star. Benson said the blue background signified both the Alaskan sky as well as the blue Forget-me-not flower (state flower of Alaska). The Big Dipper (aka Ursa Major or Big Bear) represented the strength of Alaska while the North Star showed the significance of Alaska as the northern most point in the United States of America. Quite impressive work from a 7th grader!

~ Danny

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Staff Spotlight - Andrew Giacomelli

Andrew is a super goofy, guitar playin', goat wranglin', joke makin', fun lovin', egg eatin', truck drivin', Latin memorizin', kayak paddlin', tree climbin', garden growin', VHS ownin', object throwin' son of his mom (and dad). Meet Andrew!

Hometown: Sebastopol, California

Favorite Food: Anything with an over easy egg on top

Favorite Movie: Jurassic Park and The Big Lebowski

Favorite TV Show: 49ers football!

Favorite Book: Forest Giants of the Pacific Northwest

Favorite Sports Team: San Francisco Giants and 49ers

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Guide: Kayak Tan

Some of you work very hard on your beach tan. We've all made fun of people for having a farmer's tan. But in our profession, we often deal with what we have labeled, The Kayak Tan!" With temperatures averaging in the high 50s and low 60s, kayak guides are nearly always in a long sleeve shirt or jacket. Combine that attire with the almost 20 hours of sunlight we receive during the summer, the tops of kayakers hands are constantly exposed the the sun while the rest of the body is covered. This makes for a nice tan line along the wrist that is easily identifiable when you see kayak guides walking around town in a T-Shirt. Next time you see a person with pasty white arms and dark brown hands ask him or her if they are a kayak guide!

~ Danny

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Seward Spotlight – Polar Bear Jump-Off

How would you like to get really, really cold for a good cause? Since 1986, people who can only be classified as out of their mind will plunge into the near-freezing waters of Resurrection Bay right here in Seward at the annual Polar Bear Jump-Off. Oh, and did I mention this happens in January? In Alaska... Where it is known to be cold. Yeah. I’ve jumped in these waters on 80 degree summer days and it is painfully cold then! Extremely impressed with the people who partake in this event.
Polar Bear Jump-Off

Why would someone do something crazy like that you may ask? Great question! The Polar Bear Jump-Off partners with the American Cancer Society to raise money for cancer patients and their families aiding in the mission to eliminate cancer. So you can raise funds and jump in yourself or if jumping in 40 degree water in the middle of winter while the temperature is below freezing does not sound like a good time to you (normal as I like to call it), then you can still support those who are brave enough to take this plunge and help raise money for a great cause.  

~ Danny

Monday, July 21, 2014

Literature Spotlight – Into the Wild

As a person with an adventurous spirit trying to find my way in life, Into the Wild struck a chord with me as I read about the life and death of Christopher McCandless. McCandless was found dead in an abandoned bus out in the Alaskan wilderness. Author Jon Krakauer retraced the events that led McCandless to his death and wrote an article about the story that he later expanded into this non-fiction work. Many of you may be familiar with this story as it was adapted to film in 2007.

This book planted the seed of curiosity about what drew McCandless to Alaska and played a huge role in my life in the journey that eventually brought me to the Last Frontier state. Before I had even set foot in Alaska, I felt the place calling my name and this book served as the introduction to what I have learned thus far about this beautiful place. If you enjoy this book, I highly recommend Into This Air, also written by Krakauer, which documents his trek up Mount Everest during the 1996 disaster that killed several climbers he was with.

~ Danny

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wildlife Spotlight - Blue Pacific Mussel

If you want a guaranteed wildlife sighting on a trip, look no further than the Blue Pacific Mussel. Thousands of mussels line the coast along Resurrection Bay. They live at the high end of the intertidal zone so they will be visible during trips that run during high tide. The main predator for these mussels are the sea stars that live at the lower end of the intertidal zone. If you are lucky, you may be able to see a sea star feasting on a blue mussel if you are cruising the coast line with us at low tide.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Trip Spotlight – Caines Head Kayak and Hike Combination Trip

Entrance to Fort McGilvray
Experience the beauty of Resurrection Bay and its plentiful marine life on our kayaking excursion from Lowell Point State Recreation Site to Caines Head State Recreation Area. Enjoy a beach side lunch and if the weather permits, a hike up to an abandoned World War II subterranean fort overlooking Resurrection Bay. This is a great opportunity to combine both hiking and paddling for those looking for adventure. This is an active day requiring up to 10 miles of paddling and five miles of hiking. This excursion includes lunch, beverages and snacks.

Inside Fort McGilvray
As a person who loves learning about history, this is my favorite trip to guide in terms of sharing knowledge about the fascinating history of World War II in Alaska. You want to be in shape for this trip as it is a very active day and there is no guarantee of making it up to the actual fort (Fort McGilvray). But if weather or time doesn’t allow, there are plenty of stops along the coast line that make this all day adventure worth the time.