When my twin brother, Captain Tim, suggested that I join him on the Nautilus Swell for a trip in Alaska I was excited but unsure what to expect as a non-diver aboard a diving boat.

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What does one do to pass the time when everyone else is under the waves?  As it turns out there were lots of activities to keep me happily occupied throughout the trip.  Many days were filled with trips aboard Inde (the dive skiff) with my camera taking photos of divers gearing up and jumping in with the hilarious and fabulous Dive Master Leanne; then, while the divers were under, more photos of wildlife and land/sea-scapes.  Watching for divers surfacing and yelling “diver up” was good fun as well.   On days were I stayed aboard the Swell while others were off diving, I spent my time reading, napping or in the galley with chef Patrick watching (and sometimes helping) him create the fabulously tasty meals that everyone seemed to really enjoy!

Wildlife tours between dives, while we were anchored at Inian Islands, proved to be very exciting with sightings of sea lions, whales, bald eagles and otters, just to mention a few.  Walks ashore at Elfin Cove, Basket Bay, Petersburg, and Meyers Chuck were a great opportunity to stretch our sea legs and provided an insight into the fishing villages of Alaska.  A visit to the Baranoff hotsprings, where you can sit in the natural hot pools mere feet away from a raging river (which flows from Baranoff Lake down to Warm Spring bay) was both relaxing and exhilarating at the same time.

The highlight for me was ice day! Picture Inde, loaded up with guests, refreshments and goodies, being piloted carefully by Captain Tim and First Mate Sandy through the floating ice. Seals and their pups dotted the bergs as we wound our way up the bay to the leConte Glacier.  Hostess Tiare was kind enough to lend me her drysuit for the day so I was able to play about on the icebergs (and pretend that I was as graceful as the seals we had just seen) with the other guests. An amazing experience I will never forget!

My favourite part of each day was when the divers returned from the depths to tell me about all of the things they had seen. Comments like “Amazing Dive! Just Fabulous”, “did you see that Giant Pacific Octopus?!”, “how about the wolf eel in the crack?”, “did you find the toilets or the basket sponges on the wreck [of the State of California]?”, I have to admit that this has me envious enough that I may just try scuba diving for the first time tomorrow so I that I will have some stories to tell as well 😉

– Jessica

About Stephanie

Married to the sea!
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