First of all, I would like to apologize to all our readers and friends out there who enjoy all our blogs; I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I would like. Fine tuning each dive, and exploring all the wonders of Alaska with our guests over the past few weeks has left me amazed once again at what this part of the world holds. I am ashamed to say it has all left me rather behind in the blogging world. Over the past few weeks our ship the Nautilus Swell has taken us from the waters of Port Hardy, British Columbia with dive sites such as Browning Wall and Dillon Rock (and many others!), to the incredible wreck of the Transpac where we even had time to pick a few bottles discarded from the once bustling town of Butedale, and finally onto Alaska. With the sites and sounds of Alaska still etched into my memory from years past I was excited and filled with anticipation at the thought of returning. Soon I would be splashing divers on sites such as “The Wall of Life” “Susan’s Hooters” “Wooden Island” and “Inian Wall”, all covered in a myriad of colourful life. Soon to come, too, were the wrecks S/S State of California, S/S Princess Sophia and the Princess Kathleen. Of course there would also be the day in the ice when guests might find themselves jumping off a 15 foot high iceberg into 35 degree water, giggling like kids (its hard to explain how much fun it is until you try it)!
As a Captain in Alaska the long days and the stress of getting each dive just right all fades away when you see a diver pop up, tap their head with the “OK” sign and grin a big grin clearly bursting to share the details of their dive. As the diver is climbing onto Inde (our 38 foot dive skiff) he or she spits out their regulator and lets out a whoop and a “Heck Yeah!” or a “NOW THATS A DIVE!”, then scrambles to get their gear off and flick through their photos to prove to their buddy that they really did see an octopus THAT big. Being able to bring the incredible experience of Alaska to people from around the world makes the job a satisfying one.
Some people might ask me what is so great about Alaska. I tell them it’s the small things … no wait it must be the size of it all .. no it’s … and the list goes on. If anyone asks me today I’d give them this off-the-cuff list:
– Steaming north up Chatham Straight watching the sun dip below the snow capped mountains of Chichagof Island
– Watching the Pacific White Sided Dolphins playing on the bow wave , spinning dipping and diving, back and forth
– Having the most serious of divers turn into children as they climb, slip and slide up and down the icebergs and bergy bits
– Looking up just in time to see a humpback whale completely out of the water and being awe struck for the split second before SPLASH!
– Turning off all the engines on Inde and listening to the ice pop, snap and crackle at Le Conte Glacier
– Drifting slowly down a dive site as the sun is setting and the only noise is that of the diver’s bubbles breaking the surface
– Taking the time to wander around Port Alexander where no roads and no cell phones can distract. It’s a simple place, that somedays I think may be a more rewarding place to live than so many of us choose.
This is just the beginning. I haven’t even gotten to what is in the water! These are my fresh memories, things that have jumped out at me over the past ten days and have helped remind me of what it is to slow down, to get away from it all, and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Alaska. So why is Alaska so great? Well I’ll have a new list for you next week. Up here everything changes so quick you never know what you might find around the next corner or down under the water and that’s what the adventure is all about!
Hope to see you all soon; showing you around up here is always my pleasure,