Starting in 2008 I made a drastic life change and went back to school, terrifying at 37yrs old. I went to massage school. The next thing i knew a friend was texting asking if I wanted to do massage and teach yoga on a yacht in Alaska. Well that was a no brainer and 3wks later I was on my way, my clients understood completely. I have always had the dream to travel around the world but i was so focused on work both in the restaurant world and massage world that the only travel I did was focused on a class, so this opportunity was the perfect departure.
The thing about alaska is it actually wasn’t on the bucket list. After that first month I realized that Southeast Alaska was one of the places I never knew I always wanted to go. When most think of Alaska they think snow and remote. They think mainly of Ancorage and bears or moose but not realizing really how large the state is they don’t know that part of alaska is considered a temperate rain forest. Over the past 6 yrs I am now spending my 5th summer in Southeast Alaska working as a Sous Chef for the same small cruise company. The beauty of this job is it allows me to keep the bills paid but also live the life I love as a gypsy and travel.
Southeast Alaska is a small strip of mainland and Islands running along the border of Canada. Its home to Juneau (the capital), Ketchikan, Sitka and several other towns that many have heard of and the large ships do frequented those towns but we spend most of our time in remote coves where no one else goes. As I work most of the boat is all abuzz with activities and guest are off on a hike or kayak trip and I get to look out the window as i prepare for lunch at mist coming off the mountains or whales swimming by, not your typical view for a kitchen window. But on some days, some special days everything stops for wildlife activity. Yesterday was one of those days. We were near the Iyoukeen Penninsula and the most amazing thing happened. The morning started with this unique thing that some humpback whales do called bubble net feeding. Its so rare to be in the right place at the right time get to see this activity and we had it happening right off the boat. At one point we had humpbacks bubble net feeding off the port stern, a large Stellar sea lion swimming off the starboard stern and a pod of about 6 Orca off the bow. The day before was no slacker day either. We spent the day in Glacier Bay National Park where we get to see all types of wildlife. Now I have seen alot of bears over the years but this was one of my favorites. Now bears in Alaska are about twice the size of bears (brown bears up to 1200lbs and black up to 600)than in the lower 48, their fur appears softer and more lusterous. This particular brown bear was just climbing a rock cliff, hanging out. The laziness of his demeanor as he would occasionally look back at us on the boat just seemed to charm me.
I will continue to come back to Alaska, begin to explore the interior and see what else this awesome state has to offer. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible people here too. Until then enjoy a couple picks from this awesome and unusual day we had in Southeast AK.