Northern Lights

Toward the end of August the days were really starting to shorten and the nights were getting pretty cool.  We were finally getting some Northern Light weather!

We had a couple good displays - and every time the colors would show up my Captain would yell at me because he knew I'd want to take pictures.

We were usually on the water which mean we were rolling a bit.  Plus, the lights themselves are moving!  The shutter speed had to be so slow and the aperture had to be so large - it was pretty hard not to take blurry photos.  I fully intend to bring a tripod back to work with me to set up on the dock or beach.  

I posted a lot of these on Instagram but figured I'd share them here too.

northern lights

This wasn't the first light show we got but it was definitely our first brighter show.  A streak of very vibrant green right over the camp.  It stayed pretty stationary so we could really take pictures.

The second time I got the big camera out there was a little bit more ambient light which was exciting but, what was really exciting was all the purple!

The colors were swirling around each other and undulating and, you can kind of tell in the photos.  

northern lights

One of my favorite things about the photos is that the stars show through.  I love looking back and noticing that in the green photo over camp pleiades is a little cluster - and stuck into all this purple is the big dipper.  

northern lights

Seeing the Northern Lights has been on my 'at sea wish list' for years.  I seriously can't wait to go back and see more once the Arctic gets a little more wintery.  

If you're curious about the Northern Lights here is a good explanation.  

Seal Baby

I was on the stern when I saw a little baby seal.  This is actually the second time I've seen this seal.  Of course it happened to be the exact moment I was dumping the card on my digital camera so I run back there with my phone.  By this time the seal has seen me coming and has gone under. I did what anyone in their right mind would do... I banged on the side of the hull with my hand and called, 'seal baby!  come back seal babbbbyyy!'.  The fact that no one saw me doing this is probably a good thing however; seal baby came back!  He checked me out and I took a quick pick with my phone.

Fast forward to later in the afternoon - seal baby is back and sunning his (her) face.  My camera is up and running and I start behaving like a paparazzi.

Seal baby was quite a ways out but, lucky for me he slowly started drifting towards my boat.

Doesn't he look blissed right out?

He kept getting closer and closer.

By this time Seal Baby is CLOSE.

....and then he spots me and opens his eyes....

 I'm in LOVE.

I mean seriously, you gotta love this face.

I hope Seal Baby comes back for more adventures!

The guys on the boat think we should name the baby Lucille.  Get it? 

Here's to Seal Baby and the reminder to keep our faces to the Sun! 

Magical Rainbow Porpoises

There are these moments on the water where you look around and think, 'is anyone seeing what I'm seeing?!' and then you realize, 'nope...this is for me'.  These moments are pure magic.

On our way up the inside pass I had one of these moments.


It was drizzling and the sun was shining.  I was hunting for rainbows.  One cropped up and I immediately starting taking photos.  It stuck around a bit - so I started to try to get artsy.  Pictures of the wheelhouse combined with rainbow-y goodness outside.

Wheelhouse and Rainbow

We were in a fairly narrow waterway and the rainbow spanned the whole channel from Port to Starboard.

All of a sudden I noticed some splashes at the base of the rainbow on my Starboard side.  I start taking photos there.


Then I realize it’s a pod of porpoises!  

I’m going crazy.  I’m snapping as many pictures as I can.  I know you can imagine this.

They zoomed over to the front of the tug and rode the bow wake for a few minutes and then zoomed off.

Dall's Porpoises in Bow Wake

I was on cloud nine.  

A pod of porpoises - came out of a rainbow - and rode my bow wake.


They looked like baby Orca’s.  After doing a bit of research I learned they are called Dall’s Porpoise - and their behaviour was spot on.  

I took a video right before they dug out.


Please, flip through the gallery to enjoy some Magical Rainbow-y Porpoise Goodness.

One side note:  the photos and video were taken with my iPhone.  Please excuse some of the slightly pixelated images!


I think this is my favorite photo of the ice-capades.  I think I probably have about 100 variations of this exact shot.  Not too many at all.

This series was labeled 'artistic browns'.  Pretty self explanatory.

An Instagram RoundUp

This post also could have been titled: An Alaskan LoveFest. 

I have quite a few readers who aren't social media addicts like myself so, I decided to do a little roundup of what's been recently posted to Instagram (and therefore Twitter). 

I was most recently in Dutch Harbor and then went through the Shumagin Islands - the weather was gorgeous -and my iPhone camera got a workout.  

Dutch Harbor

Dutch Harbor

Dutch Harbor can be can also be miserable. We were lucky and got stunning.  

Fishing Gear Galore

Fishing Gear Galore

Dutch Harbor is a fishing vessel Mecca. I mean, you've seen deadliest catch right?  The show is obviously dramatized for television but it's got some reality in there too. Everywhere you go in town you'll see that fishing is king. Take this pile of fishing nets....located in front of the Safeway parking lot....

Dutch Harbor

Dutch Harbor

Just another example of stunning.  

Boat Sports

Boat Sports

While in Dutch we had a little downtime. The Captain used that time for training exercises so we got a fair amount of 'stick time'. Doing touch and go's off the barge, simulating breaking tow, twisting and, walking.  It was a total blast. 

Shumagin Islands

Shumagin Islands

Leaving Dutch we were into the Shumagin Islands in about two days. We got a mixture of weather but even the drizzle was great because we had endless rainbows. The valleys had rainbows that just sat there and at sea we had a couple full arcs. Nothing beats a rainbow. 

Iliasik Pass

Iliasik Pass

Iliasik Pass is one of the tighter places through the Shumagins. By the time we got here it was sunny with a fresh breeze. It was whale watching time. Spout after spout. Tail after Tail.  

Bathed In Sun. 

Bathed In Sun. 

The sun just makes everything better. Even just a photo of a barge.  

Alaska Love Forever.


arctic ice

In 'Ice.  Volume One.' I gave an generalized overview of what we were looking for when we transited through the ice.  In Volumes Two & Three my plan is to just show you some pictures I thought were pretty...mmmmkay?

If you're a sailor and you've never been in the ice you still know one main thing:  Watch Out For The Blue Ice.  It's traditionally more 'solid' and will pack more of a punch when you hit it.  

Volume Two is labeled on my desktop as 'Artisan Blues'.  I think you'll see why.