About Us

All Photos  John Schnell
Meet Our Captain and Crew
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  ChartersNeil Nickerson

We hope you can join us on one of our exciting Alaska expeditions. We'll cruise through an amazing wilderness aboard Glacier Bear, our beautiful 95' yacht. This well-appointed boat offers an outstanding platform from which to experience Alaska's legendary Inside Passage, an intricate network of pristine waterways, granite fjords, and islands of astonishing beauty. Alaska is home to eagles, black and brown bears, humpback whales, orcas, stellar sea lions, sea otters, porpoises and harbor seals. On each voyage, we'll see charming fishing villages, an incredible display of wildlife, and the breathtaking scenery of the Inside Passage. The crew will pamper you, while the captain maneuvers Glacier Bear to tantalizing places that no cruise ship sails to.

  Captain Neil Nickerson

Neil Nickerson has been working Alaskan waters since 1988, as a U.S. Coast Guard officer aboard Coast Guard cutters, and also on tugboats and passenger ferries. He is intimately familiar with the waters of the Inside Passage and Prince William Sound, and has sailed north beyond the Arctic Circle, and west to Attu Island in the Aleutian Islands.

Neil holds a license as a U.S. Coast Guard National Master of Self-Propelled Vessels of Unlimited Tonnage Upon Oceans or Near Coastal Waters. This license enables Neil to be the captain for any size vessel, on any ocean. Neil is certified in First Aid and CPR, and keeps the vessel up to a 5-Star Coast Guard rating for safety. There's nothing Neil enjoys more than sharing the experience and grandeur of coastal Alaska with visiting guests.

Alaska Wilderness Charters offers a safe and pleasant experience, whether you are hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing or sport fishing.

  Our Crew

Each member of the crew the experience and training to provide you with the safest, most enjoyable wilderness adventure possible. The crew includes:

  • Neil Nickerson, Captain
  • Josh Yerkes, Assistant Captain/Sport Fishing Guide
  • Ayesha Wise, our new (and fabulous) Chef
  • Al Smith, our energetic Engineer/Deckhand

For our Kayaking, Paddleboard, Photography, and Stream Fishing charters, an additional crew member will be added:

  • Michelle Espheter, Paddleboard Guide
  • Doug Ogilvie, Stream Fishing Guide
  • John Schnell, Kayaking/Photography Guide

Our entire team is knowledgeable about whales and bears, Alaska's geology and history, and so much more. Each year our crew completes a rigorous training review, which includes safety and rescue, plus an in-depth training in tides, wind, current and weather. Most importantly, our crew has the desire to:

  • Make things easier. Behind the scenes, our crew handles all trip planning, logistics, packing, and many other chores. So relax and make the most of your trip.
  • Keep you safe. Our experienced crew is highly trained to anticipate and avoid dangers, to help ensure your safety. Please understand that every outdoor activity entails an element of risk. We can't promise you won't get hurt, but we have never had a serious injury that has required a client evacuation.
  • Keep you informed. Our crew will share their personal knowledge of the areas we visit. Not only do they know the names of plants and animals, but they can inform you about the complex interaction between many of the plants, animals, geology, ocean and weather.
Welcome Aboard!
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters

For a world-class Alaska charter, join us on the 95' yacht Glacier Bear (formerly known as the Caledonia), as we sail through the pristine waters of Southeast Alaska. On our well-planned trips, we'll observe whales, porpoise, otters, sea lions, bears, and seabirds from her decks, and explore the bays, fjords, glaciers, and rainforests within her reaches. Life aboard this beautiful yacht is fully experienced when we take advantage of the kayaks, paddleboards or skiff for further exploration. We'll go ashore to hike along the beach or explore deep within the rainforest, paddle our kayaks among sapphire-colored icebergs, before returning to Glacier Bear to enjoy another fabulous Alaskan meal!

Step inside Glacier Bear to get a feel for her spacious interior.

The Glacier Bear

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters

The Glacier Bear is a beautiful 95' motor yacht, fully capable of navigating the various water conditions of the Inside Passage. Providing your with comfort and safety while you are aboard Glacier Bear is one of our greatest pleasure. Like similar small Alaska cruise boats, the size of Glacier Bear not only provides for stability, but also enhances flexibility. However, unlike a large cruise ship, Glacier Bear is not limited to sailing in deep waters. She can therefore respond more readily to the interests of our guests. Glacier Bear can get close to the shoreline for better sightseeing, and maneuver into tiny coves where you'll experience wildlife up close and personal. Glacier Bear can take passengers just about anywhere!

The beautiful new interior of Glacier Bear has a fully-remodeled galley, granite counter-tops, imported mirror-finish vanity bowls, highly-varnished teak trim, and newly-appointed staterooms. Glacier Bear includes the creature comforts and aesthetic touches that make for a memorable wilderness experience.

The Glacier Bear accommodates individuals or couples in four separate staterooms, each featuring a private bathroom.

  • Master Suite. Queen Bed, Private Bathroom
  • Master Stateroom. Queen Bed, Private Bathroom
  • Twin Stateroom. Two Twin Beds, Private Bathroom
  • Twin Plus One. Two Twin Beds, with a bonus Bunk Bed. Private Bathroom
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters

The versatile accommodations of Glacier Bear make her perfect for private groups of 6six to eight adults, or for extended family groups of six adults, plus up to four children.

The For Reel

For Reel is our 28' fishing tender. With the For Reel we can easily accommodate those who wish to fish and explore. And when it comes to fishing, no other avocation comes close to offering the satisfaction one feels after a successful fishing excursion. With the variety and size of fish available in Alaska's waters, fishing is a big attraction for nearly everyone.

While aboard the For Reel, our guests frequently catch King salmon, halibut, rockfish, dungeness crab and spotted prawns. Our experienced Alaskan fishing guide knows these waters well, and he will take you to many of his "secret" fishing locations on several guided fishing trips.

Wilderness Permits
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters

Special use permits are required to use national forest land for certain purposes. The majority of special use permits are issued to guides for hunting, fishing, and sightseeing tours. A special use permit may also be required for recreation, mineral exploration, and other commercial and private enterprises on national forest land.

  • Alaska Wilderness Charters operates trips in the Tongass National Forest and Ford's Terror Wilderness under special use permit from the US Forest Service, Juneau Ranger District, 8510 Mendenhall Loop Road, Juneau, AK 99801.
  • Alaska Wilderness Charters is a participant in the Wilderness Best Management Practices (TBMP) for Tracy Arm - Ford's Terror. This program is a cooperative effort to minimize the impacts of tourism and vessel operations in the Tracy Arm-Ford's Terror Wilderness (which includes Endicott Arm) in a manner that addresses both concerns for our natural resources and concerns for safety and passenger service. By actively participating in this voluntary program, Alaska Wilderness Charters demonstrates our commitment to a sustainable use of wilderness resources.
  • USDA Forest Service :: Title VI Special Use Permit
Wilderness Outfitter and Guide Expectations
  • Activities of outfitters and guides affect the areas they operate. Those who operate in designated Wilderness areas have an additional mandate to preserve and protect wilderness values and to maintain the wilderness character. It is our shared duty to build an understanding of the need for perpetuation of unimpaired conditions of the federally designated wilderness areas entrusted to our care. It is our shared responsibility to promote an awareness of ecological, geological and other features of scientific, educational, scenic and historical value. As an outfitter and guide operating under permit on the Tongass National Forest, you play a key role in conveying this understanding to your clients. While the following characteristics may apply outside wilderness in many cases, they are especially essential for the wilderness outfitter guide.

The Wilderness Outfitter and Guide:

  • Has an understanding of and a personal appreciation for the Wilderness resource.
  • Places the Wilderness resource above the ease and convenience of themselves and their clients.
  • Holds the view that economic gain is subordinate to protection of Wilderness values.
  • Is a keen observer and interpreter of natural processes.
  • Passes on to client's wilderness history, ethics and values.
  • Continually seeks to improve “Leave No Trace” techniques.
  • Recognizes the value for opportunities for solitude in the Wilderness experience.
  • In their advertising, represents the experience as a primitive and unconfined recreation and prepares clients in advance for a Wilderness experience that is in contrast with their daily life.
  • Avoids the competitive urge to provide luxurious amenities that negate the qualities of a Wilderness experience.
  • Takes pride in keeping primitive skills alive and sharing them with their clients.
  • Seeks agency advice on specific operations such as selecting campsites, layout and food storage recognizing these have impacts on the Wilderness.
  • Respects the rights of non-guided visitors to enjoy the Wilderness experience and works to minimize user conflicts.
Crew and Yacht
Neil Nickerson, Captain
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters
Josh Yerkes, Assistant Captain
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters
Al Smith, Engineer
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters
Katie Strehler, Cook
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters
Michelle Eshpeter, Paddleboard
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters
Doug Ogilvie, Stream Fishing
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters
John Schnell, Photography
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters
Glacier Bear
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters
For Reel
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters
Five-Star Safety Program
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters

What is the Voluntary UPV 5-Star Safety Program? It is a program designed to increase safety aboard uninspected charter boats operating throughout the state of Alaska.

Past marine accidents and Alaska's harsh operating environment pointed to the need for an increase in the level of safety equipment that extends beyond the minimum required by regulation. Charter operators who choose to participate in the 5-Star Safety Program have met all the regulatory requirements, received the UPV decal, and have voluntarily invested in additional safety equipment. There are a total of five voluntary safety related items. The level of additional equipment is indicated by the number of safety stars displayed on the UPV decal. One star will be awarded for each additional measure properly implemented and maintained on board these vessels.

Description of the 5-Star Safety Rating

One safety star is awarded for each of five items. The list of safety items is not meant to be in a fixed, specific order, where prior to getting to the next level you'd need to obtain all the preceding safety gear. Vessels are given credit for safety gear that is installed and properly maintained, regardless of order. A 1 star vessel would meet one of the requirements, while a 5 Star vessel would carry safety equipment substantially in excess of Coast Guard regulations, including an EPIRB, inflatable life raft or inflatable buoyant apparatus, back up hand-held communications capability, and high water bilge alarms with high capacity bilge pump.

  • Vessel is in compliance with existing regulations including the requirements found in 46 CFR, Subchapter C and the operator must also have a safety-training program established and a system of record keeping showing drills and training are conducted regularly. The program should include drills on emergency procedures and use of safety equipment.
  • Vessel has a properly installed bilge pump and audible bilge alarm, or if the vessel is designed without a bilge, suitable reserve buoyancy to float the vessel in a totally swamped condition.
  • Vessel has a hand-held VHF FM radio with a minimum 5 watts of power. A portable satellite phone can be used as an equivalent level of safety.
  • Vessel has a properly mounted and registered 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), Class I or II.
  • Vessel has on board, a properly installed and serviced, Coast Guard approved inflatable life raft or inflatable buoyant apparatus (IBA), canister or valise type, with minimum capacity for all passengers on board. An equivalent level of safety is level flotation vessel that meets Coast Guard standards or, if the vessel operates exclusively inside the Boundary Line, a commercial quality inflatable skiff in good condition that is fully inflated, stowed for immediate use, and has the capacity equal to the total number of passengers carried.
Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing  Charters
Our Guests Speak Highly Of Us!
  The trip was the best experience in my life. It was so impressive to be so close to nature and the whales. Just drifting through the water, and all you could hear were the blows of about twenty humpbacks. I'll never forget that.  
Mona Becherer, Germany
  We had the trip of a life time, especially Chris who's 60th birthday treat it was which was great. Food, fishing and sights were magic. Thanks very much for looking after us so well and being so patient.  
Chris and Nev, England
  We think often of our wonderful sailing trip, and we love to watch our pictures. We are very thankful for the time we had with in Alaska! We hope you had a good summer and many more fun trips! ...mit vielen walen. We hope to be back again.&  
Martina and Ilke, Switzerland
  Thank you for taking such good care of us. Best trip ever. It was a blast! A long lasting memory in the making. With my best buds and a great captain. Excellent trip... Thank you.  
Kelli Ellis, Florida
Gail Dubois, Colorado
  Sailing for a week on Glacier Bear with Captain Neil was one of the greatest vacations! We sailed from Sitka to Juneau, and we saw the most amazing wildlife. We were one with the wilderness. The hiking, fishing, kayaking, SUP, and photo opportunities were bar none. This is a wonderful and intimate experience. You'll be spoiled by the crew — Al and Jeff were on board with us. And you will eat fresh and excellent food.  
Carol Soo, Illinois
  Captain Neil Nickerson and Alaska Sailing Charters delivered my family and me to Southeast Alaska's hidden gems. As a well-traveled nature photographer, I make my living in the planet's most remote natural places, and I expect the best. This is exactly what I got from Alaska Sailing Charters, all with style, comfort, and fabulous Alaska cuisine.  


Alaska Wilderness Charters: Hiking


Alaska Wilderness Charters: Paddleboard


Alaska Wilderness Charters: Photography

Stream Fishing

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Stream Fishing