We hope you can join us on one of our exciting Alaska expeditions. We'll cruise through a beautiful wilderness aboard the M/Y Glacier Bear, our classic, well-appointed 95' yacht boat. Glacier Bear offers an excellent platform to experience Alaska's legendary Inside Passage, an intricate network of pristine waterways, granite fjords, and islands of astonishing beauty.
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 the Glacier Bear to tantalizing places that no cruise ship sails to. Each crew member has the experience and training to provide you with the safest, most enjoyable wilderness adventure possible. Our crew includes:
Neil Nickerson has been working Alaskan waters since 1988, as a U.S. Coast Guard officer aboard Coast Guard cutters and on tugboats and passenger ferries. He is intimately familiar with the waters of the Inside Passage and Prince William Sound. He has sailed north beyond the Arctic Circle and west to Attu Island in the Aleutian Islands.
Neil is a U.S. Coast Guard National Master of Self-Propelled Vessels of Unlimited Tonnage Upon Oceans or Near Coastal Waters. He can be the Captain for any size vessel on any ocean. Neil is also certified in First Aid and CPR and keeps the ship 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.
Neil is in charge of the vessel's safe operation while guests are on board, at sea, or when the Glacier Bear at the dock. He is also responsible for ensuring all guests receive the highest care and consideration during their wilderness adventure at sea. Neil is certified in First Aid and CPR and keeps the Glacier Bear at a 5-Star U.S. Coast Guard rating for safety.
Josh Yerkes is based in Juneau, Alaska. Josh holds a license as a U.S. Coast Guard Master, 200-Ton Vessel Near Coastal Waters, and can be the Captain for any size vessel up to 200 tons. He directly supervises the crew during Neil's absence. Josh is responsible for ensuring all guests receive the highest care and consideration during their wilderness adventure at sea. Josh oversees the operation and safety of the vessel at sea as Captain and has responsibility for piloting and navigation.
Josh is an excellent Fishing Guide and coordinates guided fishing activities for our guests. Daily fishing excursions allow up to four guests (while fishing), including trolling for salmon and sport fish and jigging for halibut and other bottom fish. Josh is available to assist guests with the operation of fishing tackle and to explain flora and fauna of Southeast Alaska. Guided sightseeing trips for whales, bears, sea lions, and other marine wildlife and shorebirds are also on offer.
Al Smith has the primary responsibility as Engineer to maintain the mechanical propulsion systems of Glacier Bear, including the engines, pumps, boilers, and generators. Additional responsibilities include maintaining electrical generation, refrigeration, ventilation, heating, and cooling systems.
As a Certified Boatwright, Al's responsibilities include having the knowledge and skills to construct, erect, install, and repair structures and fixtures of wood, plywood, and wallboard aboard Glacier Bear, using carpenter's tools and power tools.
Trevor Fritz is based in Juneau, Alaska, and coordinates guided fishing activities for our guests. Daily sport-fishing excursions allow up to four guests (while fishing), including trolling for salmon and sport fish and jigging for halibut and other bottom fish. Trevor will assist guests in setting out and retrieving crab pots and shrimp traps where the opportunity presents itself. Trevor is available to assist guests with the operation of fishing tackle and to explain flora and fauna of Southeast Alaska. Guided sightseeing trips for whales, bears, sea lions and other marine wildlife and shorebirds are also available.
Trevor is also our Assistant Engineer and oversees the electrical and mechanical systems aboard Glacier Bear, including the two main propulsion engines and numerous electrical generation systems.
Ayesha Wise currently lives in Juneau, Alaska, where she spends her summers cooking aboard the Glacier Bear and her winters seeking inspiration while traveling worldwide. She received a B.A. in painting, with a minor in Art History, from Western Washington University. As an Artist, Ayesha's work has been shown in gallery shows at Western Washington University and featured in local businesses and art shows.
Using the finest and freshest ingredients available (including organic food and local Alaskan seafood), Ayesha ensures that every meal is a food lover's delight and an excellent way to begin and finish an adventurous day. She is known for her advanced culinary skills and her discriminating palate. Ayesha prepares complex gourmet dishes with ease, using quality ingredients and specialized cooking techniques.
Ayesha prepares and cooks each meal, appetizer, dessert, and snack served aboard the Glacier Bear. In addition, she manages the food budget, purchases all food for crew and guests, and oversees the safe storage of food. Ayesha is well-organized and is familiar with many cuisines, food preferences, and dietary restrictions.
Specialty Guides join us for our paddleboard and photography charters. They have extensive knowledge to share with you about their areas of specialization and the wildlife, ecology, and history of Alaska. While aboard, they participate in and guide activities like sea kayaking, hiking, and beachcombing. They also assist the crew with throwing lines, help out in the galley (dishwashing), and keep an ample supply of drinks and snacks available.
Michelle Eshpeter, our paddleboard guide, is from the Yukon Territory, Canada. Michelle led the first backcountry paddleboard expedition in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. She was selected to compete in the stand-up paddleboard category of the Yukon River Quest. Michelle also teaches dance, fitness, and yoga classes. She has been training as a wine professional through the Wine & Spirit Educational Trust and is currently WSET Level 2 certified. She has completed the Yoga Alliance-approved 200-hour Teacher Training and uses her skills to teach and lead community yoga classes, competitive sports teams, kids yoga in schools, and yoga retreats.
John Schnell is our principal photographer. He has lived in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, Wyoming, and Vancouver Island. John was an FAA-Certified Air Traffic Controller in the U.S. Marine Corps and a photographer for the U.S. Peace Corps in Zimbabwe. He is also an FAA-Certified Commercial Drone Pilot. John was the expedition photographer for Alaska Discovery and the photo guide for John Fielder's Alaska Photography Workshops. Over the years, John has led several photography expeditions for Alaska Sailing Charters and Alaska Wilderness Charters.
Kevin Murphy is a Captain and fishing guide and is based in Juneau, Alaska. He is a licensed U.S. Coast Guard Master, 100-Ton Vessel Near Coastal Waters, and can be the Captain for any size vessel up to 100 tons. Kevin has been boating in Alaskan waters for 27 years. He is Chief Ranger for Southeast Area State Park and has participated in research, fisheries, and enforcement. Kevin has also worked for Alaska State Parks, The National Park Service, and The Nature Conservancy.
Maddie Kombrink is an artist, barista, and chef and is based in Juneau, Alaska. She is currently cooking her way through Southeast Alaska aboard the 95' yacht Glacier Bear. As an artist, Maddie focuses on custom pet portraits and wildlife illustrations. She is also a barista queen, a forage fanatic, and a fermentation wizard. We think Maddie is a talented and creative chef!
Adriane Honerbrink is a photographer and fishing guide and is based in Juneau, Alaska. She is a licensed Captain of vessels of 50 tons or less. Adriane provides instructions and guidance for our clients to ensure a safe experience during wildlife excursions. She is also a naturalist photographer and leads photography-based tours, educating groups on all elements of photography with the use of an instructional digital slideshow and imagery.
Nothing matches the freedom and comfort of an Alaska Wilderness Charter. We'll glide through pristine waterways on the 95' motor yacht Glacier Bear (previously known as M/Y Caledonia), with unparalleled access to whales and wildlife. Each day, we'll cruise to the best locations for viewing fjords, waterfalls, icebergs, and glaciers.
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, including safety and rescue, plus in-depth training in tides, wind, currents, and weather.
Most importantly, our Crew has the desire to: