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Mothership Trips

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Boat-based Multi-Day Kayak Adventure in Kenai Fjords National Park

Check out the video to learn more about our Mothership Trips!

We’ve partnered up with local captains Mike Brittain and John Maniscalco to put together our most plush multi-day adventure package aboard the vessels: DORA and STARR. Our Mothership trips allow you to move around the fjords with great flexibility. Paddle where the conditions are best each day, while enjoying the comforts of living on board the boat. Our captains won’t just zoom from one location to the next like most water taxis, but will take you along the coastline and share the unique and awe-inspiring highlights along the way. In addition to your captain, you’ll be accompanied by your kayak guide, and the two will team up to share great Alaskan stories and local information. This trip by far offers the greatest versatility and flexibility to travel the fjords at the highest level of comfort. A hot shower, flush toilet, warm beds, and a comfortable living/dining area bring the comforts of home to your trip.

Captain Mike

Captain Mike Brittain on the bridge of his ship near Seward, AK

Mike Brittain came up the Alaska Highway on his Triumph Bonneville motorcycle for a two-week stay – in 1970. Alaska has been his home ever since, and the Kenai Fjords have been his backyard beginning in 1975. A Seward resident since 1982, and a licensed captain since 1987, Mike has been a sailor (he lived on his 35′ wooden ketch for 8 years in Seward), tugboat captain, killer whale researcher, tour boat captain, commercial diver, and kayaker.

He is a trained naturalist, an avid environmentalist, and most of all: a lover of Alaska. He has worked Alaskan waters from Southeast to the Bering Sea in both summer and winter. Experienced, personable, knowledgeable, and conscientious, Mike is certainly one of the most experienced mariners in the Kenai Fjords area, and has been sailing the park since before it was a park.

Captain John

Captain John
Dr. John Maniscalco first came to Alaska with the U.S. Coast Guard in 1985 and learned to operate a variety of vessels.  After leaving the Coast Guard, he entered academia earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Master of Science in Fisheries, and a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the University of Alaska.  John’s research studies have focused on seabird and marine mammal ecology along the northern Gulf of Alaska coast.  He has been working as a Research Associate/Scientist at the Alaska SeaLife Center since the summer of 2000 where he continues studying the behavior and population dynamics of Steller sea lions and nesting seabirds.  John has been operating vessels in the Kenai Fjords region since 1999.  He greatly enjoys his continuing work as part-time captain and naturalist for the tourist industry while sharing his passion and vast knowledge of Alaskan marine fauna with visitors from around the world.

Vessels

Man loading kayaks onto ship near Seward, AK

The Starr

Built of steel, the Starr was constructed in Portland, Oregon and launched in 1988. Designed for travel to Alaska with a fully enclosed pilothouse as well as outside helms, she is well suited for traveling in any weather. Sixty-two feet in length overall and seventeen feet wide, the Starr has hosted months-long vacations in Southeast Alaska for her original owners, and is now being offered to carry adventurous sea kayakers into the wilds of South Central Alaska. Strong, reliable, and comfortable, you’ll live on the Starr during your excursion into Kenai Fjords National Park. The Starr features such amenities as a full galley, washer/dryer, dedicated shower, two heads (bathrooms), and a huge driftwood-paneled main saloon for relaxing and dining. She also carries an inflatable dinghy for both shore excursions as well as to help expedite entrance/exit to your kayak.

Kayakers and ship on water near Seward, AK

The Dora

Though constructed in Tacoma, WA, the Dora is truly Alaskan tough. Built in 1990 for the lower Cook Inlet salmon fishery, she has sailed Alaskan waters as a commercial gillnetter from Cook Inlet to Bristol Bay and the Shumagin Islands. Forty-five feet in length and fourteen feet wide, she has served most recently as a research boat for killer whale scientists in the Aleutians and the Pribilof Islands and is now being offered to carry adventurous kayakers into Kenai Fjords National Park. A real Alaskan workboat, the Dora is not luxurious, but she is strong, and comfortable. She has a huge back deck, a commodious flybridge, walk-around decks, twin-engine reliability, and ample interior space for passengers and crew. A 12.5′ rigid hull inflatable with a 30 hp engine complements the Dora for shore excursions or short cruises from the mothership.

Destinations

We offer Mothership trips to Aialik Bay and Northwestern Fjord. These two fjords in Kenai Fjords National Park are relatively close to Seward, and offer the chance to experience incredible glaciers and wildlife. If you’re looking for a 3 or 4-day trip, then we will explore within Aialik Bay. On a 5 or 6 day trip, we will visit the highlights of both Aialik and Northwestern. Just let us know your interests, adventure goals, and timeframe, and we’ll work together to plan the perfect trip!

Pricing

Our Mothership trips are priced according to the number of people on the trip, and we are happy to combine smaller groups to bring everyone’s per person price down. We will only combine groups of adults (ages 14+).

If you’re traveling with kids under the age of 14, we will make your trip a private family trip. There will be no extra cost for a private family trip — we are excited to share this place with young explorers, and we recognize traveling with kids involves different challenges.

We always cap our trips at 6 people, to provide the best possible guest experience while minimizing our impacts.

All prices listed are per person and exclude tax and gratuity.

Mothership Pricing Chart

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