Bridge on a Ship Near You
Jobs in the Maritime Industry
"Before vehicles drove the ALCAN, before airplanes landed at the Ted Stevens International Airport, and before communications went wireless on the World Wide Web, only the sea connected Alaska with the known world. Alaska's history can be told through the stories of the vessels that shipped the people and goods from around the world to carve out the modern State of Alaska from the Last Frontier. Bounded by the seas on 33,000 miles of coast land, the history of Alaska from the rain forested Pacific Southeast to the storm wracked Bering Sea and the ice-bound Arctic Coast, is best seen through the salty spray from the rolling deck of a ship..."
—History by Sea: The Ships That Made Alaska
SeaCat Explorations is an experienced Alaska-based company researching and writing on topics related to Alaska maritime history. My aim is to provide you with a clear understanding of the historical records located in Alaska archives and repositories. As the primary researcher, I am an independent scholar and writer with over thirty-three delightful years in Alaskan waters. My professional career as a journalist, non-fiction writer and editor laid a strong keel of Alaska's unique sources of historical knowledge, research skills, and experience in maritime historical maritime topics.
With connections to historical societies, museums, libraries, state and federal government repositories, and private collections around the state I am positioned to find the information you need. I assist individuals and groups with timely and cost-effective research explorations into historic Alaska maritime materials. In these efforts I am ably assisted by the cat SeaLegs.
About 70% of Alaska historical collections are now listed online. Often, however, what the researcher finds is a brief reference from the 'finding aid' rather than the detail of the historical record. Many photographic collections have only a representative showing on the internet due to the volume available. In many instances, the actual copy of letters, invoices, manifests, deeds, property descriptions, log books and ships articles are not posted but only referenced. Almost all Alaska newspapers from the past two centuries have been preserved: on migraine-inducing microfilm. The clinching detail of historical ephemera so fondly touted by the History Detectives really resides in bits and pieces in the worn manila folders of the Vertical File, not online. These are the times you need a warm body, with cotton gloves, a magnifying glass, a laptop computer and access to the physical archives. That's where I come on deck.
From researching commercial and customs transaction records, the reports of the territorial governors, and identifying the registry of vessels that shipped ice out of Kodiak in the 1850s, I have a good grasp on the locations of Alaska's maritime documentary evidence.
For corporate and business clients I research—and conduct in-person interviews with principals and employees—and write official histories or biographies. Factual company history enables shareholders and management to plot a straight forward policy course plus bolster compelling fundraising or marketing campaigns.
From my home port of Anchorage I conduct research into primary historical records at the most important historical repositories located in the state including:
Key Historical Research Services
I love Alaska. I especially love the maritime life. But most of all, I love The Quest. When you need historical documentation from archival repositories in Alaska on maritime topics, we're the curious cats you want aboard!
Call SeaCat Explorations907.227.7837 or Email
There's a new app out for mariners that alerts the bridge to the presence of the endangered right whale. The app uses GPS, Automatic Identification System, Internet and digital nautical chart technologies to alert mariners. It's free at your local iTunes outlet! Employed on the East Coast, why not in Alaskan waters?? gCaptain
Here is some on-the-water footage of Shell's new 360-foot ice-class AHTS, the M/V AIVIQ, said to be one of the largest and most technologically vessels of its kind. The $200 million vessel was built by Edison Chouest Offshore in Larose, Louisiana and is specifically designed to support Shell's upcoming arctic drilling operations in the the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The AIVIQ was delivered to Shell during a March 24th ceremony and has been undergoing sea trials out of Port Fourchon, LA.
An international research team is reporting the results of a research cruise they organized to study the amount, spread, and impacts of radiation released into the ocean from the tsunami-crippled reactors in Fukushima, Japan. The group of 17 researchers and technicians from eight institutions spent 15 days at sea in June 2011 studying ocean currents, and sampling water and marine organisms up to the edge of the exclusion zone around the reactors. Science News
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood visited Alaska recently. He said, "The Port of Anchorage is crucial to every Alaska resident and to the State's economy. I'm pleased to have the opportunity to tour the Port and see the progress on its expansion and redevelopment plans, and I look forward to working with Alaska's delegation to ensure that it continues to be an engine for the state's economic growth." Port of Alaska
The Maritime Administration released a new video about the merchant mariners of the New York City area who used their skills and vessels to help evacuate more than 300,000 people from the chaos of Lower Manhattan. "Rescue at Water's Edge" tells the story of the tugs, ferries, and tour boats--manned by selfless captains and crew members--who sailed into an uncertain situation to shuttle people away from the horror downtown. Waters Edge
See the Arctic Sea up close from the mast of the USCG icebreaker HEALY. Daily updates from the Columbia University USCGC HEALY Science Support Aloftcon webcam show the longitude and latitude, course heading, wind speed and a fabulous panoramic view across the bow. Directory of Web Cam Images
U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy and the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent side by side. Photo courtesy USGS.
There was Vitus Bering in the 18th century, who gave his name to the great frozen gateway to the Arctic when he sailed through it and proved that America and Siberia were not connected, and Adolf Nordenskiold, still a hero to Finns for making the first crossing in 1878 of the Northeastern Passage, the Atlantic to Pacific route through the Arctic Ocean that is thousands of miles shorter than the treacherous way round Africa and India. Washington Post
About half the recent record loss of Arctic sea ice can be blamed on global warming caused by human activity, according to a new study by scientists from the nation's leading climate research center. The peer-reviewed study, funded by the National Science Foundation is the first to attribute a specific proportion of the ice melt to greenhouse gases and particulates from pollution. McClatchy
The Interior Department has greenlighted Royal Dutch Shell's exploration plans for offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean after finding "no evidence" that a potential spill larger than the Exxon Valdez will "significantly affect the quality of the human environment." The decision is premised on the oil company's fantastical claims that it will be capable of recovering 90 percent of any oil that hits the water after a Gulf-style blowout. Rolling Stone
Congressional patience with the Coast Guard's bureaucracy is wearing thin. Lawmakers are growing increasingly frustrated with the service's inability to provide up-to-date budget and fleet plans and mission studies, and are seeking to compel the completion of a plan to recapitalize the aged icebreaker fleet. Navy Times
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar came to Anchorage on Monday and said the Obama administration supports more oil drilling in Alaska, potentially including offshore Arctic development. Salazar joined Alaska Sen. Mark Begich and Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed for a meeting with Alaska business people and said the president's feeling toward Arctic offshore drilling is "Let's take a look at what's up there and see what it is we can develop. Anchorage Daily News
Arctic sea ice extent averaged for July 2011 reached the lowest level for the month in the 1979 to 2011 satellite record, even though the pace of ice loss slowed substantially during the last two weeks of July. Shipping routes in the Arctic have less ice than usual for this time of year, and new data indicate that more of the Arctic's store of its oldest ice disappeared." NSIDC
On Thursday the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement approved a 2012 Beaufort Sea exploratory drilling plan for Shell Offshore, Inc., a decision long awaited by the oil company, which saw its plans put on hold in the regulatory aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010. Alaska Dispatch