June’s Skipper of the Month is Karen Parker from Memphis, TN. Karen and her husband Glenn have been FedEx pilots for more than three decades and they’ve been boaters for the last 27 years.
Karen is a long-time member of the NW Explorations family, and we’re incredibly excited to feature her as this month’s Skipper!
Until my husband Glenn and I started chartering in 1990, I had NO boating background! He’s also a pilot for Fedex, and he said we should find a way to visit the beautiful islands he saw from the air on his frequent trips from Seattle to Anchorage.
We chartered for about 12 years, and ended up liking the boat we chartered so much, we bought it around 2003. The boat was Grand Adventure and we still own it through NW Explorations Charter Ownership Program.
We take our boat out about two to three times a year, and always stay in the Pacific Northwest.
Stuart and and Sucia Islands, the Broughtons, and Misty Fiords National Monument. All of these spots are incredibly beautiful and quiet—they allow you to truly get away.
We found the Misty Fjords and Broughtons by joining the Mother Goose flotilla. We’ve been with Brian since the beginning and Mother Goose is just fabulous.
I’m not telling . . . but really, we love it all!
We went on the first Mother Goose trip with Brian—no one knew what a success it would be, and it was so special to be a part of history!
Mother Goose was amazing. Brian does a masterful job of arranging everything—you don’t have to worry about a thing. And you’d never find most of these spots on your own.
Alaska, in particular, can be really intimidating with so many rapids and large bodies of water that you have to cross. Traveling with Brian is the best way to experience something so life-changing.
We’ve seen bears, Orcas, humpbacks, pacific white-sided dolphins (which are always cool, because they travel in large numbers), eagles, porpoises, sea otters, sea lions, and harbor seals.
Northern British Columbia and Southeast Alaska are the best places to spot wildlife. We don’t know of any really specific places to go, though; if you want to spot something, it’s all about just putting yourself out there and looking around!
Don’t be in a hurry.
About 10 years ago, Brian led a winter cruise to Princess Louisa. As we were docking, it began to snow—it was magical!
We haven’t been on a winter cruise in the last few years, but if the weather is mild, you should definitely do it. Nobody else is out, and it’s really quiet and beautiful. But be sure you have a good heater on board.
We found ourselves in Clarence Strait, AK once when we really, really should have waited another day. Between the incredibly rough water and opposing currents, it was a really difficult trip, but our guest needed to get back to Ketchikan (see last answer: don’t be in a hurry!). The four-hour trip ended up taking us eight hours, but what was the alternative? You just do it!
My advice in these situations is to just go slow and hang on.
There are so many, most not for publication . . . but the time he arranged for a bagpiper to serenade us into the docks at Comox, British Columbia was very special.
I have no idea why he did it. That’s just one of those things he does . . . he does everything he can to make your trip special.
As my father used to say when he would cruise with us: “Life IS a Grand Adventure.”
Want to see some of the same places as Karen? Join us aboard our Mother Goose flotilla! We only have one spot left on Leg 4, from July 3-July 13. It’s also never too early to book our 2018 Mother Goose flotilla. See what yachts and legs are available now!