Join us for the Silver Salmon Derby Aug. 11-19!

The Silvers Are Back!

We’re thrilled to announce that the silver salmon have returned to Resurrection Bay, just in time for the 63rd annual Silver Salmon Derby! This year the Derby begins Saturday, Aug. 11 at 6 am, and runs until Sunday, Aug. 19 at noon. 

Anglers are reporting taking limits both in the outer islands of the bay, and the fishing spots closer to the head of the bay. Across the board, we’re hearing that this year’s returning class is full of big coho! There are plenty of fish to go around, so don’t miss your chance to land some fresh, bright silver salmon! 

Many Ways to Win

We’ve got loads of prizes, including tagged fish (up to $50,000 cash!), prizes for the top 20 heaviest fish overall (up to $10,00 cash!), daily prizes for heaviest fish and random weights, and more! 

Proceeds from the fish buy-back program support our smolt rearing program, in partnership with Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association. 

Ticket Info

Daily tickets are $10, or fish all nine days for $50. Purchase your tickets at the Derby booth (across from the Harbormaster’s office near B dock) or The Fish House (1303 Fourth Ave). 

Special thanks to our most generous partners for making this great summer tradition possible!

Visit salmon.seward.com for more info on rules, prizes, and partners.

Follow us on Facebook for daily fishing updates and photos!

Fish on!

 

New Vessel Joins Major Marine Fleet

Major Marine Tours Welcomes a New Vessel to its Seward Fleet

SEWARD, Alaska—Major Marine Tours is kicking off the 2018 summer season with a new addition to its fleet of vessels! The Kenai Fjords 360 is a custom-built, high-speed catamaran is named for its 360-degree wraparound top deck. This design offers passengers unparalleled wildlife and scenic viewing opportunities. 

The state-of-the-art catamaran arrived in Seward from La Connor, Wash., last week, and will go into service for Major Marine Tours beginning mid-May.

“This custom-built catamaran was designed so our passengers could have a unique and memorable experience viewing glaciers, wildlife and scenery,” said Tom Tougas, owner of Major Marine Tours.

“As a locally-owned company that has been investing in Alaska’s tourism industry for more than two decades, we are certainly thrilled to introduce this new vessel to our fleet. We’ll be able to take more Alaskans and visitors out to experience and appreciate the stunning beauty of Kenai Fjords National Park.”

Designed with passenger comfort and the environment in mind

In addition to the wheelhouse being located on the second deck to allow for top-deck viewing, the Kenai Fjords 360 is also the fastest catamaran of Major Marine Tours’ fleet. The new vessel has the ability to cruise up to 30 knots (about 35 miles per hour).

Environmental sustainability is a top priority for Major Marine Tours. The Kenai Fjords 360 is powered by EPA Tier III, fuel-efficient and low-emission Caterpillar C32 engines, minimizing its environmental footprint.

The 150-person capacity catamaran was designed with passenger comfort as another priority. Features include snack and beverage bars on the first and second decks, a large galley for dining, and three restrooms on board.

The vessel’s new home

The Kenai Fjords 360 will board directly behind the Seward Harbor 360 Hotel, a Major Marine Tours accommodation. Both are conveniently located less than a block from the Alaska Railroad Depot.

The Kenai Fjords 360 is the ninth vessel in the Major Marine Tours fleet and will support Major Marine Tours in its six-hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise. The cruise visits an actively calving tidewater glacier, provides opportunities for whale and wildlife viewing and features Major Marine Tours’ Alaska salmon and prime rib buffet.

About Major Marine Tours

Major Marine Tours offers world-class wildlife and glacier cruises from Seward and Whittier, Alaska. Major Marine Tours is a locally-owned, family company celebrating over 25 years of sharing the beauty of Alaska with its guests. Seward cruises explore the tidewater glaciers and abundant wildlife of Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park, and the Whittier cruises explore the dense concentration of glaciers and waterfalls found in the calm, protected waters of Prince William Sound. Most cruises feature National Park Ranger narration and an Alaska salmon and prime rib buffet, freshly-prepared on board and served during the cruise. For more information, visit majormarine.com

Catch Spring Fever With the Last Second Saturday of the Season

Celebrate Spring with Second Saturdays!

The off-season transforms Seward from a bustling visitor hub to an oasis for Alaskans to play and recharge. To celebrate this special time of year, we’ve launched Seward Second Saturdays, a community-wide event scheduled for the weekends of Jan. 13, Feb. 10, Mar. 10, and Apr. 14. Enjoy quieter trails, fun activities and special discounts before the crowds return!

Participating Businesses for April 14

Downtown

Homer artist Felicity Jones will be at Brown & Hawkins Mercantile

A Flyin’ Skein
$5 make-and-take button tassel

Big Bay Beginnings Child Development Center
20% off general admission

Brown & Hawkins Mercantile
Meet the artist: Felicity Rae Jones of Homer, 11:30–5:30
Flame the Owl (Bird TLC), 12-1 and 2-3

5th Ave. Fitness
Open to the public, 11-3

Frontier Trading Post
Free coffee or tea drink with $50 purchase

Once in a Blue Moose
Presenting Ravenlady Pottery; $10 off purchases of $50 or more

Port City Players presents Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Church of the Nazerne. Two showings: 1 pm and 7 pm

Don’t miss the Port City Players production of this beloved musical!

Sew’n Bee Cozy
Make-and-take craft project, select sale items

Seward Community Library and Museum
Drop-in crafts and free museum entry

Starbird Studio (221 4th Ave)
20% off purchase, 4–8 pm

The Frame Cottage
Free drawing – 20% off personal framing

The Painted Whale
Paint & Sip at The Breeze Inn (registration required)

The Ranting Raven
In-store specials and clothing sale

The Yukon Bar
Sip-and-tie dye, 5–7 pm
Live music by Sean Larose, 9:30 pm

Urbach’s
30% off shoes and boots

Photo: Jeremy Welles

Harbor

Harbor 360 Hotel 
20% room discounts for walk-ins

Kenai Fjords Tours Gift Shop
30% off Skhoop and Helly Hansen

Sailing, Inc.
20% off learn to sail package

Seward Ocean Excursions
10% off spring tour of Resurrection Bay

Woody’s Thai Kitchen
Great thai food!

Out of Town

Seward Nordic Ski Club @ Mile 12 (Divide Ski Area)
Spring party, ski games, bonfire, hotdogs

The Pit Bar & Liquor Store
Mermaid Sip-and-paint (reservations required)

Make the Most of Your Visit With Our Itineraries 

We’ve developed an itinerary for couples looking for a low-key, luxurious getaway or for individuals looking to recharge.

Looking for fun activities for the whole family? We’ve got an itinerary for that, too

Endless Shoulder Season Fun

Here are just a few ways to spend a weekend getaway in Seward!

  • Take a private boat charter on Resurrection Bay
  • Ride your fat bike to Exit Glacier 
  • Kayak out to Tonsina Point
  • Cross-country ski freshly-groomed trails on Bear Lake or at Mile 12 
  • Heli-ski in Seward’s coastal mountains 
  • Soak in a hot tub while watching the kids play in a pool overlooking the boat harbor
  • View Seward’s 12 original murals—we’re the Mural Capital of Alaska!
  • Indulge in local seafood while sipping a perfectly paired wine
  • Comb the beach for treasures
  • Walk the docks in the boat harbor to look for sea otters
  • Watch Alaska SeaLife Center Staff care for a rescued marine mammals
  • Shop for some of the nicest clothing, home decor, fabrics and yarns, art, jewelry, and tasty treats in our historic downtown
  • Wash down a mouthwatering burger while enjoying an Alaska brew
  • Get a tattoo from an award-winning artist
  • Stay in a cozy cabin in the woods
  • Enjoy waterfront walk, followed by a relaxing massage
  • Dance to live music with a fun, local crowd

Have a question about Seward Second Saturdays or other Seward activities? Contact the Seward Chamber of Commerce at 907.224.8051. Are you a business that would like to participate in an upcoming Second Saturday? Contact the Seward Business Network at sewardsbn@gmail.com. 

Member Spotlight: DragonFly Fishing Guides

Q&A With Andrew Scrivo of DragonFly Fishing Guides

It’s often said that people make the place, and we couldn’t agree more. Our new spotlight series introduces you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play. This week we’re proud to profile the Kenai Peninsula’s only Seward-based fly fishing company. 

DragonFly Fishing Guides is a locally-owned small business. Unlike many outfitters in Alaska, DragonFly employs full-time professional guides and Alaska residents. They fish our rivers, lakes and streams year round.

We recently sat down with Andrew to learn more about the journey he has taken as a small business owner in Seward. 

Tell us briefly about your business. What do you do and who are your customers?

We offer fully guided drift boat fly fishing trips on the wildest parts of the Kenai River, as well as hike-in float tube fly fishing on remote lakes in the Seward area. Our customers are people young and old who want to experience Alaska by way of the fly rod, at the pace of the current.

How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?

We moved to Seward from the bush in 2012. It was honestly the beauty that brought us here. We wanted to live where the mountains meet the sea. I’m astounded by the beauty every time it’s nice out!

What do you like most about living and working in Seward?

I haven’t lived in too many other places, and I’m still relatively new to business ownership, but I think Seward is really unique in that all the businesses are working together to be successful. There is a lot of friendly networking going on and mutual support, which is awesome.

photo of hike-in fishing trip
DragonFly’s hike-in trips utilize float tubes to fish isolated lakes.

There’s also a lot of opportunities for businesses to give back to the community, and so many of them do. It’s not really about competing with each other here; there’s a much greater spirit of all being in it together. I think business owners elsewhere don’t have that. People are very supportive of each other too, which makes Seward a great place to live.

What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?

We are known for building our business around honesty and providing clients with high-quality fly fishing experiences. We do not mix parties to fill our boats. While we could be making more money by doing that, I think it goes a long way that we don’t. Our clients can tell that we do everything in our power to give them their trip of a lifetime. It’s about them, not us.

What would people be surprised to learn about your business or your journey as a business owner?

I think people would be surprised to learn that about 50% of our clientele are complete novices to fly fishing. So, don’t let that deter you! We can teach you enough to have fun and catch fish in a matter of minutes.

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

I think our hike-in float tube trips are an amazing and unique experience. Trekking through the wilderness into a remote, isolated lake to leisurely kick around in a float tube, peering into crystal clear water, and fly casting to hungry fish is an entirely different kind of fly fishing experience. That’s exactly what we want for our clients: high-quality wilderness fly fishing experiences tailored to their wants and needs. 

DragonFly Fishing Guides is a popular choice for local anglers.

Tell us about a community member in Seward who you admire.

Fred Moore is a great friend of mine and I admire him greatly for many things: his ingenuity, work ethic, self-sustainability, and don’t get me started on his garden!

How do you spend your free time?

I spend almost all of my free time with my wife, Katy, and our 20-month-old twins, River and Iris; they are truly amazing. Believe it or not, I go fishing when I can.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

4th of July Beach! I just love it out there, and so do my dogs.

There are so many great wilderness areas to explore around Seward and Kenai Fjords. If you had a free weekend, where would you go?

This time of year, I would probably head up a trail with the family to one of the many rental cabins and dig in for the weekend.

Feature Image: Owner Andrew Scrivo knows the best spots to target salmon, dolly varden, and trophy rainbows. Photo courtesy of DragonFly Fishing Guides. 

***

For more information about DragonFly Fishing Guides or to book a trip, click here or call 907.491.1018. 

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051. 

36 Hours in Seward: Winter Fun for Families

winter ice skating in seward, ak

“Seward Second Saturdays” Launches This Weekend!

Winter transforms Seward from a bustling visitor hub to an oasis for Alaskans to play and recharge.

To celebrate this special season, we’re launching Seward Second Saturdays, a community-wide event scheduled for the weekends of Jan. 13, Feb. 10, Mar. 10, and Apr. 14. Enjoy quieter trails, fun activities and special discounts before the crowds return!

To help you make the most of your visit to our seaside town, we’ve developed the following itinerary for families looking for a weekend escape. 

FRIDAY

Evening – A Night at the Movies

Safety first! Seward Highway is generally well maintained, but it’s always a good idea to check the travel conditions and make sure your winter car emergency kit is well stocked before you leave home. 

As you arrive in town, pick up a map of local businesses participating in Seward Second Saturdays from Harbor 360 Hotel or from your lodging provider (see more options below). 

Take advantage of a local secret: The Skip & Marie Fletcher Winter Movie Series shows popular second-run films at steep discounts each Friday at the Rae Marine Education Building auditorium (UAF Seward Marine Center at 3rd Ave between Washington & Railway). This Friday, Feb. 2, families can enjoy “Rudy” at 6 p.m. before “Dunkirk” hits the screen for adults at 8 p.m. Admission is $2 per person, per movie. Proceeds from this week’s (shockingly affordable!) concession sales benefit Seward Prevention Coalition.

SATURDAY

Lace up your skates at Second Lake. Photo: Patrick Lewis 

Morning – Enjoy Your Own Winter Wonderland

Start your day with a hot breakfast at the Breeze, a family restaurant serving up American-style favorites. Feel free to sleep in; breakfast is served until 2 p.m. 

Next, lace up your ice skates, bundle up and head to Second Lake at Two Lakes Park. Seward Parks and Recreation uses an Ice Dragon—an Alaskan made, ice re-surfacing machine—to keep the ice in good condition for skating. There’s often a bonfire going near the shore to warm-up between pick-up hockey games. 

Please note: Relatively warm winter temperatures may result in unsafe conditions for ice skating. If in doubt, stay off the ice.

More comfortable in boots than skates? The short, gently rolling loop trail (0.7 mile) around the park is also a local favorite. 

Afternoon – Visit a Baby Beluga Before Stepping Back in Time

Warm up with homestyle macaroni and cheese at Alaska Seafood Grill across from Seward’s scenic small boat harbor.

You’ll be charmed by Tyonek, a young Beluga calf. Photo: Alaska SeaLife Center

A short one-mile drive will land you at the Alaska SeaLife Center, a world-class public aquarium and our state’s only permanent marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation facility. Experience hands-on exhibits and watch the sea lions, birds and otters play (Adult entrance $24.95, Children $12.95).

Take advantage of a rare opportunity to see a baby Beluga that was rescued from Cook Inlet last fall. Tyonek spends most of his time in an outdoor pool in public view, and interpretive staff are available to talk about the extensive care he receives. For a special treat, upgrade to an unforgettable behind-the-scenes tour of the Center ($74.95 per person).

You’ll find a wealth of historic artifacts inside this modern building. Photo: Seward Community Library & Museum

From the SeaLife Center, wander a couple blocks up Fourth Avenue to explore the historic downtown district. See if the kids can find the 100-year-old, brass cash register located in Seward’s oldest family-owned small business

Cap the afternoon with a visit to the Seward Community Museum (open 12-5 p.m.), featuring a well-curated collection of historical artifacts and photographs. Ask for the Museum Explorers Guide and scavenger hunt activity sheets at the front desk. Admission is free during the winter.

Evening – Go Greek

Apollo Restaurant offers kid-friendly pastas and pizzas that will satisfy even “selective” eaters. The ravioli is a hearty way to fill up after a busy day. 

Traveling with a teen? The Teen Rec Room ($5 admission) is open from 5-10 p.m. and offers music, ping pong, skee ball, computers, Xbox, Netflix, movies, snacks, pool tables, crafts and more. 

SUNDAY

Morning – Slip Sliding Away

The Divide Ski Area at Mile 12 features nordic ski trails for all levels of experience. Photo: Seward City News

Fuel up with hot chocolate and bagels at Resurrect Art Coffeehouse (open at 8 a.m.). Kids can take in the birds-eye view from the loft while you browse local art and jewelry. If you need supplies to play in the snow—from hand warmers to trash compactor bags for impromptu sledding—the friendly folks at the Fish House can take care of you.

Look for bald eagles in the trees surrounding the lagoon as you head out of town. If conditions permit, some of the best sledding and nordic skiing around can be found at the Divide (Mile 12). The consistently groomed trails are ideal for skate skiing.* A map of local ski trails, courtesy of the Seward Nordic Ski Club, may help you find a new favorite ski spot as you head towards home. 

LODGING

Enjoy views of the small boat harbor while soaking in the hot tub or swimming pool at Harbor 360 Hotel. Winter rates start at $89/night, including free breakfast. Mention Seward Second Saturdays when booking to receive 20% off your stay. 

Kids of all ages will enjoy taking in the wildlife and history display at Hotel Seward. Located in the historic downtown district, you’ll be steps from many shops, the Alaska SeaLife Center, and the Seward Community Library & Museum. During Second Saturday weekends, a one-night stay for two, including breakfast, is $80. 

Watch eagles nesting in the lagoon from your room in the north addition of the Breeze Inn. Classic rooms are a good fit for budget-conscious travelers, starting at $69/night. Use code “SSS” when booking to receive 10% off your stay. 

Rates listed are based on double-occupancy and are subject to change. Contact the hotel directly to make your reservation. 

***

Have a question about Seward Second Saturdays or other winter activities? Contact the Seward Chamber of Commerce at 907.224.8051. 

Feature image: Local kids can turn just about any frozen surface into an ice rink. Photo by Heidi Zemach for Seward City News. 

Member Spotlight: Adventure 60 North

Q&A With Monica Cooper & Rick Brown of Adventure 60 North

It’s often said that people make the place, and we couldn’t agree more. Our new spotlight series introduces you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play.

Whether you’re looking for half-day kayak trips, multi-day expeditions, ice hiking or gold panning, Adventure 60 North gives year-round visitors an experience to remember. Co-owners Monica Cooper and Rick Brown also provide rentals—from camping gear to satellite phones—for solo adventures into Kenai Fjords National Park.

We recently sat down with Monica to learn more about the journey she and Rick have taken as small business owners in Seward. 

Owners Monica Cooper and Rick Brown
Living the dream: Monica Cooper and Rick Brown have built a thriving adventure travel company. Photo Courtesy of Adventure 60 North.

How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?

We both came to Seward repeatedly on vacation and loved it. Rick moved here permanently in 2003 and I became a year-round resident in 2004. Rick started as a kayaking guide and then later hung his own shingle as Adventure 60 North. I found full-time work at the Seward Chamber of Commerce, and after a few subsequent jobs in marketing and tourism, I found my happy spot at Adventure 60 as general manager and eventually as co-owner with Rick.

 What do you like most about living and working in Seward?

The people, the place, mountains and ocean—what’s not to love?  We both love the outdoors and meeting all the folks that come to visit.

What makes your business special or unique? 

We are open year-round. Rick was always big proponent of winter tourism during my tenure at the Chamber. I told him he needed something for me to pitch, and the next thing I knew, he bought a snowcat. People thought it was crazy, but now we’re celebrating our sixth year of being open all year. Even though the snow isn’t what it used to be, we continue to adapt our services with the changing climate.

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

Our customer service. We go out of our way to take care of our customers. Sometimes that entails a 45-minute phone call about Seward, climate changeAlaska State Troopers, you name it. We never rush our conversations and make sure to give our clients our undivided attention.

Guests delight in discovering remote corners of Northwestern Fjord. Photo Courtesy of Adventure 60 North.

Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.

Making the decision to stay open year-round has been tough and not always profitable, but we both feel that Seward has a lot to offer in the off-season. Our payoff hasn’t always been in terms of money; it is awesome to see more owners joining us in offering year-round or extended shoulder season activities and services. The momentum created by the Seward Business Network is exciting and can only bring great things.

What advice would you give to a new business owner who is working to build a business like yours?

Hang in there. Things don’t develop overnight. Network, network, network. There is nothing better for you than to pound the pavement with cards in hand and introduce yourself to everyone. In this day and age, many think everything can be done online, but nothing beats meeting people in person and having a good old-fashioned talk. Be prepared to be married to your business, so make sure it is something you love. Passion for what you do and the desire to get up and do it over and over will carry you far.

How do you spend your free time?

We are both hands-on and always available at the shop. When we are able to carve out a little time, Rick heads to the Legion for steak night and I go foraging or bake something crazy.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

Rick and I love to bond with our staff at the bonfire pit behind the shop. We’re a close-knit family.

Feature Image: The Adventure 60 North crew enjoys a sunny summer day. Photo Courtesy of Adventure 60 North.

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For more information about Adventure 60 North, click here or call 907.224.2600. 

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051. 

Make a Splash at Seward’s Polar Bear Jump

Seward, Alaska Polar Bear Jump Costume Contest

Polar Bear Jump Schedule of Events

We’re excited to welcome all jumpers and spectators back to Seward this weekend for the 32 annual Seward Polar Bear Jump! This year’s event is on track to raise more than $55,000 for the American Cancer Society. Read more about the history of Seward’s Polar Bear Jump

Here are a few highlights from the 2018 schedule:

Friday, January 26, 2018

5–9 pm                           Steak Night – American Legion (5th & Jefferson)
7:30–9:30 pm                Auction – Tony’s Bar (321 4th Ave)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

8:30 am–10:30 am       Community Breakfast – American Legion (5th Ave & Jefferson)
11:30 am–12 pm           Parade – Start at American Legion (5th Ave & Jefferson)
12:30 pm                        Polar Bear Jump – Seward Small Boat Harbor (1300 4th Ave)
2–4 pm                           Children’s Carnival – AVTEC Gym (4th Ave b/w Madison & Monroe)
2–4 pm                           Turkey Bowl – Outside at the American Legion (5th Ave & Jefferson)
2–4 pm                           Fish Feed – American Legion; Adults $7, Kids $5 (5th Ave & Jefferson)
4:15 pm                          Awards Ceremony/THE BIG ALASKA SHOW – KM Rae Building (125 3rd Ave)
5–9 pm                           Oyster Fest – The Breeze Inn (303 N Harbor Ave)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

1–3 pm                           Hair Cut Off – The Breeze Inn (303 N Harbor Ave)

To see a comprehensive schedule of events, click here.  

Exploring Seward

Family Activities

The Sea Life Center offers hands-on activities for visitors of all ages from 12–5 pm. In addition to watching sea lions, otters and puffins play, Tyonek, the baby beluga calf, is available for viewing and you can learn about the extensive care he receives. Alaska residents and military receive a 15% discount on admission throughout the weekend. Polar Bear Jump participants can visit for free by wearing their event t-shirt on Saturday and Sunday.

A visit to the Seward Community Museum (open Friday and Saturday from 12–5 pm), features a well-curated collection of historical artifacts and photographs. Ask for the Museum Explorers Guide and scavenger hunt activity sheets at the front desk. Admission is free during the winter.

Playing Outside

Take a Sunday drive and see the otters and harbor seals from scenic Lowell Point Road. Near the end of the road is the trailhead to Tonsina Trail in the Lowell Point State Recreational Area. The scenic 3-mile trail climbs gently and parallels the shoreline before leading down to a metal bridge spanning a small river. From there, it’s a short walk to the beach to run, play and hunt for seashells.  

Bring your ice skates, bundle up and head to Second Lake at Two Lakes Park. Seward Parks and Recreation uses an Ice Dragon—an Alaskan made, ice resurfacing machine—to keep the ice in good condition for skating. There’s often a bonfire going near the shore to warm-up between pick-up hockey games. The short, gently rolling loop trail (0.7 mile) around the park is also a local favorite.

Where to Stay

Staying at The Breeze Inn, an annual supporter of the Polar Bear Jump, is a great way to be close to all the events. Rooms start at $69 so you can participate in all of the fun.

Enjoy views of the small boat harbor while soaking in the hot tub or swimming pool at Harbor 360 Hotel. Winter rates start at $89/night, including free breakfast. 

To be closer to activities downtown, Hotel Seward is offering specials for Alaska residents throughout the weekend. Rooms in the historic wing of the hotel start at $70/night, or splurge and receive deluxe accommodations for $108/night.

Get away from it all in a quaint cabin at Serenity by the Sea, a family-run property tucked away on Lowell Point, a short 2-mile drive from downtown Seward. Rates start at $109/night for a family-style cabin that sleeps up to 6 people.

***

Have a question about Seward’s Polar Bear Jump or other winter activities? Contact the Seward Chamber of Commerce at 907.224.8051. 

Feature Image: “Make it High, Make it Hurt.” 2013’s Belly Flop Team plunges into the icy water of Seward Harbor. Photo by Heidi Zemach for Seward City News.

Member Spotlight: Seward Ocean Excursions

Q&A With Bixler McClure of Seward Ocean Excursions

It’s often said that people make the place, and we couldn’t agree more. Through our new spotlight series, we’re excited to introduce you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play.

Our series kicks off this week with Captain Bixler McClure, a fifth-generation Sewardite. With ample experience both on the water and under the water, he and his wife, Captain Krystin McClure started Seward Ocean Excursions to help visitors experience our beautiful region. Their year-round, boat-based adventures are the perfect platform for sightseeing, fishing, SCUBA diving, and custom trips

We recently sat down with Captain Bixler to learn more about his journey as a small business owner in Seward. 

Image of Captain Bixler on beach_Seward Ocean Excursions
What cold? Captain Bixler is known for wearing shorts year round.

How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?

We have lived in Seward since 2012, and Alaska since 2009. My grandma and mom were born in Seward. I had visited Alaska and Seward extensively all throughout my life, and after sharing the beauty of Alaska (and especially Seward) with my wife Krystin, it was an easy decision to make it our home.

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

Winter tours in Resurrection Bay! We love taking people out on the bay in the winter when no one else is out and sharing the beauty, wildlife, and tranquility with our guests. It is amazing to be out on the water with no one else around! We communicate with all of our guests to customize each trip.

Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.

Starting! We bought our boat and set everything up having no idea if the market was saturated, or if it would work out at all.

The starting of the business was a leap of faith. The business “went live” seven days after the birth of our son. That event—and the substantial work and investment to start it—was very questionable at first (especially at the time) but thankfully it all worked out!

Image of Missing Lynx_Seward Ocean Excursions
“Missing Lynx” is named for Bixler and Krystin’s son, who was born one week before they launched their business.

What is the best compliment that your business has received?

Many people have said things like, “This is the coolest thing I have ever done.” So many people are still in touch with us even way after their trip.

Tell us about a community member in Seward whom you admire.

My mother, Sue McClure. After growing up in Seward, leaving, and retiring in California, she moved back here to be with family and be part of the community (City Council, choir, Borough Assembly, the list goes on). Many people here know me as “Sue’s son.”

Ed. note: Sue McClure was recently recognized for outstanding community service at the Seward Chamber of Commerce Community Awards. 

How do you spend your free time?

Any and all outdoor pursuits. Most of the time, this involves our boat, be it fishing, sightseeing, SCUBA diving, or hanging out. Even in the summer, after running trips for 12 hours straight, we often head back out on the boat on our own to go fishing or diving!

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

Anywhere on the ocean! Thumb Cove is one of our favorite places to hang out and explore.

Another favorite is Two Arm Bay in Kenai Fjords National Park. It is so remote and seldom-visited that you feel like you are the only people on the earth.

Feature image: Captain Bixler at the helm of his vessel, Missing Lynx. 

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For more information about Seward Ocean Excursions, click here or call 907.599.0499. 

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051. 

 

Winter Fun Awaits in Seward This Weekend!

Feature image by Luke Davis (@akdronepix)

Seward Second Saturdays Launches This Weekend!

To help you keep cabin fever at bay, the Seward Small Business Network is celebrating Second Saturdays this winter (January – April) with community-wide activities and special offers!

Seward is a haven of unique shops, art, food and quiet natural beauty during the winter. Whether you’re looking for family fun, a relaxing retreat or a bit of adventure, Second Saturdays offer the unique opportunity for Alaskans to come and explore our little town at the gateway of Kenai Fjords.

WHAT: Outdoor activities, live music, and special offers on shopping, dining and lodging!

WHEN: Weekends of January 12, February 10, March 10 and April 14. 

WHERE: All across town. Pick up a map of participating businesses at Harbor 360 Hotel on your way into town.

For more information, visit Seward Second Saturdays on Facebook!