I had the opportunity to journey up north to Alaska to capture and put a short story together highlighting a portion of a10.5 week journey of RVers, together in a caravan from northern British Columbia, traveling into the Yukon, and then northwest exploring the mountainous landscapes, glaciers and rivers of central and southcentral Alaska.

The caravan consisted of about 20 Leisure Travel Vans from all over the US and Canada and was lead by Duane and Lynda Pilson of Rec-Vee, and Bill and Helen Harder on behalf of Leisure Travel Vans. Mike & Lani Elias, as well as myself caught up with the caravan for five days, five weeks into their journey in Homer, Alaska, located on the shore of Kachemak Bay, on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula.

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We set up camp for three days along the beautiful Homer Spit, a narrow 4.5 mile long paved peninsula that extends into the Kachemak Bay, looking south across to the grand peaks of Kachemak State Wilderness Park.

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The Challenge

Alaska is a rugged, wild place. Because we were there during the summer season, we had the unique experience of seeing 24 hours of daylight. The sun “set” at around 1:30am, and rose again shortly after. Though, at sunset, the sun merely kisses the horizon and hovers – it never fully sets. The days were long which is fantastic.

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Except, because of its surrounding landscapes and ocean currents, we also experienced 3 days of downpour. This hid the mountains, turned the skies grey, and forced most people indoors. The silver lining was that we had time to sit down with the RVers and chat with them, interview them about the experience – in a way that seemed more intimate than we’d normally be able to capture. Which lead to a more immersive story.

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The Process

We arrived in Seward early afternoon, and the group was getting settled in at Seward Waterfront Park. A beautiful campsite located along the water of Resurrection Bay, Seward Waterfront Park looks across to the stunning Resurrection Peninsula. The afternoon was a little wet and dreary, so most of the group opted for time inside playing cards and games with one another, or relaxed with a book.

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We took the opportunity to interview a few of the couples on the Caravan to learn more about their stories and their journey so far through Alaska. We learned some couples had traveled the world, some had RVed for many years, and for some the 2014 Alaska Caravan was their first RV trip.

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To film in rain and equipped with only a monopod and a Red Scarlet, I macgyvered up my camera & lenses with plastic shopping bags as protection. This gave me the flexibility of filming scenics, capturing the rain drops, even bringing the kit onboard a small boat as we took a tour out to glaciers in the ocean.

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The Captain brought us as close to the glacier as possible and even shut off the engine so we could hear and experience the glacier calving in its full effect. We all spent a number of minutes in complete silence taking in the spectacular site, listening to the ice break away and plummeting into the waters below.

The captain and his crew were fantastic and provided a wealth of knowledge along the journey. The captain and crew would point out wildlife as we passed, and even slow the boat down to ensure everyone was able to get a great view and take plenty of photos. We saw Eagles, Harbor Seals, Sea Otters, Sea Lions, and shortly into the journey, a pod of Dall’s Porpoise swam, jumped and dove alongside our boat providing a memorable show! We also got to see Humpback Whales, which was an incredible site.

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On the way back to Seward we stopped at Fox Island for a much welcomed break on land to warm-up in-front of the fire, and enjoy a delicious Wild Alaska Salmon and Prime Rib buffet. If you are planning on visiting Alaska, Seward is certainly worth the visit, as is taking the tour out to view Kenai Fjords National Park – although we hope you have much calmer seas than we did.

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