Outdoors

Alaska Outdoors – recreation and adventure.


Covering the Swiftsure International Yacht Race 2017

In my previous life I was a fishery biologist. I spent 15 years on boats of all colors and sizes, but never had a chance to go sailing on a yacht. My love of the boats eventually turned into my current profession of a maritime and industrial photographer. When Stocksy offered to arrange for me to go to Victoria to photograph the Swiftsure International Yacht Race onboard Westerly, I jumped at the chance.

The day race turned into a 24-hour affair as the wind kept dying. Quarter mile before we crossed the finish line at the mouth of the bay, the wind perished completely. A couple of dozen yachts sat stranded for hours, trying everything short of blowing into the sails. A couple of boats gave up and turned on their motors, disqualifying them from the race. Around 7:30 am, the changing tide finally sucked us into the bay, past the finish line.

I was impressed by the volunteer crew of 18 people. From the 20-something to the 60-something men and women endured the hard work of a racing yacht for the love of the sport. It was hard even for me, scrambling between the port and the starboard side every 15 minutes for much of the trip, so the crew could swing the mainsail and change the direction of the boat. It was challenging just crouching on the steeply inclined deck of a racing yacht. And I had the easy job of taking photos. I didn’t have to run along the boat, manipulating lines, unfolding and folding sails, dragging them in and out of the cabin, figuring out any mishaps.

The highlight of the trip chanced just before dawn. As we were heading back to Victoria after rounding near Neah Bay, Washington, northern lights splashed across the horizon above British Columbia. We were sitting on the dark deck, watching the bow’s fireworks of bioluminescent spray, in silence, the only sound coming from creaking sails, the northern lights dancing in the clear sky above.

Maritime photographyMarine photography | Mihael Blikshteyn Photography in Seattle, Washington

Marine photography | Mihael Blikshteyn Photography in Seattle, Washington

Marine photographyMaritime photographyMarine photography | Mihael Blikshteyn Photography in Portland, Oregon

Washington photographerMarine photographyMarine photographyMarine photographyMaritime photographyMarine photography | Mihael Blikshteyn Photography in Seattle, Washington

Marine photographyMarine photographyMarine photographyMaritime photographyMarine photography | Mihael Blikshteyn Photography in Tacoma, Washington

Marine photographyMarine photographyMarine photographyMaritime photographyMarine photography | Mihael Blikshteyn Photography in Seattle, Washington

These photos are available for licensing from Stocksy.


Carl, Jane, and an Iceberg

A winter trip to Juneau isn’t complete without a walk to the face of the Mendenhall Glacier on frozen Mendenhall Lake. After an especially cold spell earlier in the month that captured a few icebergs in awkward places around the lake, Carl, Jane, his canine companion, and I set off early one morning. We were looking for ice caves we could explore. Several of my colleagues, along with a Russian guest scientist, were also coming to Juneau for a conference, and I wanted to make sure ice was thick enough for me to take them on this walk later in the week. I suspected the consequences of loosing them in the lake would not reflect favorably on my annual evaluation.

After moving out of Juneau, I get too see our glacier only once or twice a year, and I am shocked at how fast it is melting away. It is only a matter of time, probably  a decade, at most, the glacier will retract beyond the lake and we won’t have any more icebergs gracefully floating around the lake.