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Reflections of an Alaska Summer Cruise on Catalyst

Catalyst observing calving glacier


Lisa and I looked at many Alaskan trips over a four year period, but the strong recommendation from our friend Suzie made the Catalyst a clear YES. We roped in some friends and kept our fingers crossed. From the first cheerful confirmation text from Hans until the teary goodbye with bags in hand, the whole experience was positively aces.

It was tremendously healing to be so well taken care of, and delicious to not have to make any decisions other than what beverage to consume.

The crew consistently over delivered and made everything appear seamless. The way everyone worked with and around one another was like a ballet on the water. Always humble, real, professional, kind, capable, respectful, and everything done with pride. I loved that the crew ate with us, and particularly enjoyed the evenings when everyone got to seemingly rest for a few minutes and let their hair down. I loved the camaraderie and quick wits.

Hans looked so happy at the helm while taking us to one surprise after the next. Being in the wheelhouse with him was like finally getting behind the green curtain of Oz, since I am afraid of boats. His joy was infectious and his wicked sense of humor quickly put me at ease.

Shane had me at knitting, but his love of that boat and the care he gave it touched me deeply. I loved his pride of ownership, the engine room tour, his passion and talking with him.

Sarah is flat out spell binding with all her creativity, beautiful diction and chocolate-y voice. Her strong, yet gentle stillness and the depth of knowledge she possesses is truly awe inspiring. She is like a two-legged encyclopedia. Who knew fairy barf could be so interesting!

a bowl filled with different types of food on a tableMichael – that incredible, flawless, gorgeous, lovingly prepared food! “Gourmet” does not begin to describe the masterful creations that came out of his kitchen. When my friends ask “how was Alaska?” I exclaim, “OMG, the food!”’ The way Michael could feed us, all with our varied dietary restrictions, in such an inclusive way was what impressed me the most. Being in the Galley while he worked was like going to the church of gastronomy, a Holy place of worship every day.

The wildlife, the solitude, the nature, the ice, the beauty, the food, the drinks, the laughs, the conversations, the singing, the charm, the well loved boat, the kayaks, the gear, the education, the comfortable beds, the soft sheets, the music, the engine room, the library… everything was positively delightful. But I want everyone to know that Hans, Shane, Sarah and Michael are what made my trip memorable and transformative. They made every part of the experience excellent. Ok, the whales were super groovy.

The crew has so many balls in the air around the clock: Staying on schedule, working together, learning new names, negotiating personalities and demands – all while maintaining every facet of the boat, keeping things flowing, floating and everyone safe. Thank you for sharing yourselves with us and for providing a space for contemplation and restoration. It was a game changer. A true holiday.

Author: Wendy S.