Fred Drake began SCUBA diving on a family trip to Bermuda in 1978. Two years later he obtained his PADI Open Water Diver Certification from Bermuda legend, Dave McCleod. Fred grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut and then moved west to attend Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. There he majored in Recreation Administration and Business while taking PADI Advanced, Rescue and Divemaster classes with H.S.U’s rigorous SCUBA program. Humboldt offered Fred all things outdoors like whitewater kayaking, surfing, mountain biking, backpacking and snowboarding. Shortly after graduating from H.S.U. Fred received his PADI Open Water SCUBA Instructor rating and continued to work with the H.S.U. diving program.
Fred was next employed by Norwegian Cruise Line’s Dive In snorkeling program leading passengers on excursions throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico & Bermuda. NCL sent it’s first ship to Alaska in 1994. It was then that Fred and another PADI Instructor pioneered cruise ship snorkeling in Ketchikan. After 7 years of living on the high seas Fred finally tired of ship life. He relocated to Juneau, Alaska where he was the Division Manager of Gray Line of Alaska. He eventually moved to Ketchikan and opened Snorkel Alaska in May of 2001. He was voted Ketchikan’s Tour Guide of the Year in 2001 by our guests from Princess Cruises. He continues to love all things outdoors and Alaska offers him many world class activities.
Rebecah is joining the Snorkel Alaska team this summer for her first season. Originally from Pennsylvania, she received a degree in Biology from Wittenberg University in Ohio in 2016. That is where she first started SCUBA diving and went on to get her PADI Rescue Diver certification in 2015. With an interest in marine biology, Rebecah also studied at the Duke University Marine Lab for a semester and worked with the North Carolina Coastal Reserve researching sea turtles through monitoring, and data collection. She is currently enrolled as a graduate student at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami. She is working on a Masters of Professional Science degree in tropical marine ecosystem management. Rebecah has also taken a research diving class where she received her AAUS Scientific Diver certification and fine-tuned her diving abilities. Alaska is the next big adventure for her and she couldn’t be more excited to take it on. During her time in Ketchikan she will also be conducting observational studies and disease data collection on sea stars to assist scientists in California.
Kurt is originally from Chicago, Illinois. A number of years ago he gave up his real job for the life of a PADI SCUBA Instructor. Since then Kurt has taught diving and led tours in the Caribbean on the islands of Antigua, St. Maarten, Saba, Puerto Rico, U.S. & British Virgin Islands, Turks & Cacois, Costa Rica and most recently in Maui. He’s also worked on live aboard dive boats and luxury mega yachts. Kurt joined us in 2006 and was voted Tour Guide of the Season in 2009 by our guests from Princess. Kurt has recently become a Certified Personal Trainer with hopes of opening his own gym soon. Kurt has over 5000 logged dive and has certified hundreds of students. He’s coming back for season twelve this year!
Gillian is a California native who knew she wanted to study marine biology when she went snorkeling in Hawaii at the age of 14. She went on to study marine biology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland where she also learned to dive with the university dive club. After five years of diving in Scotland she headed to New Zealand for a summer season in Milford Sound. There she completed a PADI Divemaster Internship with Descend Diving. She is very excited to experience Alaskan waters and to be joining the Snorkel Alaska team for her first season!Emily is originally from Asheville, North Carolina. She tried SCUBA for the first time her senior year of high school and was instantly hooked. She earned her PADI Divemaster at Hawaii Sea Camp the following summer. She spent a summer researching sea sponges in the Florida Keys and has also spent time researching corals. Emily has dove all over the Big Island and the shipwrecks of North Carolina. She also interned at Divers Alert Network doing human physiology and safety research. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry in May 2015. Emily is presently a marine science instructor at the Catalina Island Marine Institute and is thrilled to be a guide at Snorkel Alaska!
Christopher was born in raised in Brooklyn, New York. As an undergraduate he majored in Urban Sustainability with specific interests in sustainable development, coastal resilience and marine conservation. Although born and raised in the concrete jungle of NYC, he has always had a passion for the ocean and being in nature. Christopher started scuba diving at 15 and was instantly hooked. He is now a PADI Divemaster with specialty certifications in deep, night, nitrox and wreck diving. He has experience in a diverse range of diving conditions, from murky underwater beach cleanups in Coney Island to New Jersey shipwrecks as well as the Caribbean. He was also a Volunteer Diver at the New York Aquarium, and helped run a Tropical Reef Ecology course in Akumal, Mexico. In his free time he loves fishing, hiking, kayaking, biking and simply being outdoors. This will be his first summer in Ketchikan and he is super excited for this new adventure.
Marcus comes from Chicago but since 2005 has been working as a PADI SCUBA Instructor in the Caribbean. In 2013 he did his first season at Snorkel Alaska and enjoyed every minute of it. Loving the scenery both above and below the Alaskan waters even more then the tropics he vowed to return. Since then he has been living on the tiny island of Little Cayman enjoying the best diving the Caribbean has to offer but secretly missing the Alaskan beauty. He is now returning to Snorkel Alaska for his second season and could not be more enthusiastic about it.
Shelby joined the Snorkel Alaska team from Catalina Island, California where she is a Marine Science Instructor at the Catalina Island Marine Institute during the school year. In 2013 she graduated from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. While studying she spent a semester abroad in Bonaire, Dutch Antilles where she began diving and fell in love with the sport. She followed her love of the ocean the next winter by completing an internship at the National Aquarium in Washington, D.C., near her hometown of McLean, Virginia. Shelby obtained her PADI Divemaster certification while completing an internship at MarineLab in Key Largo, Florida. Shelby will be back for her third season this summer.
David is a born and bred local from Ketchikan. He joined the Snorkel Alaska crew mid season in 2016. David starting diving about 5 years ago in the commercial sea cucumber dive fishery. Diving for sea cucumbers is a fairly taxing occupation that involves hand picking the sea cucumbers. The season starts October 1st when the weather and seas are often very hazardous. David is about to finish up his PADI Advanced Diver certification with company owner Fred. He will then complete his Rescue Course with Snorkel Alaska veteran Kurt prior to the upcoming 2017 season.
Maria joined us about half way through the 2013 season. She showed up at the Snorkel Alaska shop one day looking for work having just relocated from Indiana. We sent her out on the next tour and she was hired! Maria was employed as a Tour Guide in 2012 by Southeast Sea Kayaks here in Ketchikan. Her background is in Art but she’s an excellent tour guide and loves being in the water every day. Maria got into diving while teaching Art in the Bahamas. She’s a PADI Rescue Diver who’s extremely knowledgeable about Ketchikan’s flora, fauna and marine life. Maria will be back in 2017 for her fifth season.
This is Fred’s Mom, Joan. She moved to Alaska from Connecticut in August of 2015 after tiring of the harsh winters and hot and humid summers. You’ll see her helping out down on the cruise ship docks and in the shop selling T-shirts. Joan retired from a long career in the Horse Show industry where she was a secretary and Steward traveling all across the Eastern seaboard to work. She also used to breed and show Pembroke Welsh Corgis under the brand of Taichritia Corgis. She absolutely loves it here in Ketchikan and is enjoying the scenery and fishing.