Snorkel Alaska Team

Chelsey, Ninschi, David, Fred, Conor & Caroline

 

Meet Your Guides

Company Founder – Fred Drake

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 learning to SCUBA dive

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.


Chelsey

There is nothing Chelsey loves more then spending time in the water. Growing up all over the world she learned to scuba dive in the south of France back in 2004. She has since been diving all around the world and became a PADI Divemaster in the Philippines in 2016. She spent last summer in Croatia enjoying the sunshine and guiding dives. On her return to London she missed the water so much she joined a local dive center in England. Ready to embrace the colder water Chelsey is excited for her first season at Snorkel Alaska.

Kurt

Kurt

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 fourteen this year!

Caroline

Caroline is excited to join the team this summer for her first season with Snorkel Alaska. Raised in Atlanta, she began SCUBA diving in 2003.  She dabbled a bit in Cave Diving prior to completing her PADI Divemaster certification in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands where she worked for 6 months.  For the past four years she’s been working in the beautiful Similan Islands out of Khao Lak, Thailand. During the high season she’s kept very busy leading snorkeling and SCUBA tours.  She is looking forward to colder waters and Alaskan marine life!

Conor

2018 will be Conor’s first season with Snorkel Alaska. He grew up in Rochester, NY and went to college at the University of Maryland where he studied biology and psychology. He learned to SCUBA dive after his Freshman year as part of a destination ecology course conducting coral reef surveys on Nevis Island in the Caribbean. In 2015 he received a Masters Degree from Washington State University in Applied Ecology with a focus on Terrestrial Biology. Conor was astounded by the cold-water biology and marine life found in the colder waters of the Puget Sound. He next set his sights on traveling and working in the ocean full time as a PADI SCUBA Instructor. He’s since been bouncing back and forth between the Caribbean and New York and is thrilled to be moving to Ketchikan this summer.

 

Grayson

Grayson is excited to come on board the Snorkel Alaska team this summer. Over the past 5 years he has shared his passion for the ocean while guiding tours in the waters off Catalina. From diving the silt laden waters of the Yukon river, to finding small sea slugs in the clear tropic seas of Sulawesi, Grayson has explored the world under the waves and loves to share that experience with others. He received his PADI Rescue diver in 2007 and has been in the ocean ever since. He is looking forward to another glorious summer in Alaska and the wonders of the inside passage.

Nena

Growing up in Sunny San Diego, Nena has always had a love and passion for the ocean. Working over 5 summers in San Diego and Santa Barbara, she has taught surf lessons, stand up paddle board & kayaking. In 2017 she received her PADI open water scuba certification, deepening her understanding of marine life & the ocean. Nena currently works on Catalina Island, teaching kiddos about environmentalism, sustainability, and most importantly, the ocean ecosystems. Her common pastimes include snorkeling, freediving & night snorkeling!  Enraptured by the seasonal lifestyle, this will be Nena’s first summer with Snorkel Alaska.

 

David

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 of the sea cucumbers.  The season starts October 1st when the weather and seas are often very hazardous.  David obtained his PADI Advanced Diver & Rescue Diver certifications in 2017 from company owner Fred.  He is now a certified PADI Divemaster which he received from Ketchikan’s local dive shop Wind & Water Charters & SCUBA.  David has shown excellent leadership skills and is now assisting Fred with managing the company.

Ninschi

This is our Dock Representative and Fred’s fiancé Ninschi.  She hails from Bavaria, Germany.  She grew up in the country village of Kemnath a few hours north of Munich by car.  She moved to Munich where she dabbled in a variety of occupations.  She studied to be a Dietician and worked helping people with eating disorders.  She hosted a number of call in TV gameshows, did some modeling and owned and operated two different businesses.  She is assisting Fred with all aspects of running Snorkel Alaska.  They met in Arizona where Fred’s father lives and Ninschi was visiting her best friend from Munich.  They plan to marry in July.

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