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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.
Clarissa is originally from the deserts of Phoenix, Arizona. She spent all the time in the water when she could. She left Arizona to pursue Neuroscience and D1 rowing at Bucknell University in central Pennsylvania. Always down for an adventure, she is a certified EMT, Firefighter and also has her Wilderness First Aid certification. She has lead outdoor trips for 3 years with expeditions including backpacking, kayaking, and rock climbing. Passionate about environmental protection, specifically when preserving marine ecosystems, she is excited to go on adventures to share the beauty of marine life with everyone during her first season with Snorkel Alaska.
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!
Alex is joining the Snorkel Alaska team this summer for his first season. He was born and raised in Maui, Hawaii. Alex quickly took to all things Maui and is an accomplished waterman and athlete. He grew up in the water surfing, paddle boarding, snorkeling and free diving. He also participated in many school sports like hockey and football in addition to mountain biking and hiking all over the island. He was certified in SCUBA diving at a young age and recently obtained his PADI Rescue Diver certification. He considers him outgoing and enjoys meeting new people especially when it comes to water activities. From one island paradise to another we looking forward to working with Alex this summer.
Aaron joins the Snorkel Alaska team after spending the last 8 months cruising the east coast and the Bahamas on his sailboat with his wife and dog. He received his PADI Divemaster qualification in 2009 in Cayos Cochinos, Honduras after graduating college in Virginia. Since then he has traveled the world funding his journey with careers in the water or teaching in the classroom. Aaron’s favorite part of the job is working with a great team while being able to share his love of the water with Ketchikan’s visitors. When he’s not in the water you can find Aaron at the gym training Brazilian Jiujitsu, exploring Ketchikan in his RV or enjoying a cold one after work.
Kyle was born in Florida and has always been obsessed with the ocean and what’s in it. About 5 years ago Kyle all but quit his acting career to become a dive professional. He finally realized that dream some 2 years ago when he became a PADI Divemaster in New Zealand with Dive Tutukaka. Having been initially open water certified off the central coast California Kyle logged almost 100 dives in the Poor Knights Islands off the coast of New Zealand. He’s also spent quite a bit of time diving in the frigid tanks at the New York Aquarium. Kyle is no stranger to chilly water! After having spent the past year performing and teaching at a theatre in Colorado, Kyle is beyond excited to finally return to the ocean once more with Snorkel Alaska. He’s excited to jump in and show our guests all the cool marine life.
Tim began his professional diving career in Vancouver, British Columbia. But the lure of white sand beaches, palm trees and warm water diving was too much to resist so he joined Norwegian Cruise Line as a PADI Dive Instructor. Cruise ship life over 17 years allowed Tim to visit over 55 countries around the globe and he has snorkeled or dived all throughout the Caribbean, Bermuda, Southeast Asia and the West Coast of the US and Canada. Even after visiting some world-class dive sites, he still ranks the waters of the Pacific Northwest as one of his favorite dive/snorkel destinations. This is his first season at Snorkel Alaska.
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 forsea 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.
This is our Dock Representative and Fred’s wife 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. In their free time they enjoy fishing, camping and hiking Ketchikan’s many trails. In the off season they are always traveling to new locations.