The Alaskan Song Strikes all the Right Chords


As the meeting wrapped up in Bellingham with Captain Richard Friedman, owner of the Alaskan Song, Richard turned to me and said, "you know, we have to deliver the boat to Sitka for the summer charter season in mid-May. Noriko and you should join us."

Richard's invitation to cruise on the Alaskan Song up the Inside Passage of British Columbia to Southeast Alaska was music to my ears.

Almost 18 years earlier, I'd joined the reverse trip with Richard on his original Alaskan charter vessel, the Explorer. At that time, I was producing a web documentary for One World Journeys called Salmon: Spirit of the Land and Sea.

Looking back on it, I can pinpoint that first trip on the Explorer
as when I truly fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. 

The passage included a journey down the Inside Passage from Ketchikan to Bellingham. Looking back, I can pinpoint that first trip on the Explorer as when I truly fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. 

And now, more than a decade and a half later, Richard was inviting me to join him again. Not only would I be revisiting a place that I loved, I would be able to fulfill the promise I'd made to myself that some day I'd introduce my wife, Noriko, to the Inside Passage of British Columbia.

Photo of Alaskan Song

And so it was that on May 11, Noriko and I boarded the Alaskan Song in Bellingham. We were escorted to a forward berth that would be our home for a journey that would begin the next morning at first light.

What was our experience like? Check out the video, above, to get a sense of the great fun, food, friendships and adventure that was had by all.

Special Thanks
I'd like to thank Captains Richard Friedman and Jason Rose for navigating a safe and scenic passage from Bellingham to Sitka, and for tolerating my presence in the helm as I watched and observed and learned.

I'd like to thank Mariah Raftree, chef, and Travis Nguyen, First Mate, for everything from the fabulous food to a spotless boat to spotted shrimp (and easily an additional inch to the waistline).

I'd like to thank Paul Potash and Marianne Nakamura for being such great shipmates. From our shared experience of careers in photography to Marianne's training Noriko in the ways of TaiChi QiGong Shibashi, we couldn't have wished for better a better couple to become fast friends with in the confines of a boat's tight living quarters for almost 2 weeks.

And finally, I'd like to thank Noriko for agreeing to say "yes" to this trip, uncertain as she was about her own "seaworthiness." She overcame a few minor bouts of seasickness by learning to be in the right place at the right time on the boat during the biggest rocking and rolling periods (which were, gratefully, few) and enjoyed every aspect of the voyage.

About the Author
Russell Sparkman, CEO and co-founder of FusionSpark Media, is a contributing member of the FinFixx team in the areas of branding, digital marketing and content strategy. A credentialed Coast Guard Captain and professional photographer since age 25, Russell especially enjoys opportunities to combine his expertise in marketing, photography, video production, boating and fishing.

Russell Sparkman, Noriko Sparkman