The Fairweather Range from Cape Spencer, outer coast of Glacier Bay National Park

"Unlike today’s rigid hull kayaks that often deliver a pounding ride in a short, choppy sea, the hinged joints of the Aleut kayak allowed it to flex with the waves; the boat moved through the water like a creature of the sea, a trans-species mutation with the soul and skin of marine mammal and the heart and guts of the human who animated it."

In the Wake of the Aleut is a modern journey that mirrors a time when travel along America's Northwest Coast depended solely on heart and muscle. Inspired by the epic voyages undertaken by Aleut kayakers near the end of the eighteenth century, I set out to explore Alaska's gulf coast, a humbling, shape-shifting land and seascape where the elemental forces of earth, water, fire, and air come together to spin their alchemy into some of Mother Nature's most impressive displays of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanism, and storms. Gale-force winds, rough seas, tide rips, breakers, and treacherous river bars provided plenty of adventure. But I was also blessed to meet many kind people who invited me into their homes and see a lot of wild critters. I hope you'll join me for a sea otter's eye view of one of our planet's most stunning coastlines.

Estimated date of publication, 2016

To read an excerpt