Icy Strait Whale Adventures—a family tradition, a love for community and heritage
For more than 10,000 years, the Tlingit people have thrived on these lands and navigated Southeast Alaska’s magnificent waterways. Since first contact with Western visitors, the Tlingit have shared their homelands and guided people throughout the beauty and majesty of Haa Aaní, our land. We welcome you to share our family tradition, an experience so uniquely Alaskan — the hospitality of Southeast Alaska’s first people.
The late Albert Dick, once our proud patriarch and a leader and visionary in the Hoonah community, instilled in us a love and respect for the local land and waterways. He imparted a deep commitment to care for and share the beauty and bounty of this place. His example inspired, living the values and principles of his Tlingit heritage each day. His lifetime of work strengthened the community and provided opportunity for many.
Jackie and Russell
Albert’s wife, Jackie, and son, Russell, direct descendants of the Kaagwaantaan (Eagle/Wolf clan) Tlingit, co-own Icy Strait Whale Adventures and are dedicated to carry on his legacy. They share Albert’s love for the community of Hoonah and the rich culture and heritage of their Tlingit brothers and sisters. They invite you to share with them what is sure to be a whale of an adventure.
What Hollywood might characterize as “wildlife whispering,” our crew—continuing the ancient Tlingit tradition of Uncle-Nephew mentoring—enjoy a natural connection with this place and its magnificent creatures. Share in their experience as they build upon a lifetime of adventure. Captain Duane is a life- long Hoonah resident and one of the most experienced and gifted skippers in the region. Rain or shine, he will keep you safe and expose you to wondrous interaction with area wildlife. Don’t be surprised when he reveals amazing stories from throughout his life about his Tlingit culture, the community he loves and his countless encounters with wildlife.
Captain Duane’s nephew, Tyler, will be your deckhand. His energy and passion are contagious. You’ll see where his love for boating originates because you will share and experience the playground he has enjoyed since birth. You will witness firsthand, the unique bond and relationship between Alaska Natives and their homeland. The whispers you may hear will soon be replaced by the cheers for the awesome spectacle of Alaska’s great whales.
Hoonah, Alaska—strengthened by the traditions of community and clan
Listen to the wind in the trees, the cry of eagles and the song and drums of Hoonah’s first people. A rich history resonates through this vibrant village—telling the story of more than 2,000 years of Tlingit clans working together to build a community.
Hoonah, our Tlingit name for this place, literally means, “protected from the North wind.” It describes the first chapter of the great struggle our people endured—to relocate here from our original homelands, now known as Glacier Bay. Forced out by advancing glaciers, the resilience and tenacity of our ancestors brought us to this beautiful place we now call home.
Hoonah is Southeast’s largest Alaska Native village with more than 750 year-round residents. We have survived hardships like the devastating fire that burned our village to the ground in 1944. Working together, and honoring our cultural traditions, and with the help of the U.S military, we rebuilt Hoonah. You may notice many of our quaint homes are very similar—a result of the prefabricated houses built after the fire.
Today, we are stronger than ever. Our vibrant community has experienced new growth resulting from the development of Icy Strait Point and the welcome visitation of the many cruise ship travelers like you. Icy Strait Whale Adventures is one of many locally-owned businesses developed from new opportunities created by Huna Totem’s vast investment in developing infrastructure to serve you.
We have never forgotten who we are, or where we come from. The enduring spirit of perseverance, community building and the value, clan before self, lives on today—Icy Strait Whale Adventures, and the many locally-owned operators, are testament to that. Together we present, and share with you, our home – where traditions live on, thrive and take us towards a bright future. Welcome.