Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks is owned by long-time Alaskans, Bonnie & Hayden Kaden, and owner/managers Kara Berg & Leah Okin- Magowan (a veteran Alaska sea kayak guide, who joined our team in 2007). We have felt very fortunate to live the Alaska life, building homes and businesses, raising children, growing gardens, and benefiting from the rich bounty that the land and ocean of southeast Alaska provides. As a small, independent, local Gustavus business, we have enjoyed sharing our passion for kayaking and our knowledge of Glacier Bay National Park with backcountry campers for over 30 years.
Our business couldn’t exist without the hard work and enthusiasm of our team of seasonal professionals who make our summers fun and interesting and will help make your kayak trip a safe adventure that you’ll always remember. Our guides and instructors come to us complete with CPR and Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certifications. They have a love of the outdoors, knowledge of local natural history, and extensive personal experience camping in Glacier Bay. Our staff lives daily what they will teach you, spending the summer camping and kayaking in Glacier Bay on their time off and learning first hand about the backcountry and tides.
Bonnie and Hayden Kaden bought their first kayak at the Texas State Fair in 1964, then brought it north to Alaska with them three years later. In the early 70's, they moved to Gustavus, Alaska, "the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park", to expand Alaska Discovery, one of the state's first wilderness expedition guiding companies, to include kayak trips in Glacier Bay. After managing and operating Alaska Discovery expeditions from their primitive homestead cabin for several years, they founded Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks in 1978 to provide kayak outfitting services for the independent campers coming to Glacier Bay. Business partner, Kara Berg, joined the company in 1984, and for the next three decades, Bonnie and Kara managed and operated Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks. Bonnie and Hayden continued to explore by kayak the many inlets of Glacier Bay.The Kadens decided to expand their boating skills beyond fighting tides, winds and waves in kayaks. They bought themselves an Ally Pak canoe, and currently spend pleasant days going with the flow down interior rivers.
Growing up in Minnesota, Kara can thank her parents for instilling in her a love for the outdoors and wild places. Summer vacations for the Berg family meant camping, hiking and fishing trips to western National Parks, along with weekend canoeing on Minnesota’s beautiful lakes. While attending graduate school in Montana, a job opportunity landed her in amazing Glacier Bay, with every day off spent exploring the Park by kayak. Summer work as a wilderness guide for Alaska Discovery and operations manager for Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks became a career. Kara feels fortunate that her job is to share her knowledge of Glacier Bay with others planning their kayak adventure. Gustavus became home and life here continues to be best enjoyed outdoors, observing and learning more about the critters, birds, and plants that also call this special place home.
Though Leah has kayaked from the far reaches of Papua New Guinea to the tabula ice bergs of the Antarctic, Alaska remains by far her favorite place. Originally from England, Leah got the travel bug early in life, searching for the wildest most remote places on earth. After arriving in Alaska, it became apparent that it was the only place she could call home and continue to allow her free spirit to endlessly explore. Eighteen years ago Leah put her kayak paddle into the waters of Southeast Alaska and has not taken it out since. As an expedition kayak leader, Leah guided back country journeys of discovery for ten years before joining Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks. Leah's spare time consists of kayaking and she has paddled thousands of miles of Alaska's shores. Facilitating others to experience by kayak these magnificent and wild lands is far more than a job, it is her passion.
This is Brittney's third season working for Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks and her fourth as a kayak guide. During the winter season, she care takes an Orca research lab in British Columbia with her husband, David, and eventually plans to make Gustavus her year round home. When not on the water, she enjoys yoga, running, reading, hiking with her cat, Porter, and eating leafy greens with her pet rabbit, Penny.
Brittney earned her degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Alaska-Southeast and has her certification in First Aid, CPR and is a Wilderness First Responder.
After three years working as a whale watch and bear viewing guide out of Juneau, David joined the GBSK staff for his first summer in 2015. He earned a B.S. in Marine Biology in 2011 from the University of Alaska-Southeast and has studied orca and humpback whales in Southeast Alaska, the Pribilof Islands, and British Columbia. David is a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and also has training in CPR and First Aid.
In the off season, David and his wife, Brittney, care take a remote whale research lab in British Columbia. When he's not paddling, he enjoys whale watching, cold beer, and writing. Long term, he hopes to live year round in Gustavus and continue work as a kayak guide and writer.