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 & Hayden Kaden
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.
Brittney has worked for Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks since 2011 and over the years has enjoyed becoming intimately familiar with Bartlett Cove taking guests on our guided day tours. Starting with the 2021 season, she will be taking on more office and warehouse duties in addition to renting kayaks and guiding our new guided rental and citizen science overnight trips.
When not on the water, you can find her alongside her husband, David, building their cabin, working with local medicinal flora, and hanging out with her cats, Porter and Menerva.
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.
For the last 12 years, David has chased big whales, bigger trees, and calm waters. His guiding career started in Juneau as a deckhand and whale watch guide. He’s been guiding day tours for Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks since 2015 and starting with the 2021 season will be guiding our new guided rental and citizen science overnight trips.
He has a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Alaska Southeast and has studied whales in British Columbia, southeast Alaska, and the Pribilof Islands. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and also has training in CPR and First Aid.
For three winters, he and his wife, Brittney, worked at a remote orca whale research station off the coast of British Columbia. They now make their year round home in Gustavus with their two cats and are learning the joys and perils of building their own home.
When not paddling, camping or dodging rain clouds, David enjoys cold beer, watching baseball and writing.