iPhone users flook your favorite SEAtrails and more

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Apologies to those who aren’t iPhone users, this blog post introduces an awesome new iPhone application for user generated flook cards. Above is my first flook card. In flooks’ own words:

Flook is a location browser – the world’s first Serendipitous Discovery Engine. Flook is a brand new way to discover and share the world around you. Flook’s innovative UI lets you simply swipe through a stream of nearby flook cards. Cards have a full-screen photo and some text and they’re also geo-located – placed at a specific location for you to find when you’re nearby. Over time, flook learns which cards people like most, and then shows them to you first.
For the SEAtrails region and outdoor recreation and tourism – flook is a tool that lets us share things that catch your eye/attention. flook is very new. Even if it doesn’t sweep the country, it is free and fun to upload postings, so there is no downside. If a few people or a dozen are inspired to visit, yahoo! If more locals start posting, it will also be handy for sharing information such as when/where the lake ice is good for skating (my recent posts), events, …

flook can promote SEAtrails and the region in several ways. 1) Folks from around the world can easily browse flook cards online and on iPhones so we can generate interest in our region with pictures of cool places and activities. 1a) Right now flook is very new so there aren’t that many users, so cards are getting more play than they will as the network grows. 2) When someone is planning a trip to Alaska they can seek out cards in the area of interest to help with planning. 3) When here, you can ask to see flook cards near you for ideas of where to go and what to do.

The folks at flook are working to improve the application constantly and in response to my request for a category for birders (a community that is all about locations of rare birds) I was told that they plan to make the flook cards searchable by key words. When this happens I’ll be back to edit appropriate cards by hiking, kayaking, trails, etc.

If you are reading on your computer, visit and then pop over to community to browse the latest flook cards from around the world (flook originates in Europe). For iPhone users, the flook application is available to download through the app store and its free! Sign up early and get your favorite user names. I scored Alaska.


NOAA BookletCharts Perfect for Kayakers

Monday, December 14, 2009

SEAtrail maritime journeys along Alaska’s coast by kayak, rowboat or canoe are enhanced when you take along both topographic maps and marine charts. This can be an expensive proposition as standard marine charts cost over $20 each. I think my last topo maps were $8 each. Besides the expense (and hassles of locating a local dealer with all of the maps/charts you want in stock), poster-sized charts are not designed for kayaker use.

NOAA Office of Coast Survey has released a new “experimental” product called a BookletChart that rescales charts and then breaks them into sections that can be printed on demand on 8.5 x 11 paper. They are formatted to be printed two-sided and then stapled as a booklet. This sounds perfect for kayakers – easy to handle, will fit in a gallon ziplock bag or commercial map case, and you can print/carry only those sections you need.

Since this product is listed as “experimental” and I don’t know exactly what that means for longer-term availability and cost, I plan to go online and download all of the charts I might possibly want in the next few years. Digital storage is cheap! You can browse the chart index map to see if your next paddle or distant dream trips are published as BookletCharts.

I’ll also be checking with NOAA to see if this experiment is expected to last long enough to justify adding links to appropriate charts from the SEAtrails web site. NOAA is asking for feedback on this new product. You’ll find a feedback link on the main BookletChart page.

Hydaburg SEAtrail to be Rebuilt in 2010

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

One Duck Trail, a 1.5 mile hiking trail that accesses the Prince of Wales alpine and a three-side shelter, will be under construction in 2010. Funding is through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Solicitation for the estimated $500,000 to $1 million project opened November 27, 2009 and closes on December 28, 2009. This is a U.S. Forest Service project.

Look forward to a beautifully designed and constructed trail into the mountains. The trailhead is located along the Hydaburg road at milepost 2.5.

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Mr. Whitekeys is coming to Juneau for a Fun(d)raiser

Monday, December 07, 2009

Save the date – February 24, 2010.

Mr. Whitekeys will be performing at the Juneau Arts Center (old Armory Building).

Watch for posters starting in January with event and ticket details.
This event is for ages 21 and older as there will be a bar and a wine tasting will precede the show.

SEAtrails supporters … volunteer positions are still available for this event. If you are interested e-mail Karla at info (at)


Prince of Wales Island kayak tour offered for 2010

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Whether by jet or small plane, anytime I’m overflying Alaska’s coastline and can see the ground, I’m planning routes and imagining adventure trips. Sometimes they remain dreams, sometimes they become reality.

Uncommon Adventures founder and kayaker Michael Gray of Michigan must have flown over Prince of Wales Island (POW) on a clear day, with a friendly pilot who pointed out that POW is the third largest island in the United States and seldom visited. One month later, Michael has pulled together the details and is offering an exploratory kayak tour on the northwest coast of the island in June 2010, co-led by a local guide. He’ll bring these folks through Ketchikan, floatplane to Craig, bed and breakfast in Craig, transfers on the island, and I expect they’ll be renting kayaks from someone. And, those kayakers will be going home with stories of seemingly endless miles of wild coastline just calling for exploration. Thanks Michael and happy paddling.

You’ll find more information at

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