ALASKA STATE PARKS – JUNEAU, ALASKA
In the mid 1990’s Alaska State parks purchased four Naiads form Alan Shaw, who at the time had just moved his shop from Homer Alaska to Anchorage Alaska. I was the recipient of one of those SOLAS / Naiads a 19’ open skiff with a center helm station. As the primary operator Alan invited me into his shop during construction stating he wanted to make sure he got it just right and that it would fit my needs. We kicked around some ideas and made some change to the deck layout. I ran that boat for six years in some of the most challenging waters in Alaska, the Shelikof Straights. That boat outperformed any skiff I ever operated and handles big nasty seas like a boat twice its size. The boat and I lived at Shuyak Island State park on the northern most island of the Kodiak Archipelago; the nearest gas station was 80 miles away. Later on we upgraded to the 21’ Naiad with a cuddy cabin. In my 12 years as a SOLAS / Naiad operator I think the gulf of Alaska only turned me back home two times. These boats are rugged and I always felt safe in one. Kodiak and the Shelikof straight are a true testing ground for a rough water boat. I had certainly put both the 19’ and the 21 footer through its paces out there. I never once worried about getting home alive, white knuckled and all, in the Shelikof straights. We still have a 21 in Kodiak and a 21 in Valdez, and the 28 in Homer. The Kodiak 21 is still pristine since I cared for it for many years.
I’ve since moved on to calmer waters in Juneau AK. but both these boats are still in operation. Every new ranger who has had the privilege to operate the 19’ instantly falls in love with its smooth handling and more importantly its ability to handle rough water and get you out spots that you weren’t smart enough to avoid getting into.