Most people think of Alaska as a far away land of perpetual ice and snow. Southern Alaska on the contrary lies at our very door and is easily accessible. The following pictures, all taken aboard our yachts, will show that it is a land of sunshine and beauty whose sheltered waters are never frozen over even during the winter. These cruising grounds, among the most beautiful and varied in the world, extend some five hundred miles in a northwesterly direction from Prince Rupert, British Columbia and Ketchikan, Alaska, and average one hundred and fifty miles in width. There is a coast line among the thousands of islands and the innumerable inlets and fjords of over ten thousand miles.
For many of the pictures we are indebted to William L. Finley and Arthur N. Pack of Nature Magazine, as well as to others who have taken trips aboard our yachts with their movie cameras and have brought back lasting records of the wonderful lure of that coast and of the wealth of fish and game to be found there.
Cambell Church, Jr. Seattle, Washington
So read the introductory credits laboriously applied to the opening scenes of Westward, Campbell Church's 1920s-era film that depicts the Alaska excursions conducted by his Alaska Coast Hunting and Cruising Company aboard the 86-foot M/V Westward.
Church had commissioned the celebrated Naval Architect Ted Geary to design the vessel, based on a cannery tender design he admired, and the vessel became the prototype for Geary's famous fantail yachts. She was launched at the Martinolich Shipyard at Dockton, on Maury Island near Seattle, in 1924 and began her career ferrying passengers along the Inside Passage from Seattle to Alaska.
Board the Westward and join Church's elegant clientele whose names included the likes of Disney, Crosby, Kodak, Hutton and Mellon. Dress for dinner in the saloon, where stewards in white coats assuage your thirst and your appetite.
Marvel at the mountains, glaciers, icebergs, islands, forests and fjords that line the Inside Passage. Strip off your cravat or your fine dress and pull on high topped boots for hiking, camping and canoe trips, where meals are cooked over open fires and wildlife abounds at every turn.
Watch a member of your party scale a cliff to examine and eagle's nest, as baby eagles with three-foot wingspans squawk with displeasure and their parents swoop perilously close to the interloper. Marvel at the calving ice walls of Glacier Bay as the Westward navigates a sea of icebergs that serve as resting places for vast numbers of seals, sea lions and birds.
Cast for steelhead and trout along primeval streams as huge salmon runs forge their way past the beach seines, the salmon traps and the waterfalls that impede their spawning urge. Marvel at the wildlife, the deer, the bighorn sheep, the mountain goat, the caribou and the omnipresent brown and black bears.
If styles were different then, the main regard in which Alaska excursions of yesteryear differed from the modern variety lay in the preferred forms of recreation. The real lure of an Alaskan excursion to the consciousness of 1920s America was blood sport.