Alaska Sea Adventures Crew
Owner & Captain
Harley Ethelbah started his maritime career over 40 years ago. His family moved to Petersburg when he was a young boy because his father had accepted a position as a wildlife biologist in the Tongass National Forest. The family quickly adapted to Alaska’s premier fishing town, Petersburg, deemed Little Norway due to the large population of Norwegian families that moved here in the early 1900’s. Naturally, Harley quickly became enamored with the incredible marine life.
At 12 years old, he started fishing commercially with a local fishing family, and when he turned 18, he purchased his first vessel. Since then, he has been an Alaskan commercial fisherman, seining, drift-netting and diving for everything from salmon and halibut to black cod and sea cucumber.
He also owns and operates Jean C Family Fisheries, a boutique seafood operation that brings the fish from his vessels directly to the customer’s table. The vacuum-packed frozen products, which have been bled on the boat for superior quality and flavor, are sold to restaurants and home cooks throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Harley’s depth of experience spans not just Southeast Alaska but the entire West Coast of the United States, from Morro Bay, California to the Bering Sea.
Over the decades he has owned numerous vessels, from 18ft Herring skiffs he operated off the coast of Nome, Alaska to 120-foot vessels in the Bering Sea. His more recent commercial fishing boat, the Jean C., is a 58-foot combination fishing boat and can be seen in Petersburg Harbor where she sits awaiting her next Black cod or Halibut trip.
Harley says, “Southeast Alaska is big, and you just don’t show up to the party without a guide and or a boat. There are no roads leading into Petersburg and the only way to get here is by plane or boat. This is an incredible part of the world. I look forward to sharing it, thru the eyes of a fisherman aboard the Northern Song.”
Northern Song Captain, Captain James Begeman, got his first salty taste of the ocean during a childhood visit to Bermuda. He was instantly hooked. Immediately after finishing high school in the Midwest, he moved to California and bought a sailboat to explore the scenery and sea life of the coastal waters and the Channel Islands.
James decided to turn his hobbies into a profession and moved to Key Largo to become a certified SCUBA instructor and licensed boat captain. Over the years, he has followed his passions all around the globe and worked in Hawaii, Tonga, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and Indonesia. Along the way he met his partner and Northern Song Naturalist, Mindy Huston, and the two have worked together on the ocean ever since. Both developed an immense love for whales and shifted focus in that direction. They spent a magical season in Niue working as guides taking people snorkeling with humpback whales, followed by a season guiding snorkelers with Blue whales in Timor Leste.
Captain James and Mindy now follow the same migration as the Northern Pacific Humpback whales. They spend most of the year with them in their Alaskan feeding grounds and travel to Hawaii for a few months in winter to visit them in their breeding grounds. James works as a boat captain in both places so that he can share his love of the whales with visitors. He has been fortunate to work as a captain for world-renowned film crews, setting them up for cinematic shots of the whales in action. He is also a licensed drone pilot and recently had his footage featured in a film narrated by David Attenborough.
Although the sandy beaches of the tropics are nice, James now considers the glacier-carved passages of Southeast Alaska home and looks forward to sharing his love for them with guests of the Northern Song.
Mindy Huston, Northern Song Naturalist, brings a breadth of experience and enthusiasm for whales to Alaska Sea Adventures’ marine and wildlife program. Mindy is originally from the East Coast though she now considers the waters of the Pacific Ocean her home. She started her maritime career as a scuba diving instructor which led her around the world to tropical places such as Roatan, St. Croix, Hawaii, Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Indonesia. She has since taken a step back from diving to focus on the world above water, specifically the beauty of Southeast Alaska.
Mindy first met her partner, James Begeman, Northern Song Captain/First Mate in Hawaii where they discovered their shared enthusiasm for humpback whales. They have enjoyed many whale seasons in Hawaii, worked as whale snorkel guides in Niue, followed the pygmy blue whale migration through Timor Leste, and now migrate with the humpbacks spending summers in Alaska and winters in Hawaii.
Mindy is excited to return to the Northern Song as a Naturalist/Mate and eager to share her knowledge of the area. She is an amateur photographer, and enjoys hiking, kayaking, and the wonders of Southeast Alaska.
Chef Terri Moore has enjoyed traveling the world for personal adventures and performing as chef on private and charter yachts. She fancies keeping her keen eyes and ears open to glean local food knowledge and flavors and can often be found in the kitchens of people she meets.
Traveling off the beaten path and learning new ways to prepare international cuisines is a passion she nurtures. Terri has always loved being in Alaska. She treasures the view of wildlife and scenery from the galley window while preparing meals for guests. Reflecting on her experiences cooking in Alaska, she shares, “Seafood tastes best around the 60th parallel! Food in Alaska is so fresh and clean and a pleasure to work with. It’s as if everything slides off a glacier and onto the plate.”
Terri is happy to accommodate special requests and dietary needs and is excited to bring her knowledge and passion of cooking to the galley of Northern Song.
World traveller Stephanie, also known by her crewmates as “The Most Interesting Woman In the World,” started her life in Romania, became a championship figure skater in British Columbia on a quest for the Olympics, then spent much of her young adulthood working on fishing boats everywhere from Scotland to Maine. She speaks half a dozen languages, earned a Master’s Degree by the age of 23, and she can identify almost everything in a tidepool (and will happily do so for guests).
These days, she proudly serves as first mate on the Northern Song while also earning her PhD in Marine Biology. She has collected many interesting and exciting stories from her adventures around the world that she is always happy to share with guests.