Books & Charts

We love to read and look at charts because, you know, you can't be out exploring all the time.  Most of these links take you to Amazon.  If you end up buying the book through our link, Amazon pays Alaska Endeavour a small percentage, at absolutely no cost to you.  Know of a book we should add?  Please click here and tell us about it.

Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway -- Kirk Johnson & Ray Troll (2007)

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Cruisin' the Fossil Coastline -- Kirk Johnson & Ray Troll (2018)

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Hand Troller - Mike McConnell (2002)

A hand troller is a small salmon fishing boat -- usually run by one person -- that uses manual gurdies (cranks) to lower and raise trolling weights (as opposed to a power troller, which are larger boats that use electrical or hydraulic gurdies).  McConnell fished for king and silver salmon from Ketchikan to Baranoff Island, spending time in the tiny Port Alexander at the southern tip of Baranoff Island.  Hand trollers on their own following the fish remind us a lot of the cowboys on the open range of the 19th century. McConnell tells good stories and writes well. 

Lord of Alaska - The Story of Baranov and the Russian Adventure -- Hector Chevigney (1965)

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Voyage Round the World in the Years 1803, 1804, 1805, and 1806 -- Urey Lisiansky (1968)

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Through Spanish Eyes, Spanish Voyages to Alaska 1774-1792 -- William M. Olson (2002)

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Alaska's No. 1 Guide: The History and Journals of Andrew Berg 1869 - 1939 -- Catherine Cassidy & Gary Titus (2003)

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The Science of Salmon Fishing - Bill Haymond (2017)

This is the best book on salmon (and halibut) fishing we have ever read.  We think Haymond goes a bit overboard in all the ways you can cut a plug herring, but his underlying approach to fishing makes sense, and it has helped us.

The Anchor and the Pick -- Gary McWilliams (2019)

If you are in Southeast Alaskan with a boat and have an interest in mineralogy, this informal guide tells you where to go ... or, at least points you in the general direction.  Sometimes McWilliams wants to keep his locations secret.

The Tlingit Indians in Russian America, 1741-1867 - Andrei Val Terovich Grinev (2005)

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Coming Into the Country -- John McPhee (1976)

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White Fang -- Jack London (1906)

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Southeast Alaska: Names on the Chart and How They Got There -- R. N. DeArmond and William DeArmond (2015)

 

Locally printed in Juneau by the Gastineau Channel Historical Society.  This book lists the names alphabetically, which is not as handy as an annotated chart, but the detail is interesting. 

A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and Round the World, Vol. 2 -- George Vancouver (1798)

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King Con, The Story of Soapy Smith -- Jane G. Haigh (2006)

We once stood between the graves of Soapy Smith and Frank Reid... Amazon

Rowing to Lattitude -- Jill Fredson (2001)

We met Jill and her husband, Doug Fesler, in Seward, where they had their boat, the Companera, docked across the fairway from the Endeavour.  Jill and Doug like to row.  This book covers 20,000 miles of their rowing in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Scandanavia.  This book is personal and reads like Jill is sitting across from you in the Campanera salon, telling you about her and Doug's extraordinary adventures, but without affect or sensationalism, just her calm intelligence.  Theirs is a different, almost Thoreauvian life.  Amazon.

Voyaging Under Power (3rd Ed) -- William Bebe, Revised by James Leishman (1994)

The first edition of this book ...   Leishman is the CEO of, and you'll find lots of photos of Nordhavens in this book, but the bias doesn't detract.  Ray Troll sings a song about William Beebe and his bathysphere.  There's a recording here of Ray Troll singing it. 

 

The Troller Yacht Book -- George Buehler (1999)

Buehler was a boat designer from Whidbey Island, north of Seattle.  For decades he promoted practical, less-expensive, long-range cruising boats -- many of them in steel and many of them intended for amateur builders.  His boats were in sharp contrast to the plastic boats made by the big-name manufacturers.  We really like a lot of his designs, and we have seen some exquisitely finished boats.  In this book, Buehler talks about his life with boats and his design philosophy.  This is a good companion book to Beebe's Voyaging Under Power.  George's website here is also worth a visit.  George passed away in 2018 and he is missed.

SE Alaska Chart -- Sobay (1988)

This is an elegant, laminated wall chart 2-1/2' by 5' showing all of Southeast in sufficient detail to plan your route or locate that geographic reference.  Having it up on the bulkhead helped us a lot in learning the complex topography of this dense archipelago.  You can trace your routes and make notes with a dry marker.

 

Exploring Alaska & British Columbia -- Stephen E. Hilson (1997)

This is a large (12" x 16") chartbook covering British Columbia and all of Southeast Alaska. It's a historical gazette, with old nautical charts annotated with historical notes of what happened where and when.  We keep our copy in the pilothouse. 

Charlie's Charts, North to Alaska -- Charles & Margo Wood (2008)

This cruising guide (in a comb binding!) covers the west coast from Victoria, British Columbia, north through Glacier Bay and Skagway.  The last edition was 2008 so it is out of date, but we very much appreciate their full-page hand-drawn charts and commentary. We like the authors' approach and would love to see this guide updated.

Exploring Southeast Alaska -- Don and Reanne Douglass ()

If you want to cruise Southeast, this book is a near necessity.  It has its limitations: it's getting outdated, it relies heavily on the Coast Pilot (which is published by NOAA and is free), and the authors are overly cautious, but there isn't a better guide.  You should still download the most recent Coast Pilot in PDF form. 

Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual (3rd Ed) -- Nigel Calder (1995)

If you own a bigger boat and it has an inboard engine and any kind of wiring, you absolutely need this book.  It covers almost everything in enough detail, and clearly, for you to make repairs on your own, or at least understand what your mechanic is telling you.  Calder makes a major contribution to humanity with the book, and we thank him.

A Comprehensive Guide to Marine Medicine - Eric A. Weiss MD & Michael Jacobs MD (2012)

This wonderfully dense little book is the best advanced first aid (second aid, maybe third aid) we've ever seen.  It goes way beyond the Boy Scout and Red Cross first aid classes and tells you how to deal with problems when help is more than an ambulance ride away. At 4-1/4" x 6", we keep our copy in Endeavour's medical kit, and we have needed it.

Kenai Fjords: Coastal Guide to the Kenai Peninsula Outer Coast -- David W. Miller (2017)

This is an excellent history and natural history guide to Kenai Fjords, from Seward westward, and it isn't a bad cruising guide for boaters, either.  We highly recommend it.

Steller’s Island: Adventures of a Pioneer Naturalist in Alaska Littlepage (2006)

This is the story of Gorge Steller and Vitus Bering's "Second Kamchatka Expedition," which delivered Steller onto the beach of Kayak Island for ten hours.  It's an easy read of a depressing saga and should be read before reading Steller's own journal for the context.  Parenthetically to the Steller story, it describes the early Russian otter and seal trade and their disruption of the natural balance in the 18th century.  This is not an academic dissertation, but it has good source notes and a chronology.  This link takes you to Amazon.

Looking Far North: The Harriman Expedition to Alaska, 1899 – Goetzmann and Sloan (1982)

 

In the spring of 1899, steel magnate Edward Harriman organized an expedition, at his expense, from Seattle to the Bering Sea and back on board the 250-foot-long steamship, George W. Elder, with 126 passengers and crew.  Among the passengers were 25 scientists and three artists, including C. Hart Merriam, John Muir, Edward Curtis, George Bird Grinnell, and William Healey Dall. The expedition covered 9,000 miles in two months – 150 miles a day – but, despite the speed, made important contributions to our understanding of Alaska and its natural history. The expedition returned with over one hundred trunks of specimens and more than 5000 photographs and colored illustrations.  The original account of the trip spans 14 disjointed volumes.  Looking Far North is the best modern account of the trip.  This link takes you to Amazon.

Return of the Sea Otter -- Todd McLeish (2018)

The Secret Lives of Glaciers -- M. Jackson (2019)