Below is a list of questions and answers to the most common questions. If you have a question that is not on the list, drop us an email and we will find an answer.
What's the deal with training?
Training is usually in early May and runs about three weeks. Training will cover many subjects including (but not limited to) leadership skills, trip logistics, company policies, paddling techniques, reading weather and water, kayak repair, risk mitigation and rescue training. Part of training involves 'shadowing' senior guides on all of our trips to gain first hand experience. All returning and prospective SC staff members are required to attend preseason training in its entirety. Satisfactory completion of training is required to become seasonally employed with Sunny Cove. Training, including shadowing, is unpaid, however we will provide most meals and those who complete training satisfactorily will be given a small stipend.
How long is the season for a guide?
Our season begins in mid-May with limited tour availablity. These early trips will most likely be run by our return guides with opportunities to shadow as a new guide. We typically do not get really busy until somewhere around mid-June. Busy season runs until mid-August and trips end early in September. Usually there is a bit of work for a few days after the last trips...you know, clean up and packing. All the dates are subject to change, but for now, that's the plan.
What if I need extended time off during the summer?
Unfortunately, due to the dynamic nature of the business, extended periods of time off are not available. We do our best to schedule you with two days off per week. Occasionally we ask if there are volunteers on staff willing to give up one of their days off when we are really busy. We take time off requests seriously and do our best to fulfill them, but more often than not, during the core of the season we need all able bodies ready and available.
Should I bring a car? What if I don't bring a car?
Lowell Point is about 3 miles from Seward city center, so a car is not totally necessary. However, if you want to travel around the Kenai Peninsula or Alaska, a vehicle can be handy. Alaska is big, and transportation can be a challenge depending on how much time you have available. We have a few bikes available for guide use, but if you have a bike of your own you may want to bring it and a lock. Cab service is also available in Seward for a nominal fee.
Does Sunny Cove have a dress code?
It's tough to have a strict dress code in the guiding world, although we do have a few rules. No visible tattoos, facial piercings or crazy hairdos. Be clean and odor free. Keep your gear in good, clean condition. Piece of cake.
Is it okay if I am a smoker?
Sunny Cove has a strict non-smoking policy. We do not allow smoking on any of our properties, affiliate properties, or on any trips. If you are a smoker, this is not really the place for you.
Does Sunny Cove have any height or weight restrictions?
Sort of...our kayaks generally top off at about 225 lbs, or a 50 inch waist, or a height limit of 6'5". If you exceed any of these measurements we have not yet found a kayak that will fit you well.
Will my cell phone work in Seward?
Your phone will likely work in Seward city limits but availability gets sporadic away from town. There are a few Alaska based cell phone providers that provide service in Seward as well. There is very, very limited cell reception when you are scheduled on Fox Island.
Is there internet access available?
There are a couple of internet cafes in Seward and there is internet access at the Seward Library. You will also be able to pick up a signal at Lowell Point. The internet service in Seward is 'high speed' by Alaska standards which means it is pretty slow. Summer internet costs for Lowell Point housing will be split amongst the staff living on site. Usually that's about $10-15 each for the whole summer.
What's in Seward?
Seward is a pretty typical small town. It's pretty easy to get around, and all the usual amenities are available. Go to www.sewardak.org if you want detailed info.
How do I get to Seward?
Seward is located approximately 2.5 hours south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula. There is daily flight service into Anchorage. There are a few options to get to Seward from Anchorage. The Alaska Railroad provides daily rail service from mid-May to mid-September. AT&T Park Van Connection provides daily service mid-May through mid-September. Seward Bus Line provides daily service year round. Kenai Fjords Tours also offers occasional shuttles between locations. Each of these providers offers a special rate to staff members coming to Seward to work. If you have questions regarding travel contact us. Sunny Cove does not provide any type of travel stipend or reimbursement for any reason, including an unsatisfactory training outcome.
How often do I get paid?
SCSK pays biweekly and guides are responsible for maintaining their own time sheets. There are two banks in Seward, Wells Fargo and Bank of Alaska. A full pay schedule will be posted in the office at Lowell Point. Please remember, you will not get a full pay check for awhile at the beginning of the season, maybe not until mid-June, so come prepared to survive for a few weeks on your own savings.
Who the heck am I working with?
Sunny Cove has a pretty special culture. Our crew is fun and hard working. When you live and work together for several months straight a pretty spectacular connection occurs. Click here to see the crew.
What's the deal with guide housing?
Full time Sunny Cove staff are given the opportunity to live at Lowell Point or Fox Island (depending on the scheduled rotation) with a small housing deposit of $100. Housing consists of a communal yurt on Fox and a communal yurt in addition to some other facilities at Lowell Point. There are kitchen facilities at Lowell Point and there is very limited storage space for the guides. We all live in pretty close quarters, so the ability to share and cohabitate is important. Getting along is pretty easy at SC with a few simple guidelines... 1) respect each other 2) clean up after yourself 3) keep your body/gear clean. Your bunk is waiting!
I have a pet. Can I live in guide housing with my pet?
No, pets are not allowed.
What if I don't want to live in guide housing? How hard is it to find a place to live in Seward?
Finding housing in Seward can be a real challenge. Seward relies heavily on tourism in the summer time and nearly all of the rentals available in the summer are lodging rentals. If you intend to live outside of housing you'll need to start looking really early. Check the Seward Housing Facebook page, Seward Phoenix Log, Seward City News, and Craigslist for listings.
What's a normal day like for a guide?
The guiding schedule may entail any number of combinations of trips or chores. In general, guides can expect to participate in 1-3 trips per day. This can sometimes make for a day that begins at 7:15 am and finishes at 9:15 pm with few breaks in between. We do our best to be fair and accomodating when scheduling but due to the dynamic nature of trip booking the schedule can change at the last minute with little notice. We try to schedule two days off weekly and we try to honor time off requests. We do our best to be flexible with the schedule and expect the same in return from our guides.
What kind of gear will I need?
Well, you're gonna be a kayaking guide in a cold-water climate, so you'll need cold-water kayaking gear. You can check out the whole list at our gear page. Guides are responsible for providing ALL of their own personal gear. Sunny Cove gear is for clients. Pro deals will be made available to guides so that gear can be purchased at a discount. Sunny Cove cannot be held responsible for any gear expenses should a prospective guide not complete training successfully.
What are the chances a first year guide will get onto a multi-day trip?
Well, that's up to you. SCSK operates like any other guide company, and senior lead guides get first pick for multi-day trips. However, more often than not those lead guides need assistants on their trips. Whether or not you get scheduled for these trips is totally up to you. If you show drive and talent it is pretty likely that we will notice. Also, do not be afraid to ask. But, if you are going to ask be sure you are getting practice wherever you can. Shadow trips, put on a drysuit and practice your rescue technique, spend some time learning new information to add to your naturalist repertoire....like we said...it's up to you....we only send the best.
Is a Wilderness First Responder certification required?
A WFR is required for all of our guiding positions. We hold our guides and their abilities to high standards and promote those who strive to be the best. Our promotion guidelines can be found in our staff manual.