In 2009 I sailed into the inside passage, and Alaska just wowed me! It was even more then I expected it to be. The snowy peaks of the mountains creating the fjords, the whales that accompanied us as we were sailing along… it was wild, alive, and I couldn’t help but feeling that this is the place I needed to be in.
I kept the boat in a small fishing community for the next few years, and apart from sailing between the fjords, I started traveling around the mainland as well. Many camping trips and backpacking trips, led me to realize that AK was not only the greatest from the water, but from the land side too. I was taken.
After returning to Israel in the end of 2013, I joined Ofer as a tour operator to the last frontier.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"Here at Gelmond Geo Tours, we really like to take people away from it all, and make them experience AK at its best. Alaska is truly a nature’s wonderland. There are not many places like it left on this planet…so remote and so wild, with a beautiful way of life that is connected with the environment. Our focus is on taking people away from the beaten path, and make sure they experience something that they might not experience anywhere else again. We love working with small local operators, and bring our clients into the real Alaskan wilderness. Whether we use a boat, or an air taxi, we make sure they get a taste of virtually everything AK has to offer – the coastal areas and their beautiful rain forested fjords, the tundra, the glaciers, and of course the great amount of wildlife. "
How did you get involved in travel?
"As I always considered myself a traveler, it was only natural to get involved in the business and started working with Ofer, after returning to Israel. The Alaska travel industry is such a unique one, as it really brings adventure into play, no matter who you are, or what your physical abilities are. You will be surrounded by nature and experience the real wilderness whether you are a real mountain climber, hiker, sailor or someone who simply wants to look at it from the balcony of a beautifully situated cabin. Nature is there and available to enjoy from. "
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"While on the sailboat one day, as we were approaching Juneau coming from the north, I spotted a large group of whales. as I love photographing wildlife, we slowly moved a little closer to the group. All of a sudden, as if they signaled to each other, the large group of whales, that then turned out to be about a ten whales group, just turned their direction and started swimming towards us at once. Shocked and somewhat intimidated, we slowed the boat down to a very slow pace, knowing that no matter what, they will always be faster than us. We were not sure if they were playful, or aggressive because of the strange vessel, but as they came along side, it was obvious. For the next twenty minutes, they just played with us, swimming right under our boat. I laughed from excitement uncontrollably… this was one of the most powerful moments I ever had in my life. "