Liz Gifford is a sea kayak guide and photography instructor in some of the most remote parts of the world. With her undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology and her Masters in Teaching, she is a natural and curious leader, always looking for an opportunity to teach and discuss what she sees around her. Most recently her “office” has included sea kayaking in Alaska and Greenland with humpback and sperm whales, teaching photography under the imposing edifice of Denali, and living her Pippi Longstocking dreams while immersed in the cultures of Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
Liz has always had an affinity for living on or near water and currently calls Juneau, Alaska home where she owns a cozy houseboat named the Myriad. She first moved to Alaska almost 20 years ago to combine her love of the outdoors with her passion for education. She enrolled at the University of Southeast Alaska and obtained her Outdoor Leadership Skills certificate. Her favorite class was by far Expedition Sea Kayaking so when offered a job with the U.S Forest Service as a wilderness ranger travelling primarily by sea kayak, she jumped at the chance. Liz spent three seasons protecting and educating visitors in the remote wildernesses of Glacier Bay National Park and Tracy Arm Wilderness Area.
Liz firmly believes in lifelong education and takes any opportunity to expand upon her skills. Most recently, Liz has been working on gaining more experience on the ocean and how to help people be safer in the outdoors. She earned her Master’s 100 Ton Captain’s license and is a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician. Liz is certified through the American Canoe Association to be a sea kayak instructor and has taught kayak courses for the National Park Service. All of these certifications have helped her as a “bi-polar” guide in the Antarctic and the Arctic waters. She has been a sea kayaking and photography guide on small tourists ships that ply the remote ice filled waters of Svalbard, Greenland and Shackleton’s South Georgia. This will be her eighth season in Antarctica and as a photographer she is always inspired to photograph ice. She loves the impermanence of each piece, knowing it is only a small matter of time before it melts and changes. Each excursion out into the ice is like a visit to a new and pristine sculpture gallery. Antarctica is like the holy grail for a photographer.
When she is not guiding, you can find Liz with a cup of coffee in one hand and her camera in the other. She pre-apologises for all of the puns and bad jokes she can’t help but share. It is a genetic fault which she blames entirely on her dad. Most importantly, Liz loves exploring wild places, especially in the company of amazing individuals who also feel compelled to visit them.