Against Alaska's rugged coastline, San Jacinto College maritime student Eva Wilson navigated an adventurous summer as she interned with Allen Marine Tours.
As a deckhand on St. Elisabeth from May to August 2023, Wilson worked 40-50 hours a week tying lines, running engine checks, turning on generators, and doing other general boat maintenance.
I had an excellent base knowledge going into my internship. Line handling was a big part of my day-to-day tasks, and San Jac prepared us well. I also had a lot of boat maintenance tasks that I was ready for, thanks to the diesel engine and troubleshooting experience. Compared to interns from other maritime programs, I felt like those of us from San Jac had a bit more experience and knowledge.
Allen Marine Tours is a family-owned business and one of the oldest tour companies in Alaska. It operates vessels from the ports of Ketchikan, Sitka, and Juneau, where Wilson was stationed. She logged 89 sea days in three months.
"We would take tourists on three-hour whale-watching tours in the Pacific Ocean," said Wilson. "I saw 40 or 50 individual whales this summer, but we saw them hundreds of times. It was a great experience."
Though the work was demanding, Wilson and her fellow interns enjoyed one day off each week to explore the beautiful Alaskan wilderness.
"We got to climb up to a glacier on a seven-hour hike. I also climbed up a mountain for the first time," she said. "It was hard, and it was raining the whole time. When we came down, our motivation was to get burgers from this great food truck we knew."
Wilson learned about the summer internship during a San Jac maritime campus job fair.
"Allen Marine was doing Zoom interviews," said Wilson. "Some people didn't want to travel to Alaska, but it sounded exciting to me. One of my instructors encouraged me to apply, and I got the job. I'm so glad I did."
Growing up in Florida, Wilson always had a fascination with the water. When she heard about San Jac’s Maritime Campus, she knew it was the right fit.
"Right now, my focus is on brown water, tug, and tow boats, but one day, I'd like to be a captain on an unlimited tonnage ship," she said. "I'd love to work on a cruise ship or a cargo ship. Maybe I'll move to Alaska. There are a lot of opportunities on the Alaskan Marine Highway."
Wilson will return this summer to work for Allen Marine Tours in Juneau as a deckhand.
Learn more about the maritime program: sanjac.edu/about/locations/maritime.