Local family dives into Alaskan boat business
Chuck and Lydia House are getting ready to set sail on a big adventure.
The long-time Gypsum residents recently purchased The Raven’s Fire, a 60-foot Alaskan tour boat, and will begin offering salmon and halibut fishing, sightseeing and nature cruises in May.
Chuck, fire inspector for Eagle River Fire District, and Lydia, owner of Mountain Kids and Candy, had been looking for a way to be closer to the water and live a quieter lifestyle.
Lydia, whose father owned one of the first businesses to open in Lionshead, has spent much of her life in the valley and has raised her three children Ð Charlee, 16, Scott, 14 and Levis, 4, Ð in Gypsum. The changes she has seen in the valley over the years influenced her decision to look elsewhere for a less-frantic life, she said.
“This will give the kids a chance to see a different way of life, a frontier way of life. You can’t just walk out to Wal-Mart. It is a whole different attitude, like Gypsum was 15 years ago,” said Chuck.
The family had looked at communities and business opportunities in Canada and Minnesota before finding out about the Alaskan business in their own back yard.
Mike Lederhause, who lives along Colorado River Road, owned the Raven’s Fire but decided to sell it because it was more work and travel than the retired Colorado State Patrol officer was willing to take on. Lederhause’s daughter, Edie Lengel, attends the same church as the Houses, and Chuck and Lydia decided to check it out after learning about the Lederhause family’s experience with the vessel.
Located along the Inner Passage of the Gulf of Alaska on Baranof Island, the Houses’ new business is in Sitka, which was once the capitol of Alaska when the state was still a Russian colony.
The three-stateroom vessel sleeps eight, comes with a four-person crew, and offers clients use of a large fishing deck, and two large indoor viewing decks. The cost of a four-person trip is $1,450 per night and includes virtually everything.
The Houses hope the variety of activities on the water and in Sitka will attract their clients.
“The wildlife viewing is incredible. There were 23 bears in one day on one beach,” said Lydia. Whale-watching is another big activity.
The Houses’ will also offer fishing for king salmon, halibut, and rock fish. “A 240 pound halibut was caught off of the boat last year,” Lydia said.
“The most important thing about our service is that it is based on what the client is looking for. There is no pre-set itinerary and they determine each day’s events,” said Lydia.
The Houses are already booking trips for their first month of operation in May and have donated a trip for two on the boat for the March 5 Lions Club spaghetti dinner and auction at Eagle Valley Elementary School. The trip is valued at $4,350 and does not include airfare.
For more information about the Raven’s Fire, log onto http://www.ravensfire.biz or call 1-800-608-1844.
At a glance:
What: Eagle Lions Club spaghetti dinner and silent auction
When: 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., tonight
Where: Eagle Valley Elementary School
Cost: $6 per person or $18 for a family
Information: Silent auction items, including 6-day Alaskan cruise with The Raven’s Fire, a baby Golden Bear and a Vail Resorts season pass, can be bid on prior to the event at the following restaurants and businesses Mi Pueblo, Grand Ave. Grill, Broadway Bar and Grill, Bukas Deli, and the Alpine Bank locations in Eagle and Gypsum.
Proceeds from the dinner and auction benefit the Lions Club scholarship and community programs. For tickets or for more information call Paul at 524-9366 or Lydia at 328-6434.