OUTSIDERS: Nicola Zantello and Gutchquena

Juneau's Outdoor Lives

Posted: Sunday, July 16, 2006

Nicola Zantello

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Age: 28


Age: 36

Favorite activities: Gutchquena and Zantello, both self-employed, like doing "anything on the water - boating, kayaking, canoeing, scuba diving, seal hunting." They recently returned from a canoe trip down the Teslin and Yukon rivers, from Johnsons Crossing to Carmacks (approximately 230 miles). They saw wildlife, explored abandoned Native villages and mining camps and met other paddlers along the way. They are avid boaters, spending much of their summers island-hopping and exploring the waterways of Southeast Alaska.

Cool experiences: "We passed up the guy who walked across America. He walked across America and then got in a canoe and paddled to the ocean and we passed him on the river," said Gutchquena.

Close call: "We got caught in a 70 mph wind tunnel and just about flipped out of our canoe," Gutchquena said. "The wind was blowing us all over and water was pouring over the sides. It felt like it was going to push us over, so we paddled to an eddy where we held onto the roots growing out of the side to keep ourselves stable," Zantello said.

The two had another close call during a skiff ride to Hoonah. "It was beautiful, sunny and cool. I thought let's go to Hoonah and have some lunch. On the way back we got stuck in a storm," Gutchquena said. "We had to get out of the storm so we went the backside of Sisters Island. We put the boat up on the shore, but when the tide went down the boat was teetering on a cliff. We had lots of safety gear so we were comfortable, but had to sleep under the stars in the boat on the rocks and wait out the storm," Zantello said. "It was 'love on the rocks,'" Gutchquena said.

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