Seward Amphicar Mystery

Amphicar Mystery of Past Silver Salmon Derby
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013   By: Alicia Busick
(Original story by Larry McNeil 1960’s Alaskan Photographer: Who was he?”)

    From it’s humble beginnings in 1956, the Seward Silver Salmon Derby has seen a plethora of makes and models of vessels that fish Resurrection Bay.  Some captains claimed to have seen a bathtub or two. Even the owners of a notable tour company in Seward were once witnessed floating around in a small Zodiac out near Cape Resurrection simply because “we couldn’t take the big boats out fishing, of course.”

But none take the cake, so recently learned, as the Amphicar. An Amphicar is a semi-submersible vehicle that can travel on land or at sea. I never knew such a machine existed so long ago until doing some Derby research. I stumbled upon a blog with a seemingly authentic picture of an Amphicar that fished Seward, Alaska. Be the judge with the image below. I have a healthy dose of skepticism but I do not put much past the fervent anglers of Resurrection Bay. The mystery appears to be the names of the two anglers in the picture and any information on the vehicle itself other than apparently it did “sail” at sea. The owner of the negatives, Larry Neil, invites anyone who knows about the mystery machine or the photographer to contact him at


Amphicar – Circa Approx 1968 By Unknown Photographer

I’ve seen quiet a few amazing bobbing vessels and I commend their venturous spirit. The only “mothering” I will dish out is to put safety first! Make sure you have adequate life jackets, working marine radio and a good safety plan. I scoured the seven seas and found a great site for a Virtual Safety Check with the Coast Guard. LeSea Charters complies with a US Coast Guard volunteer 5 Star Safety program that is very similar to the above link. Okay, done with the lecture.

What’s intriguing still with the photo is the photographer as well. Larry Neil describes purchasing a box from an estate auction in the 1980’s with the negatives inside. Several other Alaskan scenes were documented including one on Mendenhall Glacier, Fur Rendezvous approx late 60’s and an Ansel Adams workshop. More on the mystery photographer here.

I always love a good mystery, so there’s two for one here. Discover the name of the Amphicar owner and the name of who actually shot the photos. Best wishes salmon sleuths! Who knows, you could catch a whopper of a tale this derby…

Tight Lines and Fair Seas to Ye,

~Alicia Busick
LeSea Charters

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2 thoughts on “Seward Amphicar Mystery

  1. Hi Alicia, Thanks for sharing this cool little story. Back in the late 1960’s we saw this Amphicar way out in Resurrection bay, bobbing around in the ocean rollers. The car was owned by the Stewarts, who owned Stewart’s Photo on 4th Avenue in Anchorage. The mystery questions are “Who shot the photo & who are the people?” It was shot with large format 4×5 film, so it was either a professional photographer or a serious amateur.

    It was obviously late at night and they caught a couple of salmon and they seemed happy about their day in the bay. Can anyone identify the people in the photo? The kid in the photo is likely in his 50’s now.



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