Meet Your Hosts
Your hosts are long-time Alaskans and have operated Orca Island Cabins for over a decade
About Your Hosts
Your hosts, Dennis and Susan Swiderski, are long-time Alaskans and have operated Orca Island Cabins since 2004. Susan, born in New Mexico, came to Alaska in 1969 when her father, a petroleum engineer, took a position with the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Dennis, originally from Michigan, was practicing law in 1977 in Washington D.C. when he seized the opportunity to relocate in Alaska to practice law with a telecommunications company in Anchorage.
After Dennis and Susan married in 1982 and while raising three boys, they operated an eight-bedroom Anchorage bed and breakfast for six years. Later they operated a scenic wildlife viewing and charter cruise business in Seward, Alaska; served as naturalists aboard a catamaran charter that cruised the waters of the Kenai Fjords National Park; and managed the Kenai Fjords Salmon Bake and Lodge on Fox Island.
In 1996, the Swiderski’s moved to Seward, Alaska. Their decision to move from Anchorage (population 280,000), Alaska’s largest city, to Seward (population 3,000) was the result of their unique experience of living with their boys on Fox Island, combined with their appreciation of the beauty and history of Seward, its location at the head of Resurrection Bay, its many outdoor recreation activities, and its small-town atmosphere.
The natural beauty of the Alaska wilderness that abounds in Seward has been an inspiration for Susan, who is a fine artist by profession and whose art (using the different media of watercolor, oil, and charcoal/pastel) embraces the many Alaska landscapes and seascapes near Seward as well as many of the historic buildings that coincide with the city’s founding in 1903. Susan has had a number of solo art shows in Anchorage and on the Kenai Peninsula and is a member of Seward’s Mural Society. Susan designed the Mt. Marathon mural on the Seward Senior Center Building. A selection of Susan’s art can be viewed on her website at: www.susanswiderski.com and, for those visiting Orca Island Cabins, at her art gallery on the island.
Dennis and Susan welcome one and all to their island accommodations, which they hope you will enjoy and share with friends and family.
Jillian, the Operations Manager, was born and raised in the Mid-South near Memphis, TN. She moved to Seward, AK in the summer of 2021 when she started her career with Orca Island Cabins. Jillian loves the outdoors and spending her time hiking with her dog. Her passion for the outdoors is what drew her to the beauty of Orca Islands Cabins.
Simon, born and raised in Alaska, is Susan and Dennis’ youngest son. Simon holds a 100 ton Coast Guard license and is the primary captain aboard the motor vessel, Orca Islander, which transports our guests to and from Orca Island Cabins. Simon lives in Seward year round and travels abroad frequently in the off season. Simon is our go-to-guy on the island, always available to assist our guests when needed.