September 6, 2009

humback whale in Barkley Sound

We had a couple of nice encounters with humpback whales and Orcas in and around Barkley Sound.

None of these moments were captured on film.
This tiny clip is all we had.

Unless Newman has more footage? to me.

good wind in the West Entrance of the Straight of Juan de Fuca

I would never speak poorly of my crew, they are the lifeblood of each successful voyage in the Alizé. But, if I could change one component of the crew's behavior - it would be the amount of drinks they spill.

It is one thing to get your sea legs, but it is another thing to get your sea hands - this takes weeks.

taking out the dingy

I don't know much about comedy, but for my money, nothing is funnier than 2 guys in a little boat - especially when Kitson is wearing his Miami beach outfit.

Thank goodness Captain has his own private kayak.


the good news is that this mechanical autohelm works, the bad news is the amount of duct tape I used to get it to work -

shipwrecks in Barkley Sound

Navigating the Broken Islands was a challenge. There are many partially submerged rocks and neither my paper charts nor chartplotter had high resolution data of the area.

So, Newman and I had to be on point as we set headings and tack lines. The numerous shipwrecks served as ominous canaries in the sentinel coalmine, there but for the grace of canary warning, red flag god goes I.

rock fish and red tide

this spot was hot with rock fish - and Kitson cleaned up. However, Barkley Sound was also being visited with a viscous red tide. The water was the color of Guatemalan coffee - no shellfish harvesting, and no visibility for spearfishing.

just plain nice

kayaking back to the boat after exploring land is one of the high highs of boat ownership -

effingham island in the Broken Group Islands

We made it to the Broken Group Islands - and tucked into Effingham inlet for the night. This spot is just as gorgeous as it is remote. We put on our land exploration outfits and hiked across the island. We quickly got into a Lord of the Flies routine. I can't remember, but I think I won the machete and baseball bat fight.

bamfield in Barkley Sound

Bamfield is a remote town on the West Coast of Vancouver, no streets - just a waterway. What they lack in essential services like diesel, they make up for with eccentric oddities - like this cat house.

Out of desperation I hitched ride in an Australian's truck up into a logging road - so that we could siphon diesel out of his tractor's fuel tank with a garden hose.

That kept our operation moving forward.

getting searched

i have a terrible track record with border crossing. this trip was no different. Before i had a boat, I would always get searched at airports, now that I cross borders in a small boat, the boat gets the intensive inspection. These searches are always futile, since I carry no contraband. But they are always nerve-wracking. The Canadian authorities spent 30 minutes digging into all the remote holes in my boat. All they found were potatoes. Apparently potato smuggling is currently frowned upon.


We don't have much royalty in the US.

Okay, we have the Kennedy's - but theyre 'dropping like flies. So, upon arriving in a British protectorate, I demanded that the Alizé be berthed as close as possible to the Parliamentary Building in Victoria. I then said, "Where does the Queen have tea when visiting?" The harbormaster replied, "At the Empress Hotel" I said, "Fine, well how close can we get to that as well?"

First trip to the Pacific Ocean

Sailing in and around Seattle is good stuff, but there is so much to explore, you forget about the giant ocean around the corner. This summer trip served to remedy that wrong.

I put together a crack crew and headed up the West coast of Vancouver Island. It was a skeleton crack crew, in that there was only 2 dudes. One guy -Newman, was the detail oriented tactician with much offshore experience and then there was Kitson - an old homie who had no boat experience, but tons of good vibes.

Together, we rode the Pacific swells like native sons.

Here the crack crew is seen feasting on fresh harvest. We ate a lot of seafood on the trip: dungeness crab, salmon and rockfish. And when we weren't eating that, we ate cheese and British gin.