Showing posts from October 4, 2015

Shackleton's Watchwords

My son, Brendan, gave me a book that provided the meme for the trip on the Inside Passage. The book is a photographic essay and commentary on the Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1954. There is a quote in the book attributed to Ernest Shackleton, whose entrapment in Antarctic ice in the early 1900s and subsequent escape pretty much define intrepid self reliance. When asked what the most important character traits for an explorer were,  he replied:
Optimism, patience, idealism, and courage... in that order As I prepared Ripple and myself for this journey, I returned again and again to Shackleton's words.  I am no explorer, and nothing about my trip was first-worthy or courageous.   In fact, I am inclined to replace the word courage in Shackleton's formula with confidence, butthe front half of the quote is the important part: optimism and patience.  The demands of the trip required lavish quantities of each. Optimism is difficult to sustain in our cynical, post-factual world, and p…

Go With the Boat You Have

Every sailor in the Pacific Northwest thinks about the Inside Passage.  It isn't circumnavigation, it isn't even blue-water sailing, and you're never really out of sight of land.  Oh... and there is not really even that much sailing to be done!  The local joke is that there are two kinds of boats on the IP... motorboats and motorboats with sticks.  But the Inside Passage IS the Pacific Northwest.  It is the ancestral home to nations of native Americans whose cultural histories rank among the richest of any indigenous culture.  The terrain is majestic and the wildlife plentiful, and a time traveler would find little changed in a millenium, or ten. Well... less ice now.

The Vancouver expeditions gave us the names of many passages, points, and islands, from Desolation sound in BC to Traitor's Cove on the Behm Canal.  The stories of the Russian presence in Alaska, from the Bering Expedition through The Russia Company, and the fateful sale of Seward's Folly to a recalc…

88 Days

The Summer just past witnessed my most ambitious cruising experience: Seattle to the northern reaches of the Inside Passage (and back!). I had hoped to blog my trip, day by day, but that didn't work, for a variety of reasons,  though I was able to post pictures on Facebook.

The trip was an epic journey, and I shall try to capture some of the lessons and stories after the fact. The upshot is that I travelled 3,050 nMiles in 88 days with 5 crew members (one at a time). Cruising for such a distance aboard a 26 foot boat in the company of each of my sons and three life-long friends stands among the great passages of my life.

The people met (and re-met), the places visited, the wildlife, the waters, the difficulties (mostly self-inflicted), and challenges of weather and sea have taught me great lessons and made me a better mariner than I was.  And whetted my appetite for more.

My beloved Ripple failed me on a single occasion: a 20 year old electrical connection failed due to metal fa…