This is where we publish our boat related stories and articles, which range from world circumnavigation to rescue missions, humour and much, much more. So make yourself a coffee and settle yourself down to a good read.
During November and early December the Canal and River Trust are auctioning off over 100 items of waterways memorabilia. Hidden away in their yards across the South East they’ve discovered various items which may be of interest to canal enthusiasts, including disused British Waterways signs, and copies of prints, such as an old Grand Junction Canal distance table.
In Las Palmas we met a Danish cruiser, who lived on her boat in Las Palmas Marina. She had bought the boat in Spain six years earlier, had sailed it down to Las Palmas, and now the boat had never since been out of the marina.
Despite our good intentions of being real cruisers and quickly leave Las Palmas, we have now stayed in Las Palmas more than a week. The main reason is that Henrik found a guy to help him fix his water maker.
The Northwest Passage runs from a point North of Nuuq to a point similarly near Nome Alaska. We left London England on March 30, 2013.
You may remember a blog from just over a year ago about two special dogs that we have been sponsoring for some time from Dogs Trust (details of the previous blog can be found at the bottom of this page).
With the weather forecast placing a certain amount of doom and curbing our sailing over the next few days with Storm Force 10 to violent storm 11 expected on the south coast UK...
After a couple of very nice days at anchor in Lanzarote, we are now in Las Palmas, which is the biggest city in the Canary Islands. Las Palmas marina is huge and there are ARC flags all over. A Swedish boat next to us, who is also participating in the ARC, said that there are 250 participating boats in the ARC leaving from Las Palmas. They are leaving a week after us, so halfway across we’ll probably be overtaken by 200 ARC participants!
After a spate of welcome meals out, provisioning, banking and fuelling the boat we left Prince Rupert considerably poorer on Monday at noon - heading south in the sheltered waters of the Canadian portion of The Inside Passage. This fabled cruising ground originates in Olympia Washington and continues north to such destinations as Glacier Bay and Skagway Alaska. Although this was Traversay's third visit to Alaska, we have always travelled at the height of the tourist season and opted to miss the more heavily-travelled Glacier Bay and Juneau area in favour of Prince William Sound and points west.
We have now arrived at the Canary Islands, which we’ll be our final stop before the Caribbean and its palm trees, white beaches, clear blue waters, steel bands, and rum!
Langara Island sits of the North West corner of Haida Gwaii guarding the southern edge of Dixon Entrance. As the Langara light flashed its greeting around midnight, the winds died away and our motor, having been freed of various threats, plant or human, took over from the wind to move us toward port.
ALL OF A SUDDEN: a huge Bull Kelp floats out from under the hull. It was attached in a few places by the stipe (B) which was caught on a zinc and also in the propeller. Our marine I.D. book <<Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest>> says that the "pneumatocyst (A) contains carbon monoxide and was used by coastal First Peoples as a storage container for water and fish oil." This float acted like a drum and was banging against the hull. We thought it sounded like a man-made lobster buoy! The kelp was only held in place by the motion of the boat, so once we stopped the motion it disentangled itself and floated out.
It is always gratifying when a passage works out roughly as you had planned it. As gales continue to pummel the Alaska peninsula every couple of days, far to the east we sit on the edge of a receding high in a perfect sailing breeze.
We're on our last major passage for this season. Traversay seems to know this and is bounding along at a good pace under shortened sail. I'm quite excited about arriving at the coast and the 4-hour watches seem very long. Instead of doing anything worth-while I'm obsessively working on Sudoku puzzles. I often re-check the row of x's marching towards Langara Island. I then realize that I'm not imagining it - this endless North West Passage trip is nearly over (or at least, the scary bits!)
On leaving King Cove, the pleasant sheltered-water sail to the North East was slightly marred by the need to find shelter from a coming storm. We wanted to be out-of-town so we chose uninhabited Coal Harbor. This small offshoot of Zachary Bay seemed, from our reading of the Coast Pilot book, to have the right combination of shelter and sticky mud bottom to keep us safe from Friday's weather.
Boat parts in hand, we had been waiting for a suitably gale-free day to move Traversay III over to the boat lift and extract her from the water.
We will be here somewhat longer and it’s hard to keep from being irritated at the delay. Even very calm people would find themselves having to tap funds of as-yet-unexplored patience in this wait for boat parts. Had they arrived in time, the last three days would have been perfect for both the haul-out and repair of Traversay and the trip towards Kodiak Island.
After the excitement of anchor watches, ice watches and worrying about whether our anchor windlass will survive another bout of heavy pulling - or whether our engine will start allowing water to pour in rather than just trickle in, it feels really restful to be tied to the dock here.
Last weekend over 2000 people visited central Birmingham to enjoy the floating market: A three day event organised by The Roving Canal Traders Association. Traders who both live and work on the canals arrived in Birmingham by boat to sell their arts, crafts, jewellery, palmistry, poetry and food.
The weather forecast for the Unimak Pass section of the Aleutians was, we are told, typical for this time of year. Later in the year, it gets worse.
We anchored here at 0700 to allow a gale to pass by us, and also to position ourselves to exit the Bering Sea through Unimak Pass at the proper time to minimize issues with the currents. It's now 0830 and just beginning to show the grey light of dawn. The rain has not stopped, and the wind is making a low moaning sound … the season up here is definitely OVER and the North country is closing the door on us.