I hardly know where to start, how to get up to date with these blogs, how to summarize all that's happened over the months since my last post on May 2015.
Making a long story short seems easiest, so here's a paragraph or three that brings me to the present, and later I'll put some detail into the various destinations.
This narrative picks up at the time when I climbed Colima during an eruption of Fuego.
Once I reached La Cruz in the Bay of Banderras, my sailing project had to take a back seat as other commitments and opportunities intervened.
The first of these was a fabulous month in Prince William Sound with Lizzie, Llew and Allison aboard "Seal" a purpose built high latitudes sailing boat owned by Hamish and Kate who have spent many years exploring the Antarctic and Arctic waters, notably skippering Skip Novak's "Pelagic". They instructed us on the unique characteristics of remote high latitude sailing, as we climbed and skied wherever we could. www.expeditionsail.com
|Somewhere in Prince William Sound, Alaska on our Remote Sailing Workshop|
Before leaving Mexico I spent some time in the Sea of Cortez, dealing with leaking fuel line and injector issues, then left Whakaari in La Paz to go to Llew and Alli's wedding in Colorado and some climbing in the Rockies.
The Baja Bash followed, Carol crewing for me again from Cabo, which was an easy fun sail accompanied by thousands of dolphins. The weather was unusually in our favour, even allowing some spinnaker sailing, soaking up the sun, and never donning the foulies!
Leaving the boat in Ensenada I joined Lizzie, Llew and Alli and a bunch of other kiwi friends on an amazing African journey, focused on climbing Kilimanjaro, communing with gorillas and chimps , and experiencing the wildebeest migrations in the Serengeti and Masai Mara.
|Finally, at the summit of the worlds tallest free-standing volcano|
On my return I went to Oregon for some climbing in the Cascades, (definitely worthy of a separate blog.) before returning to Ensenada and bringing Whakaari further north.
Entering the USA at San Diego, the boat then threw her toys out of the cot and I struggled to make much progress north, constantly dealing with issues aboard. I had to return to San Francisco from my attempt to reach Canada, and found out my father had died suddenly, so I returned to NZ for his funeral. My best choice afterwards was to winter the boat in SF and do some work to pay for repairs and replenish funds. I did manage some skiing in Aspen, staying with my friend Jackie, and sharing Xmas with Alli's family in Breckenridge.
2016 brought more positive progress, and in late February I did a very fast run up the California/Oregon/Washington coast riding a SW front to Victoria BC with Dick Sutton aboard as crew, who had sailed this passage several times and was blown away by our rapid time of one week!
Whakaari spent another month alone in Silva Bay, Gabriola in the Gulf Islands while I returned to NZ for the film premier of our amazing experiences in Africa "Into Africa", a New Zealand "wedding celebration" for Llew and Alli in Charleston, and interring my fathers ashes.
|Alec my brother in law 'piping Alli and Llew in', at Frith and Petes home in Charleston, NZ|
|with Lizzie, Llew and Matt at the floating Kutz Lodge|
Llew and I climbed Garibaldi near Whistler, my chosen BC volcano, again a story worthy of its own blog.
A final highlight of BC cruising was our visit to Khutzeymateen Inlet where the Grizzly Bear viewing was sublime. env.gov.bc.ca Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Santuary
With Lizzie staying aboard we cleared out of Canada and entered Alaska at Ketchikan, taking in some very impressive scenery, cultural sites and wildlife as we explored Wrangell Narrows, Sawyers Arm tidewater glaciers and the region's myriad bays and inlets en route to Juneau.
|Grizzly mother and two of her three cubs|
Very soon I will be back aboard, preparing the boat for the big adventure of crossing the Gulf of Alaska to explore the Aleutians and across the Bering Sea to Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia then hopefully to Hokkaido, Japan before the northern winter once again sets in. With a strong crew coming together, we plan to spend as much time as possible exploring and climbing ashore, one particular objective being an ascent of Mt Cleveland in the Island of Four Volcanoes.
|The Islands of Four Volcanoes|
I must down to the sea again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife...
extract from "Sea Fever" by John Mansfield