Archives for category: – Canada

We’re up on Vancouver Island on the west coast of British Columbia. Monday, after months of planning, we left the Bay Area, our truck loaded with supplies for our months-long sailing trip, en route to meet a boat we’d never seen, except for its online profile.

After several trips up north and still no boat, we found an an Aloha 32, a well-regarded, Mark Ellis-designed, cruising boat named Carmana, on Vancouver Island. In mid-May we decided to make an offer.

Shortly thereafter we hired a surveyor to assess the boat. We waited a bit anxiously for the day of the survey. When that day came, however, the surveyor pronounced her a well-found little ship. All systems were go.

The Saturday before we left we had a little grilled pizza bon voyage party with friends. When I dropped off ice for the party, though, and tried to repark the truck… nothing. The starter, that had been acting up, had decided to pack it in. We were meant to leave in two days and it was Memorial Day weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

We’ve been looking for a boat for our Pacific Northwest trip and spotted this one for ourselves. We put in an offer on it last week. Traveling up to the Pacific NW four times since last fall, looking for a boat to call our own was getting expensive. We saw this boat online and made an offer. We haven’t even seen it in person.

It’s an Aloha 32, a Mark Ellis design that’s similar to the Niagara 35, a capable boat that was, alas, out of our budget. Both are well-built, spacious, and do away with the ubiquitous v-berth to make room for more galley and salon space. (The berths in these boats are aft.) From what we hear, the boat does have some delamination issues in the deck. Whether they are major or minor issues, the survey will reveal.

We’re leaving to head up north in about a week, boat or no boat. I hope this one passes it’s survey. If not, at least we’ll be up there to continue our search. Good luck, Carmana!


If you ever find yourself in Campbell River, on Vancouver Island, I highly recommend checking out the Museum at Campbell River. It features exhibits that cover history of the area from native tribes to whites settling and the subsequent logging, fishing, and tourism industries. The exhibit is very well designed and displayed.

Native ceremonial masks were lit on the wall of one darkened room. We barely had time to take them in before a voice spoke up to tell their story. Natalie jumped and grabbed my arm. After we both relaxed a bit, we listened to The Treasures of Siwidi, a story of the supernatural exploits of an ancestor of the Kwakwaka’wakw people.

The rest of the museum was equally well done with room-sized recreations of logging shacks and old hotels, interesting displays explaining fishing techniques, and so on. As I said, highly recommended.

More photos below. Read the rest of this entry »

We were up in Seattle searching for a boat a couple of weeks ago. We’ve been seriously looking since fall of last year for our upcoming Pacific Northwest trip this summer and fall. We saw several from Tacoma, Washington all the way up to Campbell River, BC. Read the rest of this entry »

While driving around the Pacific Northwest last week, looking at boats, we spotted this nice, mid-1990s Toyota 4×4 Pickup. I don’t know anything about it except that it looks clean and stock. For a nearly 20-year-old Toyota 4×4, that’s saying something.

The other interesting thing is that it’s located in Point Roberts, an odd little little piece of Washington state that’s connected to Canada, instead of the rest of the United States. The only way to get to this 4-square-mile hamlet, with its own border crossing, is to drive through our neighbor to the north or take a boat.

If you’re interested in the truck, the number’s on the windshield. I posted another picture and a map after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

We finished this lovely little book a few weeks ago. It’s a collection of stories, told by Wylie Blanchet, of cruising the coast of British Columbia in the summers of the 1920s, with her five children (and sometimes a dog), in a 25-foot motorboat.

They traveled at a time when the BC is coast was changing from a traditional land to a modern one. They came across Indian villages abandoned for the summer, remote inlets with perhaps a single cabin and a sole occupant, and, at one point, a bear, which the children mistook for a man standing in the forest watching them.

These days you don’t often read about adventures as told from the perspective of a mother and her children but there they were cruising up the coast of Vancouver Island, a woman and her five children setting off every summer and coming back with adventures to tell.

Link: The Curve of Time

The Bay of Fundy, on the inland side of Nova Scotia, has some of the highest tidal fluctuations in the world. Here’s an example from Halls Harbor, near the end of the bay.

You probably already know this, but spring tides don’t happen just in Spring. They occur about every two weeks, on the full and new moons, when the sun, earth and moon roughly align. The sun and moon’s combined gravitational forces make the tides higher than normal. When the moon is perpendicular to the alignment of the sun and the earth, the forces don’t line up and the tides are lower than normal. Those are called neap tides. They also happen every two weeks, between the new and full moons.

Since the moon doesn’t move that much in a day and the earth spins once in 24 hours, there are roughly two high tides and two low tides per day. Picture the earth spinning inside an ellipsoid bubble of water. The two longer ends of the ellipse are the high tides, the two narrower bits in the middle are the low tides.

Curious where all of the worlds highest tides happen? Check out this map.

Alex Hutchinson for The New York Times

There was a great article in the New York Times Travel section last month detailing four mens’ 12-day journey down the Snake River in the northern half of Canada’s remote Yukon territory.

A float plane drops them off at the Snake’s headwaters in the Mackenzie Mountains and from there they’re on their own, riding the 9-knot current north towards the Arctic Circle. It’s a great read and a rare glimpse into a virgin piece of wilderness.

This is an early-70s documentary I’m watching at the moment called “Bigfoot: Man or Beast.” The film offers the opinions of both believers and skeptics, and follows a group of researchers in the Pacific Northwest as they try to catch a glimpse of one of these creatures. The film cites a string of evidence dating back to 1811 (and further back in Native American lore) as proof that there really is a population of bipedal, humanoid apes alive and well in the wilds of North America.

It even shows on-screen interviews with men who had early, now-famous, encounters in the 1920s. One reported being carried off by a bigfoot while on a prospecting trip in British Columbia. The other retells of a night he and other prospectors were attacked by a group bigfoot in Washington (after shooting at one, the film neglects to mention). It’s fascinating stuff.

Robert Morgan, the main researcher in the film, went on to write the Bigfoot Observers Field Manual offering practical advice for those interested in seeing one of these creatures up close. My girlfriend, Natalie, gave me a copy and it’s a very interesting read. He reports the creatures to be curious but wary and very clever.

Anyway, enjoy the film. It features some nice shots of vintage Land Cruisers, and a smokey, pre-EPA, tracked buggy, in action.

Watch the rest of the movie after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

You just never know what you’re going to find out the in the woods… especially in Banff. 🙂