About Us

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We work as ecotourism guides (as well as biologist and boat captain) often on the BC Coast, but also as far ranging as the Arctic and Antarctic. We have an insatiable curiousity for the planet; all its hidden gems and what makes them tick. That and our love of sailing is what inspired us to sail around the Pacific in Narama, our tough and pretty little sailboat.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Excerpts from the Sketchbook

Brown Pelican, Richardson Bay 19 Sept

It seems hard to believe that we’ve been in California for two weeks. After a stay in San Fransisco we’ve been hopping down the coast, living comfortably at anchor every night. Except last night when we did an overnight voyage south from Monterey Bay. It was meant to be a lovely sail with a NW breeze forecast. Instead we motored into a bare breath of southerly and nearly lost all faith in the weather forecasters. Today we were lucky however, no wind but the first day since San Fran hat we’ve been at sea with enough visibility to see much beyond our bow. No kidding, we have had enough fog thanks! The clear weather meant that we could see humpback whales beaching and tail slapping and dolphins and shearwaters. Perhaps we will have more of this clear weather when we get around Point Conception – a major stepping stone on the California coast. This point juts out into the Pacific and turns the cold southerly current away from the coast. We have made the other side of Point Conception into a fairytale in our minds, where the weather is hot and we can put away our winter clothes.
Red-tailed Hawk, Half Moon Bay 21 Sept

Long-billed Curlew, Elkhorn Slough Moss Landing 23 Sept
Jellies from Monterey Bay Aquarium, 25 Sept

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

San Fransisco

Approaching the Golden Gate (honest)
The Bridge Appears

We crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca sailing most of the way, to officially check in to the US at Port Angeles. When the wind died we called ahead to US Customs to tell them of our arrival. Not ten minutes later as we were still stowing our mainsail we were visited by a border patrol vessel and two armed officers boarded us to have a look around Narama. They were very polite and to the point, but it was a new and intimidating experience for us! We hit the weekly farmers market and stocked up for the voyage south. Following day we motored and sailed to Neah Bay, the last protected anchorage before the big jump down the coast. There we sat for a few days waiting for the summer north-westerly’s to return so we could set sail for California. I think that we were a week too late! Eventually there was a break in the SE in between low pressure systems and we took the chance and headed out. That first day was spent motoring south and west to get far enough away that we wouldn’t be in the strongest wind when the next system blew through.

It was a week at sea. Two fronts come through with 20+ knots of southerly wind, we had a few days of lovely NW breeze that filled our blooper (asymmetrical spinnaker) and ghosted us along at 3 knots very comfortably and we were also becalmed a couple days. Our daily 24-hour runs (in nautical miles): 127 (under power), 85 (pounding into headwinds), 77 (very light following wind), 133 (very strong following wind), 99.5 (a bit of everything), 95 (hardly anything). On the morning of our seventh day we anchored in Drakes Bay (visited by Sir Francis Drake himself in 1579) spent a luxurious day eliminating the squalor in the boat, having a swim and shower and SLEEPING!

Narama is anchored in the lower right framed by two trees

It was an early rise to catch the flood tide under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. We had imagined this would be a highlight and the excitement was only heightened by the fact that it was pea soup fog. We had to feel our way in with radar (which shows as a solid line for the bridge- so where is the gap?) and only glimpsed the span as we passed beneath. We are now in a great anchorage in the Aquatic Park for a few day stay in San Francisco.

From the log: 12 September, 2009 0200
“The most beautiful display of bioluminescence: 6 Dall’s Porpoises playing under our bow. Their bodies glow like green magic with their trailing wakes still sparkling behind them.”

California SeaLions take over the pier!

Victoria to San Fransisco Species List
(in order of appearance)

Rhinoceros Auklet
Red-necked Phalarope
Glaucous-winged Gull
Mew Gull
Harbour Seal
Harbour Porpoise
Common Murre
Sooty Shearwater
Northern Fulmar
Red-necked Grebe
Common Loon
California Sea lion
Great Blue Heron
California Gull
Heerman’s Gull
Belted Kingfisher
Black Turnstone
Northern Pintail
Pelagic Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
White-winged Scoter
Downy Woodpecker
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Winter Wren
Northwestern Crow
Black-footed Albatross
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel
Dall’s Porpoise
Cassin’s Auklet
Pink-footed Shearwater
Sabine’s Gull
Parasitic Jaeger
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Leach’s Storm-Petrel
South Polar Skua
Pomarine Jaeger
Long-tailed Jaeger
Pacific White-sided Dolphin
Buller’s Shearwater
Turkey Vulture
White Pelican
Western Gull
Brandt Cormorant