Light at the end of the tunnel

I’m forced to begin this post as I have many others….

It’s been long time since I have last posted anything and so much has happened!

Wow. Where to begin… Well, first of all, I had been planning to buy an old steel schooner that I came across in Hawaii two December’s ago. That didn’t happen. I traveled to Hawaii in March to negotiate the purchase and things fell through. It turns out I had to fly from Hawaii to Seattle to visit the “backup boat”, which I was previously certain I wouldn’t need to see. Now, as I write, I am sitting in the cockpit of the next Apparent Winds vessel in Port Townsend, Washington. It’s funny how things unfold. As it turns out, the boat in Hawaii was to only act as an inspiration for our voyage. After over a year of planning the next phase of Apparent Winds, the vision became much more valuable than the boat. Looking back on it all, we got lucky. We stumbled upon a better condition, better sailing, better suited vessel for our needs and at a far lower cost. That said, we have a daunting amount of work behind us and ahead of us as we prepare for our maiden voyage.

I arrived in Seattle this April to meet our engineer, Graham Roberts. I had originally met Graham while I was in Hawaii, and we became good friends. As the plans for our next expedition unfolded, I had been hoping I could convince Graham to come join our team as our engineer. Graham has a pretty interesting story which I’ll do my best to share another time. Graham drove up the coast in his minivan from San Luis Obispo, California so that we would have wheels while prepping the boat. About a week or so after I arrived, Kiera flew in from New York. Our base team was finally united for the big adventure!

Keeping the painful details to a minimum, I’ll just say that the past several weeks have been full of hard work and high stress as we have been finalizing the purchase of the boat while simutaniously beginning our restorations and repairs. There was a lot more to fix than we had anticipated. We’ll fix a problem and find two more. We’ve been working 14 hour days 7 days a week for several weeks now. This boat is beautiful, incredible, stunning, perfect, impressive, comfortable, interesting and all of these fun and groovy things, but she needs a whole lot of love.

We are making progress. As we were docked in Seattle, I could see the Olympic mountains in the distance and adventure’s voice began calling once again. Our shakedown sail to the San Juan Islands reminded us that we’ve got to be patient. More work must be done before we take off. Most notably is our need for a running and reliable generator needed to operate our windlass (among other things) and/or a much improved battery and energy system aboard.  We sailed to Port Townsend this Past Sunday to begin another big push of work aboard. The work will include a haul out to address through hulls, water tanks and bottom inspection.

From Port Townsend we plan to begin our sail to Alaska, where we will spend most of the summer. The plan is to shoot up to Cordova in Prince William Sound quickly. Once there we will work with some local organizations and individuals; some familiar faces and some new ones as well! We’ll spend time in the area before beginning a slow journey back South through Alaska, Canada and back to Washington. Then we will sail on South down the West coast of North and Central America. This is just the very beginning of what we plan to be a 10 year expedition around the world. Perhaps a couple of times around the world! We will film and share stories regularly so that folks can keep up with what’s happening on a regular basis. In addition to storytelling, we will be collecting scientific data and we will be chartering our vessel out to scientists to do their own research as well. We can hardly wait to get started. Patience is needed as we still have to make sure our vessel is safe and sound.

You can expect much more to come and much more regularly. The light is beginning to poke through from the other end of this tunnel we have been traveling through. I can hardly wait to share more, really. For example, I haven’t even shared details on our boat! She’s pretty great… She’s getting a new name too, and we have finally settled on that.

As I said, more to come soon!

Thanks to all of you who have kept in touch and followed the story of Apparent Winds.

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