If you haven’t sailed up the inside passage put it on your bucket list. I had the opportunity to do just that with an old friend, Paul Robillard on his fine 40 ft boat. Jim Sumi, another old friend joined us near Malaspina Strait in his boat for the long journey north; a wonderful opportunity to catch up on each others lives – our convoy. I have done the trip twice before in my life. Once when I was young on a fishing seiner and years later with my young family. Both times you could not see much with thick west coast weather: she is jealous with her treasures. This was the first time with clear stellar weather and what a difference. Nine days fishing reefs and inlets, exploring channels, rapids, islands and witnessing fine sunsets with gourmet meals caught daily by our very selves proved remarkable. It was a throw back experience. We lived off the sea. Salmon, cod, crab and even sea cucumbers was our menu prepared on board archored far from the maddening crowd. Fresher than anything you could get at any expensive restaurants in Paris or New York and arguably better prepared, made me feel like royalty. Out there is a gate keeper that is not interested in money for this experience….you had to be out there and by being there we were wealthy men. There are moments in the last days of this trip you thought of never coming back. The sea has a rhythm that gets under your skin. If there are sirens I swear I heard them although a sea lion’s bark begins to sound beautiful when out that long.
Nature is stranger than fiction and it is never so evident as in the north passage. One day out on ‘George Banks’ at the entrance to ‘Queen Charlotte Strait’ we were thick into a pacific marine front. It was a twilight zone.(checkout pics below) Surrounded by boats fishing for halibut including us, we could not begin to see one another. Every once in a while you catch a glimpse of light reflecting off hardware giving a boat position away. The low morning sunlight flirted with the white back drop fog creating glowing arches and rainbows that would come and go. There were ‘Lord of the Ring’ landscapes, Zen Garden islands and rock formations that God would admire. Dolphins played in our wake, Humpbacks ran between our boats like a great black bus and Orcas roamed the straits and channels. We truly live in the most exotic corner of the world. As a painter the experience was a trip into the unknown. I have some great ideas for future paintings, that I do know.
Convoy through Calm Channel
Marine Front over Queen Charlotte Strait
Captain and Cook, Paul Robillard
Captain and Cook, Jim Sumi – anchor in Copeland Islands
Fog ring on George Banks
Galley boy cleans fish.
Misty morning Broughton Archipelgo
My captians after a big day fishing.
Morning in Knight Inlet.
Copland island in Mist.
Paul’s Magic Carpet….Romanza 111
Anchor at Long Inlet.
The ‘Soul Purpose’ (Jim’s boat) navigating marine front off Port McNeill.