GSSR#11 – Pruth Bay to Prince Rupert

Greetings all!

Total Distance: 5,276 nm
Run so far: 529 nm
Nautical Miles to go: 4,747 nm
Tomorrow’s goal: 66 nm

I have been without internet the past few days! I have many different ways of getting internet, and none have been working. My satellite internet connection is being blocked by the large mountains on all sides. When, briefly, I was able to call a Captain-friend, who has cruised Alaska many times, he said that this is not unusual, and that he had even lost all GPS positioning information on some trips.

I have tried repeatedly to find the internet, with both my Mini Vsat, and my Fleet Broadband 250, without success. Satellite Television also stopped working.

It’s a strange feeling, not having any ability to communicate. The same satellite connection that gives us internet provides our satellite phone service. As I type this, I am 100% out of touch. If we were in trouble, I’d have no way of calling, or emailing, anyone. I do have a couple of other satellite-based devices which could probably be used to send out a distress message, but as far as ordinary phone and email communications, I am stuck, at least for today. It’s a really strange feeling. We crossed the Atlantic in 2004, and never had a day without communications. The same was true last year, as we ran from Seattle to Costa Rica.

To add to the twilight-zone feeling, we haven’t seen another boat in two days, which deepens the feeling of isolation. I was warned about fishing nets that would be blocking our route, and cruise ships I’d be dodging in narrow channels. Neither has been an issue. I’d be quite happy to see any target appear on the AIS, or radar, just as a reminder that civilization still exists.

It’s a reminder that we are still “pre-season.” I get the impression that the cruising season doesn’t really get going until mid-May or even June. Overall, this is a good thing. It feels like we have the place to ourselves. Marinas are happy to see us. Finding space is easy, and we don’t have to dodge cruiseships and fishing nets.

But.. I’m getting ahead of myself. I should continue this story where I left off, at Pruth Bay.

One of the many logs we passed, most of which never appear on radar. A reminder why this area shouldn’t be run at night.

I do most navigating with Nobeltec, but also plot my position on paper charts. Here’s a look at just a few of the 85 pounds of charts I bought for the trip.

Our run, from Pruth Bay to Shearwater, was easy. We caught the currents correctly, and surfed our way there without incident.

We stopped for a couple of days at Shearwater; a small resort, grocery store, hotel, restaurant, marine store, haul-out facility, fuel dock and more.

Shearwater is across from Bella Bella, a town which is primarily native-american. We were encouraged to visit Bella Bella, and had good intentions, but never made it there.

On our last day in Shearwater, the weather started turning bad. The outlook was for 30-40 knot winds. Most of our run after Shearwater would be in protected waters (the Inside Passage) with the exception of a two-hour run across Milbanke Sound. I spoke with a couple of friends, all of whom said, “Don’t worry about it. You should be fine in a boat your size.” I then spoke to a ‘local boater’ who helped me lay out a course through Reeds Passage which would allow me to bypass Milbanke Sound. It was a bit longer course, and would have me zigzagging between reefs, but would keep me in protected waters.

After plotting my course, and entering it into Nobletec, a Canadian Coast Guard boat pulled up at the dock. I couldn’t resist asking them about Reeds Passage. They spent some time staring at the stern of Sans Souci, and then said: “If you go through at high slack, you can probably make it. We make it through, but just barely. It’s pretty tight. Are you sure you really want to try it?” I said I was trying to avoid going through Milbanke Sound, and they said that Milbanke Sound really wouldn’t be that bad, and that with my boat, they’d strongly recommend I just tough it out for a couple hours.

This left me thinking “What if I’d just taken the advice of the first guy?” He said he had been through Reeds Passage with a ninety footer, and said I wouldn’t have to worry about Tides or Current. Argh! I suspect the Coast Guard guys were being conservative, and I’d have been fine. Or, at least I hope I would have, but Milbanke Sound was sounding better.

Our run across Milbanke Sound was not very exciting. The wind stayed under 25 knots. I included some video showing the run, which makes the waves look even less exciting than they were (no worries – there will be exciting footage of water over the bow sooner or later. I’m just avoiding it as long as I can).

Our first anchorage was at Khutze Inlet. We were told that it was a five mile deep narrow bay, with a beautiful waterfall at the back. There was supposed to be a 65′ deep ledge, next to the waterfall, that would allow anchoring.

This whole topic of anchoring deserves a bit more discussion, especially for those who read my blog that are not boaters…

Sans Souci carries 400′ of thick chain (called anchor rode), and a Rocna Anchor (a anchor which is famed for its ability to reset itself should it ever drag). Generally speaking, the ideal anchoring situation is to be:

1) As well protected as possible. – In looking for an anchorage, it is usually important to know where the wind is. Most anchorages are not completely protected on all sides. Usually one or more sides are open to the wind. Some books indicate how exposed the anchorage is, for instance saying things like, “This is a good anchorage, except in a south wind.”

2) As shallow as possible. The deeper the water, the greater the requirement for ‘swing room.’

3) As much ‘swing room’ as needed. The ‘rule of thumb’ is that you should put out five to seven times your depth in anchor rode. In other words, if you drop anchor in 40′ of water, you’d like to have out 200 to 280 feet of anchor rode. If you are expecting strong winds, you lean towards the higher end of the range. There are times when less anchor rode is put out, such as when doing what I call a ‘day hook’. If not much wind is expected, and I am stopping somewhere for lunch and a swim, I might put out as little as two to one of anchor rode; meaning perhaps 80′ of anchor rode, if at 40′ of depth. The assumption here is that if the wind comes up, I’ll either drop more chain, or find another anchorage. The phrase ‘swing room’ describes the circle formed by your boat as it rotates around the anchor as the wind changes directions through the night.

‘Dragging the anchor’ is when the wind overcomes your anchor, and the boat does not stay put. Roberta and I spent one night in 60 knot winds, with gusts to 75, where perhaps a dozen boats around us broke anchor and wound up on the beach. We had faith in our anchor, and other than having the engines running, ready to make a move if needed, we just waited it out. We weren’t too worried about our boat dragging, but we had great fear of another boat dragging anchor and smashing into us.

One more term: ‘Anchor Watch.’ Unless we have 100% perfect anchoring conditions, which never seems to occur, we need to stand anchor watch. On just three occasions, this has meant staying up all night, sitting at the helm, ready to take action should the anchor drag. 99% of the time, anchor watch just means setting the clock every one or two hours through the night, and waking to check the boat’s position, and what the wind is doing.

We used to do this the hard way. I would use the radar to measure proximity to other boats and the shore, and Roberta and I would have long discussions over whether the boat had moved or not. These days, we have a simple method. We simply turn on tracking on Nobleltec, and put a circle, which represents our swing circle, onto a mark which shows where we dropped the anchor. As long as we are in the circle, we haven’t dragged anchor. We also did something very handy on Sans Souci, we broadcast Nobletec, and the wind gauge, onto the television in the master stateroom. At any time during the night, I can pop on the TV, and in one glance know everything I need to know. Anchor watch is no longer a problem.

OK … back to my original story…

Swing circles aren’t always circles. This is a concept I’m not completely comfortable with, and probably will never be, but it is one that other boaters take advantage of regularly, and which can be an important concept here in the near-Alaska area. Imagine you are anchored in front of a stream. As long as the stream has adequate flow, the boat is not going to change directions. You do not need to provide for a swing circle. Unless the wind goes crazy, you know exactly where your boat is going to sit.

Another example is the one that we needed to rely on at Khutze Inlet. Khutze is a long narrow bay (several miles deep), with high vertical walls. There is good protection from the wind, on all sides. You only need to think about tides. While at anchor, you do not need a swing circle, you need a swing-oblong. Your boat is always going to swing with the tide; either going into the bay, or out of the bay. It will never swing towards shore.

When we arrived at the waterfall, our first disappointment was that the waterfall was completely frozen!!! Ouch! There was no time to go elsewhere, so we needed to find a place to anchor. We found the promised ‘ledge’ to anchor at, and studied it with Sans Souci’s sonar. It poked out no more than 20′ from the wall!!! Double-ouch!! Most of the bay was 100’s of feet deep. I couldn’t anchor that deep. And, as I said in the prior couple of paragraphs, I am not comfortable with not having a swing circle, regardless of what other boaters do.

I alwys think in terms of ‘bail outs.’ If something isn’t right, I need to know what my ‘bail out’ is, or my backup position. When doing my trip planning, I had identified a second place in the bay that could be used to anchor, but there wouldn’t be much swing room, and it would be deeper than I liked. This was a 65 foot deep section back near the entrance to the bay. The shallower water was caused by a mud slide, and to avoid swinging into the shallow water near the mud slide, I’d need to reduce my swing circle (less rode). So… we spent the night with 200 feet of rode out, in 65 feet of water. We were just fine. There was no wind, and we never came close to dragging. I don’t think the rode was ever anything but straight up and down. It just bugged me, and was the first of what I’m sure will be many anchoring situations where I need to ‘compromise.’

We had hoped to see grizzly bears in Khutze inlet, but they never appeared. Instead, we saw some seals that were white, and very pretty. I wanted to take a photo, but it was raining, and I didn’t want to hurt the camera.

As we were running north, we passed a ghost town, in the middle of NOWHERE, called Butedale. [Note: Sorry .. I forgot to take photos of it. To see it, watch the video below.] I’m not sure why it was abandoned, or who lived there, but if I had it to do over again, I’d go ashore. We should have stopped, but it was raining, and no one was in the mood.

The next night, we anchored at a deep inlet called East Inlet. Once again, I had to drop the anchor deep (84 feet), and compromise swing room, but it was a wonderful anchorage. Very pretty.

We’re now in Prince Rupert, Canada, near the US border, and about to set out for a day of exploring. This is our last stop before Alaska. Tomorrow will be a long day, but we should arrive in Ketchikan tomorrow!

You should see a video of our run to Prince Rupert below. If not, click this link:

On a completely different topic…

I’ve heard a rumor that Sans Souci I, our original Nordhavn 62, which we sold in France, is now back on the market, on the east coast of the US. There are some pictures of it that can be seen by clicking this link:

As you can see, Sans Souci has been repainted, and redecorated, to match the personality of its current owner. It was a great boat, and has an amazing history: It was ordered by Prince Rainier of Monaco, bought by Roberta and I, then we added a stern bustle and hardtop that was custom designed and built by Jimmy Buffett, and now the boat is owned by the Icelandic singer Bjork, and artist Mathew Barney. We took it across the Atlantic as part of the Nordhavn Rally, and Mathew Barney brought it back to the US. We have many fond memories of Sans Souci I (now named Dimma), and hope it finds a good home.

And, a brief update on the other two GSSR boats….

We are getting very close to each other. Seabird and Grey Pearl are only a couple of days behind us. We will be meeting up by Monday or Tuesday in Ketchikan.

And, lastly, I received a copy of an email sent to Dan Streech, at Nordhavn, from the owner of a Nordhavn 55, regarding piracy. I think you’ll find it interesting.

‘Dear Dan,

Just some news from Amandla II…

We are still stuck in the Seychelles because of the pirates! Believe it or not… The situation has seriously deteriorated in the Seychelles archipelago during the last three weeks. According to the EU naval coordination, the Seychelles are surrounded in a 100NM radius around Victoria in ALL directions. Somali mother-ships are pre-positioned North, South, East and West. The latest reported attacks were in the NE one day ago only. There is no longer any 100% safe exit/entry route. Several boats underway from the Chagos have already altered their course to Mauritius. More than 20 boats (including Amandla II) planning to sail to Madagascar, Mayotte, Mauritius and Asia have cancelled their passage. On Monday afternoon a mother ship, their two skiffs and 11 Somali pirates were arrested by the Seychelles Navy near Marianne island, 35NM south-east of Victoria! Our own boat and another vessel doing a 90 degree route last Thursday to the Maldives was informed by the navy that one incident took place 50NM ahead of us. We decided to return to Mahe to assess the situation. The next morning, not only one attack were confirmed but two. Apparently the pirates have ventured too far East and South because of the very quiet sea and have decided to operate far beyond their usual 400NM radius from the Somali coast. According to military intelligence the pirates on their skiffs are abandoned on the high sea by the mother ships with one mission: “catch a boat, this is your return ticket…” I have created last Monday in Mahe a group of seamen called the “Anti- Piracy Coordination” with a group of 45 yachts and power vessels intending to travel outbound… We struggle together to organize an armed convoy. We will make it! Amandla! These are the latest news!

Cheers Dominique ‘

Thank you, Ken Williams
Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci

PS Several of you have written to ask where the pictures of the animals are. I will start working on this. So far, we haven’t seen bears, but we have seen seals, porpoises, eagles and even a couple whales. A funny footnote to this: when a eagle landed just outside the window at dinner last night, we were all excited. However, the Canadians at the next table said, “You’ll see a lot of those. They are as common as rats around here.”

39 Responses

  1. Hey Ken! I’m loving these blogs, I’m meant to be studying for my uni mid-terms but instead I’ve spent the last few hours aboard Sans Souci with you and Roberta 🙂

    I find myself often greatly amused by how cautious you are, I imagine I would be exactly the same. The more careful the better!

    The letter from Dominique to Dan Streetch was interesting, I love the name of his yacht Amandla II. I live down in South Africa and the word Amandla is associated with the freedom struggle of the Apartheid era, it means ‘power to the people’, I wonder what it means in French.

    Anyway, happy sailing! I’m going to continue reading the rest of your posts now 🙂


  2. Andre:

    Internet on a boat is a huge topic.

    The quick answer is that: “The cheapest and fastest is wifi in a marina” Anything else is expensive, with speed varying with price. I’m at the lunatic end of the spectrum, with fairly quick speed (2 meagabit) and extreme cost (>$6,000 a month). For less you get less.

    -Ken W

  3. Hi Ken,

    On your blog, I read your comment about your Internet connection problems. In it you mention your Fleet Broadband 250 system. Is there anything faster than its 284 kbps speed on the market.

    Best wishes with your Siberian adventure.



  4. Ken,

    Between maintenance, upgrades, planning, and operation it seems that Sans Souci is nearly a full-time job. Do you enjoy all the work you put in (e.g. experimenting with route planning on your various chart software)?

    This is part of the broader question of how do you stay intellectually engaged?

    I ask because when I am on a boat or in the woods or otherwise similarly occupied it is always for a short period of time and I appreciate the isolation…how does that translate to longer voyages…


  5. Ron:

    Back in the day that I ran a company, one of the expressions I was constantly saying to my team was: ‘C players hire F players, B players hire C players, and A players hire AAA players.’ My goal in assembling a team for crossing the Aleutians was to put together a triple-A team, and I’m very happy with the result.

    -Ken W

  6. It’s kind of neat that Bill knows Nobeltec and its functions in depth! Add to that a 12 ga. and his local expertise and you have a helluva companion.

    As a general principle I’d want to know 5 things: what the bottom is like, how deep the water is, where I dropped the anchor, how much chain I put out, and where I am in relation to the anchor. Bill’s method gives us an alarmed drag circle using two of these facts. In a severe storm where the chain goes bar tight and the snubbers start to stretch; that circle will have to be expanded unless it was originally drawn for this condition.

    Ron Rogers

  7. Hi Ken. Try this. When you anchor click Tools-new-boundary circle. You will have created an alarm circle. Put the cursor on the center mark, click properties, range circle, then select “outside”. it defaults to inside when you create it so an alarm will go off in about 30 seconds if you do not select “outside”. Depending on how your boundaries are set you may have to zoom out to find the circle and drag it in to what you want. If the boat goes outside the circle an alarm will sound in your PC speakers. You can test it by dragging the center mark of the boundary circle so the circle is outside the boat icon. If you want to know how far from the set point the boat is, right click the center icon and hit activate.
    We are out of here in an hour for the mainland again. Near Agrippina this time. Best regards. Bill

  8. Jill:

    Don’t you want to set the mark where the anchor is dropped, not where you finally wind up?

    Let’s imagine my nose is pointed north, and I drop the anchor, then back up 200′ dropping chain. My “real” swing circle, if my anchor buries immediately, would be a 200′ radius, with its hub 200′ north of me.

    Barring high wind, I will inherit a much smaller swing circle, which revolves around a point about 150′ south of where I dropped, because most of the time, the wind isn’t strong enough to lift the chain from the ground. If I mark my swing circle anywhere other than the center of the hub, I can get misleading information about whether I’ve dragged or not. For instance, in the scenario I just gave, I could move 350′ to the north, from my imagined epicenter, and I would not have dragged.

    I’ll experiment with Nobeltec’s MOB function the next time I drop anchor. Currently, I do some math to convert feet to miles, and set a circle on a mark. My guess is that the MOB function does all this math for me, and makes it much simpler. For instance, with 200′ out, in 40′ of water, I know that if I am more than 160′ from where I dropped the anchor, then either I goofed in marking where the anchor sits, or I am dragging.

    The “track” function, and the etching that it does gives a really quick visual feedback as to how the boat is swinging. For instance, I can see how much the tide or wind is moving the boat, and which direction.

    Thanks for the input. We’ll be back at anchor by Wednesday, and I’ll give it a try,
    -Ken W

  9. Ken, When you drop anchor, it has set and you have stopped moving, try clicking your MOB on Nobeltec and it will set your mark. It will also keep track of how many feet you drift from that mark until you clear it.

  10. Hi Ken. We just unloaded our fish. I’m giving the guys off till tomorrow A.M. when we will leave again. I can bring my boat 12 ga. on the trip and leave it in Sand Point with some friends. It will find it’s way back. There are no bears west of Unimak in the Aleutians. No mosquitoes either which is even better. I’m going to send a couple bear pictures on your regular mail and you can use them or not. Bill

  11. Welcome home Bill, even if only for a few hours.

    I have both an Iridium, as well as my Skymate system on board. The Iridium had stopped working the last I checked. I’m not sure why. The bill is paid, and the account is healthy, so I don’t understand it. I’ll call tech support sometime in the next day or two. We’re being lazy in Ketchikan for a few more days before starting the run to Juneau. It gives the other two boats a chance to catch us, and an opportunity for a group dinner.

    We’re enjoying Ketchikan. It’s a bad town for my diet. Lots of good restaurants and pubs!

    I just had the discussion on guns and bears this morning with someone else, and your name came up. I’m trying to decide what to do about a gun on board. I don’t want to hassle customs in Japan and Siberia with a gun. It would be nice to have something disposable, and feed it to the fish as we approach Siberia. I’ll pay if you want to buy an “anti-bear device” (shotgun).

    I just found a couple of your emails in my spam. I haven’t looked too see what they are yet. It’s weird that Outlook sometimes likes you and sometimes doesn’t…

    See you soon!
    -Ken W

  12. Hi Ken. As I told you, Iridium is the most reliable phone for Alaska. When all else fails I have that and it never conks out. It’s my opinion that it will be the only one that works west of Island of Four Mountains unless something has changed since I was last out there.
    We just came in for a quick turn around as we broke a hydraulic fitting which I did not have a spare for. Thought I had everything. You will not be wanting for bears in Geographic Harbor. We were just there yesterday and saw 8 bears without really trying. The crew went ashore about 50 yards from one digging clams. Got some nice photos. We always carry a pump shotgun just in case one gets a bellyache and tries to take it out on the interlopers. They are generally content to dig clams and ignore you. In 30 years of bear viewing none have ever been less than polite but I know people who have gotten mauled and others who have had to stop a charge with firepower. We lean to the side of safety first.
    Just home to take a shower, have to unload in 40 minutes. Best regards. Bill

  13. Glen:

    I forgot to respond to your comment about fishing.

    Unfortunately, all fish-stories on Sans Souci will not occur until we get to Kodiak, and Jeff Sanson and Bill Harrington are on the boat.

    Neither Roberta nor I would have the vaguest idea how to catch a fish, or what to do with it if we caught one.

    -Ken Williams

  14. Hal:

    Sorry not to respond to you sooner. We are indeed all reserved at Ellis Floats, and I’m typing this from there now. We walked into town yesterday, and plan on enjoying Ketchikan!

    Braun and Steven arrive Monday. My guess is that we’ll only have one night together before the group starts traveling again. My short-term challenge is to think about what restaurant we should use for the “celebration”. Thus far, the candidates are: Cape Fox, or Annabelles. Are there others we should consider?

    The weather has been outstanding. Sunshine yesterday! I still haven’t figured if Alaska is just much warmer than I thought, or we’ve been lucky.

    -Ken W

  15. Glen:

    As to your question about the hot tub….

    We are very happy to have it, although you are right that it hasn’t seen much use this year. Everything outside the boat is covered up, and tied down. I suppose I should uncover everything, but we tend to live outdoors less when it is 40 degrees, than when it is 95 degrees. The whole boat was designed to be a “warm weather boat.” Lots of outdoor dining and entertaining places, that don’t make sense in Alaska.

    The hot tub, of course, would be very useful here, and will see plenty of use. We just haven’t had time yet. Roberta’s parents leave the boat Monday, and then Roberta and I will be alone for a couple of weeks traveling north. I’m sure we’ll have some amazing anchorages to go hot tubbing in. (sorry .. no pictures!)

    Thank you for the info on Butedale. LOTS of people commented on Butedale. I had never heard of it until we passed by. I wish I had known it was such an interesting place! Oh well… something to do on the next lap around the planet.

    -Kne W

  16. Bryan:

    You asked that I post a video showing the engine room, and someone else asked that I do a video showing the interior.

    I might do both this week! We’re a week in Ketchikan, and it could be something fun to do. Lots of sightseeing to do, so no promises, but I’ll try.

    -Ken W

  17. Hi Ken- What’s happening with the Hot tub? Do you plan to use it at all: I imagine it takes time too fill and hear up…do you regret putting it onboard? Also are you doing any fishing…it ould be fun and easy to troll for Salmon and have fresh fish for dinner!
    Regards- Glen
    ps You probably know by now but Butedale was an old cannery housing 500 workers. Apparently one guy named Lou still lives there and the place is for sale or $1,995,000.00- you better be good with a hammer and nails though!

  18. Oh, I just wanted to mention once again that there wont be any more AIS tracking of you 3 until you reach Unalaska Island.

  19. I followed Gray Pearl and Seabird the last 2 days on ( . up to the max. range of the receiver. Saw your boat as well Alex and Crossroads. After they were out of range of the AIS receiver I followed them on Seabird’s spot until they anchored for the night. The AIS receiver at Scarlet Point covers an amazing area up at the north end of Vancouver Island.

  20. Thank you Alex…talking with John Marshall, N55 Serendipity, in Anacortes on his boat yesterday he mentioned there might be an additional AIS site that worked better than (

    Checked out your blog….very nice job but you’re going to have to start posting video clips now that Ken has raised the bar in nautical blogging…!

  21. Ken….the N62’s may beat ya up to Ketchikan

    Met the Marshalls and had a nice visit with them yesterday in Anacortes, to include a short boat ride

    Wish we could insert small images into blog post here

  22. Dave:

    Wow! Seabird is almost to Shearwater/Bella Bella. Amazing!

    I’m sure that Grey Pearl is only a few feet away. They’ve caught me quickly. Great news.

    I’m plotting my route to Ketchikan now…. We found a boat here that knows a short cut we’ll be following. We should be Back in America at this time tomorrow.

    -Ken W

  23. Seabird covered a lotta miles today and she’s still moving north at 6pm approaching Bella Bella

  24. Ken: Saw Gray Pearl and Seabird in Sullivan Bay last night. Heard them heading towards Cape Caution this morning along with DanCin Dreams. Crossroads and Silver Star also were close behind. Not sure if they stopped in Blunden Harbor. Cow Bay is a good restaurant in PR. Cheers. Alex on Wild Blue in Port Hardy.

  25. Hi Ken;
    Just wanted to let you know that while you were in communications blackout that SPOT was working fine.

  26. Ken, Butedale over 25 years ago was a fish cannery operation. There is a lake above Butedale and an aqueduct runs down from the lake through a turbine to power the cannery. 15 years ago there was a resident caretaker but when I stopped 2 years ago I didn’t see any sign of him. On a hot July day it used to be a nice hike up along the aqueduct for a fresh water swim.

    I told Braun about my favorite marina in Ketchikan, Ellis Float Rentals. Unless you can get in to Thomas Basin or the brand new Casey Moran Harbor it’s the closest to downtown, about halfway between Bar Harbor and downtown. Plus, they take reservations. 907 225 8285.

  27. Once upon a time, Butedale was the site of a large and bustling salmon cannery. It even had its own fishing fleet. In it’s hayday, the facility at Butedale employed as many as 400 people.

    The salmon fishery declined, and the facility at Butedale was closed in the 1950s.

    It’s fun to tie up at Butedale, visit with Lou, the caretaker, meet his faithful dog and cat, and stroll carefully around the ruins.

    Princess Royal Island, British Columbia.

  28. RE: Piracy and Dominque’s letter to Dan …

    Subject: Somali Cruise Opportunity

    I found a Somali cruise package that departs from Sawakin (in the Sudan) and docks at Bagamoya (in Tanzania). The cost is a bit high @ $800 per person double occupancy but I didn’t find it that offensive.

    What I found enticing is that the cruise company is encouraging people to bring their ‘High powered weapons’ along on the cruise. If you don’t have weapons you can rent them right there on the boat. They claim to have a master gunsmith on board and will have reloading parties every afternoon.

    The cruise lasts from 4-8 days and nights and costs a maximum of $3200 per person double occupancy (4 days). All the boat does is sail up and down the coast of Somalia waiting to get hijacked by pirates. Here are some of the costs and claims associated with the package.

    $800.00 US/per day double occupancy (4 day max billing)

    M-16 full auto rental $25.00/day ammo at 100 rounds of 5.56 armor piercing ammo at 15.95

    Ak-47 rifle @ No charge. ammo at 100 rounds of 7.62 com block ball ammo at 14.95 Barrett M-107 .50 cal sniper rifle rental $55.00/day ammo at 25 rounds of .50 cal. armor piercing at 9.95

    Crew members can double as spotters for 30.00 per hour (spotting scope included). They even offer RPG’s at 75 bucks and 200 dollars for 3 standard loads

    “Everyone gets use of free complimentary night vision equipment and coffee and snacks on the top deck from 7pm-6am.” Meals are not included but seem reasonable.

    Most cruises offer a mini-bar… these gung ho entrepreneurs offer……… get this….. “MOUNTED MINIGUN AVAILABLE @ 450.00 per 30 seconds of sustained fire” Sign my arse up!

    They advertise group rates and corporate discounts……and even claim “FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY”

    They even offer a partial money back if not satisfied….here’s some text from the ad. “We guarantee that you will experience at least two hijacking attempts by pirates or we will refund back half your money including gun rental charges and any unused ammo (mini gun charges not included)

    How can we guarantee you will experience a hijacking? We operate at 5 knots within 12 miles of the coast of Somalia. If an attempted Hijacking does not occur we will turn the boat around and cruise by at 4 knots. We will repeat this for up to 8 days making three passes a day along the entire length of Somalia.

    At night the boat is fully lit and bottle rockets are shot off at intervals and loud disco music beamed shore side to attract attention. Cabin space is limited so respond quickly. Reserve your package before May 29 and get 100 rounds of free tracer ammo in the caliber of your choice.”

    Sound like a good deal to me.

  29. Hi Ken & Roberta

    Thank you for bringing us all along on your journey! When you both retired from Sierra I was dumbfounded to learn that you were going to spend your days floating out to sea in a giant tub. You? The couple who built a company from the ground up? Who pioneered the whole concept of interactive fiction? The people who made Sierra a highly respected household name? Now you are content to just sit around on a boat all day long?

    But now I get it. You’re not just boating… you’re living the ultimate adventure “game”! The passion and excitement you write with in your blog is contagious. I look forward to each update and sincerely appreciate the time you take to write. I have a feeling that by the end, you could easily put your blog entries between two covers and list it on Amazon 😉


    PS: The videos are awesome! Any chance we could get a little video tour of your rig one day?

  30. Dave:

    Thank you! Doing the videos is a lot of fun. I just wish I had time to do more video editing (and, shooting). Unfortunately, we’re having no trouble filling up our days on Sans Souci. People always ask if boating is boring, and I keep saying, “I hope so, but it never seems to work out that way!”

    -Ken W

  31. Good post Ken…

    You are doing good with your video clips, its a neat addition to your blog.


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Credits     |     Video produced by: Rock Steady Media     |     Teletype photo: Arnold Reinhold     |     PDP-11 photo: Trammell Hudson