Over the past week I’ve started receiving emails asking what is happening with my boat. When last I gave an update the boat was stuck in Costa Rica, having been bypassed by a freighter with a crane that could not lift my boat.
Funny you should ask…
As recently as yesterday I was 99% certain that my boat would be loaded onto a freighter early next week for shipment from Golfito Costa Rica to Victoria Canada. Just yesterday morning I filled out the customs forms for arrival in Canada, and during the afternoon I was working on verifying that the boat was insured for the journey north.
Late this afternoon I received a call saying that the freighter would not be coming. Apparently the freighter that was to have picked up my boat has been canceled, and a new freighter assigned. The good news is that the replacement freighter will delay shipment by only a couple of more weeks. But the bad news is that the replacement freighter does not have a crane capable of lifting ONE boat onto the deck – mine.
I’m still in shock, but trying to have a positive outlook. My summer cruise to Alaska has been ruined. My revised plans to cruise the Pacific NW in September are now ruined.
There is plenty of time to get the boat to Seattle in time for the start of our circumnavigation next summer. I have been assured that this new delay should be worked out by September and that Roberta’s and my boat will be sitting in Seattle sometime in September or October. Obviously, the freight companies credibility has been undermined by the delays, but my real focus is on: “Is there anything that can cause me to miss my departure for the ‘big trip’ next May?”, and the answer is NO. If October arrives and my boat still hasn’t been delivered, there may be some shouting, and lawyers may get involved, but none of that will matter, because hurricane season will be over, and Sans Souci will be on the move. If the freight company cannot ship the boat, then as soon as weather permits, Sans Souci will point her nose north and do what she does best: cross great distances.
I’ve been spending my days working on planning our trip next summer. We plan to kick off our circumnavigation with a trip north to Alaska. After a few months of exploring we’ll cross the Bering Sea, hugging the Aleutians, to Siberia. If I can sort out all the Visa issues, we’ll explore Kamchatka (Siberia) and Petropavlovsk. We’ll then continue on – to Japan.
Little has been written about this passage, and I’ve had an impossible time finding information. As near as I can determine, only a few non-commercial boats have ever made the run, and most have been sail boats. I’ve been hunting them down one by one, and speaking with as many as I can. Whereas at first I was mildly interested in making the run, I’ve now become excited about it, and realize that it is a very rare opportunity to visit a virtually unexplored part of the world, where history has literally been preserved (more on that in future blog updates).
For those of you who have missed my blog, it hasn’t really stopped; I’ve just stopped sending it out. I don’t like it when my inbox is cluttered with junk, and I don’t want to clutter yours. I still publish a couple of blog entries a week, and post them on my website. When we’re not cruising, my blob becomes a bit more technical, and more boat-geekish. I will send an update via email, such as this one, when my boat leaves Golfito, on its own bottom, or on a freighter. And, I’ll resume sending out regular email updates when we begin our circumnavigation next year. In the meantime, if you are interested to follow the details as I plan our next excursion, and prepare the boat for our ‘big trip’, visit my website (http://www.kensblog.com) and click on “What’s New” on the left hand menu. Expect that I’ll post there once or twice a week.
Before closing out this update, I should mention two other things.
One: I have to confess that it wasn’t my idea to do the whole “northern route to Japan” trip. Another Nordhavn, a Nordhavn 62 called Walkabout, made the run last year, and raved about it to Braun and Tina Jones, of Grey Pearl, another Nordhavn 62. Some of you may recall that Roberta and I, on our prior boat, a Nordhavn 62, crossed the Atlantic alongside Grey Pearl in 2004. Braun mentioned his interest in making the run and asked if we would also want to make the run. I said I would consider it, but very weakly. I always describe myself as a “warm water guy.” I like beaches, swimming, diving, and barbecues on the back deck. Freezing my tail off while waves crash over the pilot house is NOT my idea of a good time. However, Roberta has an adventurous spirit, and likes nothing more than exploring new places. Being that I live with her, and also being that she is a good salesman, and, further being that this really is an unusual opportunity: I’ve come around. Sans Souci will once more be traveling side by side with Grey Pearl. And, to take the story a bit farther, over the past few months, I have been consulting with another power boater who has crossed the Pacific a couple of times regarding his adventures in Polynesia. As part of my effort to convince Braun that warm water is better than cold water I introduced him to Braun and Tina. After they had dinner together, Braun called me with the good news that our little flotilla had now grown to three boats! Oops… another plan that backfired…
Two: I apologize for doing this, but I can never miss an opportunity to plug my books. I mentioned in my last update that I was hoping that Amazon would release my newest book at a lower price than my own publisher. A few people have written to ask the status. Unfortunately, there is nothing great to report. My book is available in two versions; a black/white version which is reasonably priced, and a full-color version which is horribly expensive (240 pages of color printing comes at a cost). My hope has been that Amazon would aggressively price the color version of the book and bring its cost into a reasonable range. As of the current time, they have released the black/white version, but not as aggressively priced as I had hoped (http://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Under-Power-Pacific-Central/dp/1435719018) and they have not yet released the color version (http://www.lulu.com/content/2445864 ). Maybe sometime soon?
Thank you, and I hope that you are reading this while at anchor somewhere great. I’m jealous!
-Ken Williams Nordhavn 68, Sans Souci