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Galley Essentials with Amanda
Shannon and Bill
Bailey, owners of
“Catalyst”.
I’m always thrilled stop the engines and
when chance meetings drift, and listen to their
lead to fascinating and sonorous calls on the
insightful friendships as hydrophone as they
in recently when John dive again into the
and I simultaneously met reaches of the deep for
Shannon and Bill Bailey at more fishy delights. We
the Friday Harbor Fitness move on and eat our
Club. An interest in each own breakfast.
others businesses soon A r r i v i n g a t
lead to a tour of their M/V Brothers, we are in
“Catalyst” from which time for lowtide and
they lead kayaking and the banquet table of
wilderness adventures the Tlingits. Once
in the Pacific Northwest. anchored, we go ashore
How could I resist inviting Shannon
Warning:
and explore the tide pools of the rocky
to share insights of life on board? shore, finding anemones, chitons, crabs,
A Wooden Boat Can
nudibranchs and many small fish. After
The first time I stood in the pilot our foraging, we mosey our way back to
house of the Catalyst, I wept. Not for joy,
Change your Life
the boat. Energized after a delicious Thai
but in grief and fear, as I knew that this chicken salad we fit into our kayak gear,
boat was going to change my life. Why, climb into our small vessels and kayak
because wooden boats are dangerous,
by Shannon Bailey
around Little Brother. As we search in the
they ruin you for life. Take my husband,
as told to Amanda Swan Neal
kelp for sea treasures, harlequin ducks
Bill, for example. When he was thirteen, scuttle ahead of us and black oyster
he was a normal typically Southern naturalist aboard her and have the joy catchers observe from ashore. Steller sea
California surfer dude. Then he met his of sharing my new world with up to lions swim over from their nearby haul
first love, a 36' schooner named Lobo that twelve passengers at a time as we cruise out to show off, porpoising and flipping
was being built in the local shop near his the Northwest waters. around us, as we raft up to watch.
parent’s place of business by an already The aroma of fresh-baked scones That evening after a dinner of
gone crazy wooden boat lover. This man wafts its way from the galley and beckons barbecued halibut, caught by a local
would serve as my husbands mentor for one to breakfast. I just baked those scones, fisherman, we take advantage of the late
his entire life and this boat would serve as full of fresh blueberries, using a recipe summer light and walk in the magical
his dream, but for me, it was my constant from a Lopez Island bakery and now moss forest of Brothers Island, on a
nemesis, my husband’s first love that get ready to pull a large pan of summer nature foray. We succumb to its beauty
showed up in our marriage before I frittata out of the oven. Our guests have by lying down on the soft mat of green
was ever in the picture. The Catalyst, risen from their sleep, coffee mugs in to look up at the tall waving trees and
built in 1932, as a research vessel for the hand, and are watching the horizon, listen to the breathing whales that are
University of Washington’s chemistry ready for a new day of adventure. The feeding around the island against the
department, was now used as a charter Catalyst is underway, bound for one of cacophony of growls and roars of the sea
boat for trips in the San Juan Islands, my favorite places, Brothers Island in the lions as they climb over each other on
British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. heart of Frederick Sound in Southeast the rocky island nearby. Meanwhile the
When we bought her in 2005, we bought Alaska. Along this route we are likely to rest of the crew has prepared a campfire
a business, and a new life. see humpback whales feeding on krill or on the beach, and we join together in
Now I can stand in the pilothouse herring. There she blows, and we slow community to laugh and sing and share
of the Catalyst and enjoy it. The boat down to view. Suddenly three or four of stories while indulging in chocolate cake,
has changed my life and it is not so these large beautiful mammals emerge s’mores and wine as the sunset lingers
bad. I now alternate as both cook and from the waters beside our vessel. We into the Alaskan summer night and the
48° No r t h , Ma r c h 2010 Pa g e 50
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