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Elsie Hulsizer The Accidental Author


Elsie’s new book, “Glaciers, Bears and Totems,” is just the latest account of a long history of sailing adventures by Elsie and her husband Steve.


By David Schmidt


For most sailors, making one solid


cruise up the west coast of Vancouver Island and into southeast Alaska would serve as a proud high-tide mark on their sailing and life resumes. Most sailors, however, are not Elsie Hulsizer (64), a Seattle-based writer, photographer and a retired environmental professional, who has made 21 trips to these areas since 1980. Hulsizer and her husband, Steve, have sailed together for the entirety of their 40-year (and counting!) marriage, with voyages as diverse as cruising New England’s finest DownEast islands, sailing from Boston to Seattle via the 48° NORTH, JANUARY 2011 PAGE 66


Panama Canal, and making myriad, successful West Coast trips to points north.


But Hulsizer’s sailing-related


adventures are not limited to the ocean. She has written two cruising-inspired books, Glaciers, Bears and Totems: Sailing in Search of the Real Southeast Alaska, and Voyages to Windward: Sailing Adventures on Vancouver Island’s West Coast, both of which should be in the canon of any cruiser contemplating


a trip to either of these fabled areas. Interestingly, Hulsizer does a great job of blending her degree in oceanography with


her sailing expertise, yielding writing with strong science and environmental content. Additionally, Hulsizer actively


promotes her books locally with speaking engagements and slide shows, usually at sailor-friendly bookstores. Anyone who is interested in following in Osprey’s—Elsie and Steve’s 1978 Luders-designed Annapolis 44—wake, or anyone who simply loves great photography and sailing tales, should attend. I caught up with Elsie one drizzly


Monday night at Piccolino’s coffee bar in Ballard’s Sunset Hill area—her land- based home for many years—to find out more about her adventures and her path as a writer/photographer. And be sure to mark Elsie’s next presentation on your calendar: January 10, at 1900 hours at Elliot Bay Books.


Tell me about your sailing


background. How old were you and how did you get started?


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