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I was 12 when I first remember


going out sailing. My Dad had built an 18-foot Blanchard Knockabout. I grew up in Three Tree Point on Puget Sound, so we sailed there. We would all go cruising on the Knockabout—all six of us! It was cramped, but we set up a tent on the beach. It was great!


Was it love at first tack? I don’t remember! [Laughs.] But it


was an instant love of the water! I was always drawn to oceans and boats. I had a rowboat when I was a kid… little boats are a great way to start out on the water.


How did you get involved in


adventure cruising to places like Vancouver Island and Alaska? When my husband, Steve, was in


the Navy, we were based in Newport, Rhode Island for a while. We bought a 21-footer and sailed it out to Nantucket and the Vineyard, and we also made trips up to Penobscot Bay. Then, we lived in Philadelphia and sailed on the Chesapeake on a Phillip Rhodes- designed 32-footer, an early fiberglass boat. When Steve got out of the Navy, we took a year off and sailed to Seattle—through the Panama Canal— in 1978. After we got to Seattle and got settled into jobs, we went cruising in the San Juans. It felt tame compared to our trip. Then, someone told us about Barkley Sound, and we went there the next year, and we never went anywhere else! Alaska was the next natural stop.


Do you primarily identify


yourself as a sailor, a writer or a photographer? I’m retired now, so I tell people that


I’m a writer and photographer who writes about sailing and where we go sailing.


How has your background in oceanography affected your sailing? Or has it? It definitely has. I bring with me


knowledge of what we’re sailing on and through. I love sea life. One of my favorite things is to take the dinghy and row along the shore at low tide and look at growing things. In Glacier Bay I enjoyed watching life coming back after the glacier retreated. I’m interested in the process of how glaciers retreat. My


degree gives me the courage to write about this stuff.


What do you think are the biggest


hurdles facing a first-time cruiser to Vancouver Island? Assuming that someone has sailed


on Puget Sound and in the San Juans, the biggest thing is the perception of being out in the seas and the wind. The logistics are somewhat complicated to do it right. Lots of people don’t do it right, but they still get there—they just get there slower and are more miserable.


As far as the sailing goes, it’s an


opportunity to practice what they have already learned but in more challenging conditions.


What about Alaska? The biggest hurdle to sailing in


Alaska is getting the time to do it right. You need three months, at a minimum, but you’ll want four or five months to do it right. We usually leave Seattle in mid-May and then head south from Alaska during the first week in August—that’s when it starts raining more and getting colder. Alaska isn’t a


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48° NORTH, JANUARY 2011 PAGE 67


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