Today I talked with the editor of one of the major cruising guides for the inside passage. She basically told me that I shouldn’t go in my boat. It “wasn’t enough boat”. That was hard to hear. According to her I needed quite a few things that Genesis does not have. Such as a big inboard diesel engine, radar, AIS (auto info for shipping), Epirb emergency satellite beacon, dcs radio (radio with auto distress ID), Chart plotter, radar, backup gps, and lets not forget the power to run all this, and a way to generate the power. Imagine if she saw little Genesis! A owner finished spartan early 80’s boat that has been sailed hard and put away wet many a time. She’s no glamour queen is all I’m saying.
Her remarks really made me concerned about the validity of my plans and caused me to not only second guess but truly consider a much more conservative plan of sailing up to the tip of Vancouver Island. Although that is quite an adventure, it isn’t the one that I’ve been dreaming of. It isn’t the Great Bear Rain Forest. And it definitely isn’t the glaciers whales, bears and wolves of the Northern passage. I want to get beyond the range of the average Seattle recreational cruiser. I want to photograph the rare and wild places. The land and the see have a story to be told and I believe I can in some part tell a piece of it. But I have to get there.
This expert with 20 years experience “cruising” the inside passage was giving a three hour talk at the boat show. So I listened to her presentation and as I listened started to understand that we were two very different types of people. With much different levels of comfort and security. Also different needs for adventure. The story the she tells of the inside is not the story that I’ll tell.
Great and not so great explorers have plied these waters with all manor of ships for over 200 years and in canoes for thousands of years before that. Genesis may not have the latest and greatest. She may not be comfy or fast. I may not be able to travel at times because nature gets in the way. I won’t have electronics to give me super powers like ex ray vision to see through the fog, or have telepathic abilities to sense ships coming around a corner. But some day when we can just say beam me up scotty, people will say its to dangerous to go without your matter transporter.
Well I’m going! I’ll be cautious, I’ll use my head, thats what it is for. I feel lucky that I have a radio that gives me weather reports. I often have a cell phone and the amazing information system of the web. I have GPS, and I have paper charts. I have a compass, I have a watch. The last two items alone would have been miracles from the gods for sailors like Cpt. Vancouver who searched for the great NW passage in 1789. I have the experience of all sailors who have gone before me. I have a strong fiberglass boat with strong nylon ropes and sails designed by computer models for optimum performance. I have so much that so many sailors would envy or would have thought total luxury. I am rich! I am fortunate! I am blessed! I will go and I will tell the story that I am meant to tell.
I am grateful for this persons experience and her words of caution. I don’t disregard it as nonsense. The sea is not to be trifled with. Alaska is never to be taken lightly. And so it is with caution, respect and awe that I set out with a plan to experience all of this with Genesis, using what I have with gratitude and not missing what I don’t. Perhaps it is the things that are missing that will allow me to see what I need to see.