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August 19, 2009

Getting nautical...

I took a drive down to Skagway, Alaska yesterday.


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The road was teeming with tour buses and jeep caravans, so I knew the cruise ships were in port and that Skagway would be a busy place.

A rare patch of road without any tour buses. Photo taken near the Summit.

Cruise ship passengers flooded the streets, making Skagway look like a gold rush boom town all over again.

The patrons are packed in the hustlin', bustlin' Red Onion Saloon.

There was a bit of excitement in town when one of the WP&YR tracks got switched mid-car. The car tried to ride two sets of rails at once. A forklift was called in to get the car back on track and it resumed its journey up to the summit. I missed all of the excitement, though, because I was attending to another matter.

This one stayed on the right track.

You see, I didn't go to Skagway to learn about gold rush history or to watch throngs of tourists milling about the jewelery and trinket shops. I went to Skagway to get this:

The boat, not the van.

Why the heck did we buy a MacGregor 26M powersailer?

With two kids, but mostly because of Jade's ketogenic diet, it has become next to impossible to go on extended canoeing and hiking trips. It's just too risky if something goes wrong with Jade's food. Fawn suggested that we get a camper (we could use the 12V cooler in the car to keep Jade's food cold) but I don't enjoy that type of "camping". I wanted a way that we could get into the back country; a way that we could explore, far away from the roads.

Buying a sailboat is all part of a much bigger plan, one which many of you will be reading here for the first time.

After my attempt to get The Best Job in the World, I started thinking about all the places I'd like to go and how I could get there. I started thinking about how to share that experience with my wife and children. I started thinking about how we could afford to make a trip around the world, and I started thinking about sailing.

Then, I came up with the 7 to 10-year plan:
  1. Buy a sailboat.
  2. Spend a couple of years sailing the Southern Lakes, learning as much as possible.
  3. Spend a couple of years sailing the West Coast, learning as much as possible.
  4. See if we like it.
  5. Buy a bigger boat.
  6. Sail the Pacific and, maybe, the world.
Of course, there's more to the plan than that, but you get the idea. And so, a new adventure begins...

Clearing Customs at Fraser.

9 comments:

Gen said...

I think that's just awesome. I can't think of a cooler way for you to meander with your family.

Safe and happy travels!

Megan said...

Hey, it's all different over here!

fireweedroots said...

Fantastic! Any chance of signing on as deckhand?

Michael said...

Of course! The decks can always use a good swabbing.

Janet said...

Very exciting news!

Murray said...

I saw your boat going by the weigh scales this evening. She's gorgeous and I'm very excited for you :)

Meandering Michael said...

Murray, as the former-Carcross-area-blogger and history expert, your tour guide services qualify you for a free Bennett and/or Tagish Lake sail (with meals and captain services provided).

Murray said...

I'll certainly take you up on that! Lake Bennett in particular has some little-known sites you'll love.

Scientific Chick said...

Michael,

I guess I initially read that post a bit fast, and now that I read it again, I realize that you actually purchased a sailboat. Oh my! My significant other, Craig, and I do quite a bit of sailing around here (Vancouver/Gulf Islands/Desolation Sound), and Craig is familiar with MacGregors.

Hit me/us up if you have questions! That's really exciting! I'm pretty sure there isn't one for up North, but if you're going to do some sailing in BC, the Dreamspeaker cruising guides are the best books money can buy.

Have fun!