Hand crafted, unique small ship cruises: the Inside Passage of SE Alaska, British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, San Juan Islands and the Sea of Cortez, Baja Mexico.
Pacific Catalyst

Welcome Aboard!

Our purpose is to provide a safe, reliable, and marvelous trip for our wide range of guests. To operate a vessel at sea requires a great diversity of talents and skills. In addition to maritime expertise, our crew members all come from rich and various life experiences. They are here to share their world with you, and to make our boat a comfortable home for your Pacific Northwest adventure.

Captain Bill
Bill Bailey

Bill has spent most of his life on the water. After growing up as a surfer in Southern California he moved to the Pacific Northwest where he worked as a commercial fisher in Washington and Alaska, used boats to transport materials and crews to construction sites on remote islands, and cruised extensively with his family. He has a soft place in his mind for older wooden boats, and over the years has acquired the skills required to keep them thriving.

In the span of the last forty years he has spent in excess of four thousand days at sea covering over seventy thousand sea miles, along the way learning the arcane intricacies of his boats’ antique engines and custom engineered systems. His love for the sea, for classic wooden vessels, as well as for their crews and the guests who sail with him are readily apparent.

He has a 200-ton masters license and holds Wilderness First Responder and STCW certifications.

“The gifts you give us are profound and come from your heart and soul! Your sense of place, your vision for what you do. And the knowledge that guides us in is what we do as modern day explorers is the gift that keeps on giving long after we leave the sea’s embrace. A heartfelt thank you for all you do”

Bernadette Castner

Bernadette grew up in the Pacific Northwest and was never too far away from the water. Family summers were spent camping on the coast, or exploring the Puget Sound in the family’s 16ft skiff, fishing and discovering remote islands. She even braved the frigid Pacific Ocean and taught herself how to surf! Bernadette moved to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University where she studied photography and created a niche for herself in the growing sport of snowboarding. Then next ten years of her life would be an endless winter, traveling to snow-covered peaks around the globe. But even then, summers would find her sailing around the San Juan Islands, kayaking the bays and jumping on any saltwater fishing trip she could.

As her photography progressed into travel photo journalism, she found herself on the National Geographic ships, working as a video chronicler for the guests that cruised around the coastline of Europe. It was Bernadette’s first time living on the water and she was hooked. When the 9-11 tragedy nearly shut down the U.S. tourism industry, Bernadette took a leap of faith and decided to obtain her maritime credentials to sail as a crewmember instead of a video specialist so that she could remain working in the maritime industry. The rest is history. She worked her way up the ranks from a deckhand to a ships Officer on small passenger and research vessels, and now sails as the Captain of the Catalyst. Bernadette’s maritime resume includes 6 years of sailing the west coast from Costa Rica to Alaska, including the Baja Peninsula, San Juan Islands and the inside passage of Canada to SE Alaska.

She now lives in Costa Rica where she can surf warm water and fish year-round. She maintains her family’s organic farm when she is not sailing on the Pacific, and loves gardening, playing music, cooking (especially with food that she grows) and making fruit wine.

Tracie Triolo

Tracie grew up in Boulder Colorado where she developed a passion for food, music and the outdoors. She began working at an early age in her family’s restaurant and spent most of her spare time, playing music, skiing, backpacking, and refining her back country cooking skills. Her summers were spent in a remote cabin on a large lake in northern Wisconsin, where boating, swimming, canoeing, fishing and harvesting wild edibles consumed most of the long days. She received her culinary arts degree through the New School for Social Research from the New York Restaurant
School in Manhattan. She worked in many upscale restaurants, as chef Garde Manger for Fairmont Hotels and as a restaurant chef for the Grand Hyatt in San Fransisco before finding this life of living and cooking on these beautiful classic yachts year round in Alaska, the San Juan islands and Baja.

When she last lived on land, it was in Mendocino County California and worked on catalyst in Alaska during the summer months. During the school year she would teach woodwinds at the Ukiah School of Music and played piccolo and flute with local symphony orchestras and Baritone Saxophone in jazz and funk bands. Tracie used cooking on charter boats as an excuse to return to southeast Alaska every summer and the money earned to support her decadent musician lifestyle the rest of the year. Now that we’ve added a winter season in Baja she works with us year round.

Sarah Drummond

Sarah Drummond’s passion for the natural world began at an early age, and she has kept illustrated field journals since she was twelve.

Sarah graduated from Maine’s College of the Atlantic, where her studies emphasized general ecology, island ecosystems, and art; and earned her M. A. in environmental studies from Prescott College, Arizona. In her off-boat life, Sarah is a freelance illustrator, teacher, researcher, and author based in the Colorado Rockies.

Sarah first fell in love with both southeast Alaska and the Catalyst at the impressionable age of 16, when she came on board as a passenger. She has worked many seasons among whales, bears, and Washington diesel fumes, and believes that her Old Wooden Boat Addiction is permanent and complete.

She also has experience with Sonoran Desert ecology and is participating in our Baja season on the Westward.

Shane Blair

Shane grew up on a horse farm in Boulder County, Colorado, with a love for the land and the lifestyle, and developed a passion for early era tractors.

That upbringing primed him with mechanical, electric, and plumbing know how. This was followed by years of experience in residential, commercial building and auto maintenance.

He was invited on a reposition trip of Westward to Mexico. Discovering the Westward, the Catalyst (old wooden boats) and their crew, he feels happy and lucky to join them and share the experience and learn this new lifestyle.

Caroline Olson

Caroline was raised in North Dakota, a mere 150 miles from the geographic center of North America. There one cannot be farther from the sea.

Her first experiences with the ocean came at the age of 15 in the far north of Canada, and a year later on board the Catalyst in Glacier Bay.

Caroline graduated from Northland College in northern Wisconsin earning a degree in Outdoor Education with an emphasis in Natural History. It was during these years that she began pursuing sea kayaking and sailing on the great inland sea that is Lake Superior. Post college, Caroline moved to southern Utah where she spent many summers raft guiding on the Colorado River.

Nowadays, outside of the Catalyst Caroline is a ski school supervisor in northern Utah. Always keen on the natural world, Caroline has kept a life list of birds since the age of 10.

Her broad interest in natural history has brought her to many fine places, but she is most grateful to have returned to the Catalyst and Southeast Alaska.  Caroline is also a Wilderness First Responder.

Randy Good

Randy’s fascination with boats began early, while spending time with his dad on the Chesapeake Bay and his gift for innovative construction began with tinkering at his grandfather’s workbench while growing up in Virginia.  This developed into a passion for restoring antiques, from classic motorcycles and British sports cars, to furniture, houses and especially old wooden boats.  Along the way he developed extensive experience with mechanical and electrical systems and creative problem solving, particularly when off-the-shelf parts were not available.  Having a part in keeping the wonderful historic vessels Catalyst and Westward in top condition is uniquely fulfilling.  Randy also considers it a real privilege to have the chance to meet extraordinary people and explore together some of the most captivating maritime wilderness anywhere.

When not aboard, Randy currently designs and builds furniture in his shop in Vermont. He continues the deep restoration of his own classic wood Grand Banks trawler on Lake Champlain, loves to go on adventures with his wife, Carie, and spends as much time as possible with their grandkids.

Paul Brown

Paul moved to Seward, Alaska and began working on boats at the impressionable age of nineteen. A flurry of ambition awarded him with his first captain’s license two-years later, and he spent the next few years working on the northern Gulf of Alaska. In 2006, Paul began running multi-day trips and research expeditions in Southeast Alaska, Coastal British Columbia, and Puget Sound, and he has since made a career out of exploring one of the worlds most interesting and challenging coastlines. For him, the waters of the Pacific Northwest are a second home, and he enjoys sharing his love of the landscape with guests and crew. When not sea-born, Paul, along with his wife Laurel, spend their time tending their small organic vegetable farm in Hood River, Oregon.

“I believe that we are among a very fortunate few to have the privilege to do the work that we do. Simply put, we are awestruck explorers in a world bigger than our imagination. There’s a kind of magic that comes from the community aboard these small vessels. That community, when combined with the landscape, creates a harmony that is reminiscent of a simpler time, long forgotten by most. I have a genuine love for the beauty and drama of this coastline, for the crews with which I work, and for the enthusiasm of our guests.” – Paul

Paul has a 500-ton masters license and USCG-certificates in medical care, first aid, firefighting, and meteorology.

Carlos Gajon Bermúdez

Carlos was born and raised in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico, where he also went to university. Though he majored in international business, his passion is the sea.

He grew up on the sea, fishing and exploring the coast of Baa with his father and grandfather. In time he got involved in the kayaking world and certified as a kayak instructor with both the American Canoe Association and the Irish Canoe Union.

Carlos learned a great deal about Baja wildlife in the years exploring with his family as well as training in naturalist guiding with various organizations. He served as a volunteer in Loreto National Park, and has guided for eighteen years on the Sea of Cortez.

Carlos is a wildlife photographer and sea diver.