Westward sails for Mexico tomorrow, taking advantage of an ideal weather forecast, and we are all scrambling to check off all of our lists before we drop her lines and she heads for the open Pacific. I am sitting in Westward’s galley surrounded by the ordered chaos that precedes every season’s beginning. Piles of food, notes and various lists inhabit every horizontal surface except where I and my computer sit.
Provisioning lists, engine room lists, paint and varnish supply lists, navigation publications, fuel and oil, boat-keeping supplies that we know from experience are very hard to find in Baja, crew packing lists (it is hard to remember to bring your swim suit when it is fall in the boat yard!), a few pieces of lumber for projects we hope to accomplish during our time in Baja, and of course all of the spare parts that a prudent mariner always keeps handy, belts, filters, spares impellors, bilge pumps, and rebuild kits for virtually every machine on board.
All of this planning, gathering, stowing, checking and rechecking is directed at one moment in time; one hour before tomorrow afternoon’s high water slack current at Point Wilson. If Westward can get away on time she will have the benefit of the ebb current for her outbound passage along the Straits of San Juan de Fuca.
Since I last wrote we have finished two seasons in Baja and one in SE Alaska. We have covered about fifteen thousand sea miles and hosted over a hundred guests from all over the world.
Together we have seen amazing things.
Poster-worthy sunsets and sunrises, playful California sea lions nibbling on our fins as we swim with them in the warm clear waters of the Sea of Cortez, we have sailed over turquoise seas and among deep blue ice bergs, watched bubble netting humpback whales so unaffected by our presence that they passed within fifteen feet of us as the rolled away from their feast. Imagine, close to three hundred TONS of wild animals passing within a few feet!!
We have laughed with one another, cried with one another and shared life changing experiences with one another. And it has been grand!
Catalyst is also here in Port Townsend awaiting her own time of repair and re-finishing scheduled for later this winter. I am excited to have Catalyst’s entire crew returning for her 2018 season! Her primary crew of Paul Brown, Shane Blair, Sarah Drummond and Chef Michael Neswald, along with reliefs captain Bernadette Castner and naturalist Kristin Currin will be aboard to greet all of our guests and give them the extraordinary adventures that we have become known for since Pacific Catalyst began in 1995.
We all hope to welcome you aboard one of our classic vessels for our own, unique adventure. Please have a look around our website, or call Lisa Meschke in the office at 360.378.7123 to find out more about our winter trips in Baja Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, or our summer SE Alaska offerings.
Warmest regards, Bill Bailey, president of Pacific Catalyst and captain of Westward