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About Us

On behalf of myself and the crew of the Catalyst and Westward, I would like to welcome you!

One of our greatest joys is to share both our wonderful vessels and our passion for the intricate waterways of the Pacific Northwest and the wonders of the Sea of Cortez and Baja.

I hope that you will take the time to wander through our website and become our shipmates in a water-borne adventure.

Our warm interiors, with decades-old varnished wood paneling, heavy beamed ceilings, and glowing mahogany trim and furniture, take us back to a time when craftsmanship was the rule rather than the exception. The slow pulse of our original 1932 Washington Diesel engine, the only one like it in the world, makes Catalyst a living creature with a strong iron heart. The older 1924 Atlas, the oldest running one in the world outside of the Smithsonian, graces the Westward with the same life beat. We use large battery banks that allow us to go for 12 hours without starting an engine to disrupt the quiet solitude that is at the core of a Pacific Catalyst trip. Why invest in a trip that feeds only a few of your senses?

There is not a day when underway that I am not moved to tears by the breathtaking beauty of our cruising grounds. Our quiet vessels, which so ably invoke an earlier time, drift among icebergs and through narrow fjords that are fresh from the glaciers’ gouge. We cruise beside forests of impossible greens, all the while exploring deep, clear-jade waters that teem with life. There is always something to hold our senses captive! The colors are unbelievable, the sounds rich and varied, and the smell of air freshly distilled from sea and forest is unforgettable.

Why not spend what may be your one trip to Alaska being able to fully embrace not just the sights that every guest on every big cruise ship sees, but also the cliff-rimmed coves, the stunningly silent and calm anchorages where the only sounds are nesting guillemots, or the explosive breaths of passing humpback whales? Why not travel on a vessel that stops for hours, engines off, drifting with an inquisitive humpback who is intent on making eye contact with us? Instead of going off your diet for your vacation, why not find out how amazingly delicious healthy gourmet food, cooked fresh from locally sourced ingredients, can be?

In the Sea of Cortez, I have watched an adobe-red moon rise out of the valley between two cactus-fringed hills, listened to the sounds of ridley sea turtles as they swam around the boat in the dark, and experienced a pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins as they gathered on the bow to celebrate our passing by, leaping 3 feet out of the water. I have looked across turquoise water that almost audibly invites me in for a swim. I have seen majestic frigate birds gat her to rise on thermal winds and then dive into the sea like spears as they seek their dinner from the teeming school of fish below. I have listened in the star-lit night as hundreds of mobula rays slapped the water, making it sound like someone nearby was making a gigantic batch of Jiffy Pop. And I have watched beautiful sunrises and sunsets, each one unique and all worth pausing whatever I was doing, just to give them my full focus.
Video produced by: Pattie Logan (

Our focus is to take you deeper into the regions in which we cruise, not necessarily further. That is why we seldom travel at night. Night in Baja is not a time to waste in noisy and brightly lit travel. It is a time to sit in silence, listening as rays jump just beyond the light cast by our anchor light, and watching as the small fish that have schooled around our boat leave phosphorescent trails in the water, mirroring the shooting stars above.

Our quest, both in Baja and Alaska, is to provide an opportunity for you to have an experience that continues to resonate in you throughout your life.

We would love to meet you, hear your stories, and share ours. Our lives are about sharing with you both the Pacific Northwest waters that we love so much and the turquoise waters of the Sea of Cortez. We are one of the very few boats operating in the PNW and Baja that are true family operations. We are totally and completely committed to making your vacation the best experience it can be.

This is the place where “once in a lifetime” happens.

Please consider joining us this winter in Baja California or this summer in Southeast Alaska or the Pacific Northwest. As always, we look forward to having you aboard.

Until we sail,

Captain Bill Bailey

All photos on this site are credited to crew and guests aboard the MV Catalyst and MV Westward, Carlos Cajón Bermúdez, Caroline Olson and Wendy Shattil & Bob Rozinski; Dancing Pelican/Shattil/Rozinski Photography, with all rights reserved. Cannot be used or replicated without permission of photographer and/or Pacific Catalyst II, Inc.