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Meet the Crew

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 ocean adventure.

Bill Bailey Westward Captain/Owner

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”

Tracie Triolo Westward Chef, Captain 100 Ton Masters, 200 Ton Mate, First Aid, CPR

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 backcountry 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 Manager for Fairmont Hotels and as a restaurant chef for the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco 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 the 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.

Carlos Gajon Bermúdez Baja Naturalist, Kayak Guide & Instructor (ACA,ICU) Deckhand, Wilderness First Responder - Baja California, Mexic

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.

Hannah Moench Westward Naturalist, Deckhand, Kayak Guide, Wilderness First Responder

Hannah is a mountain girl who grew up between the high peaks of Colorado and Nepal. Despite her largely landlocked upbringing, she developed an early love for the ocean, pacific coast plants and foraging through her aunt – a kayaking guide, ethnobotanist and author who took her to Baja and the San Juan Islands in her early teens.

After years of working in environmental nonprofits and infrastructure research, Hannah happened upon a boat-based guiding job in Glacier Bay National Park in 2017. It changed her life. She worked in the park and throughout Southeast Alaska for three summers, falling completely and irrevocably for the natural and human geography she discovered. She is grateful to have returned every year since for the big and quiet spaces, the (sometimes) loud and clamorous wildlife, the lush plants, wild foods, jumbled geology and ephemeral tricks of misty air and sunlight. Following a pandemic of nonprofit work and kayaking – including a trip through the Alaskan inside passage from Ketchikan to Juneau – she is excited to return to guiding and honored to join the Westward crew. Hannah has also volunteered as a “boatyard schlep,” deckhand and environmental educator through Sea Education Association in the South Pacific and with various organizations in the Puget Sound.

Hannah lives between her family home in Gold Hill, Colorado, and Juneau, where she recently took her first step towards millennial homeownership in the form of a 34’ live-aboard boat, the Ilya.

Shane Blair Catalyst Captain

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.

Jada Nye Catalyst Chef

Jada’s hometown of Asheville is located in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina known for its natural beauty, biodiversity, and a “slow food” culture that makes the city a vibrant destination. Formative summers were spent boating and fishing with her family in the Florida Keys and numerous lakes of the Carolinas along with plenty of camping and hiking. Bountiful harvests of forest mushrooms and wild edibles as well as local and homegrown produce and meats were keystone inspirations for her food obsession.

Jada comes by her love of cooking naturally and family gatherings always revolve around the kitchen. Her family influences are as diverse as American cuisine including Southern comfort, Hawaiian, Vegan, classic baking, wild foraging and fermenting. While attending college in New York City, Jada experienced a wide variety of cultures and gastronomies from which she also draws inspiration. Her culinary career led her to be Head Chef at a holistic retreat center where she prepared flavorful and diverse meals catering to a wide variety of diets and unique preferences. Her desire for adventure (or maybe kismet) led her to take a position as the chef on a chartered sailboat cruising the San Juan Islands where she fell in love with cooking at sea.

Jada is delighted to be Chef aboard Catalyst, combining her passions for food, travel, nature and boating.

Sarah Drummond Catalyst Naturalist, Kayak Guide, Deckhand, Artist in Residence, Wilderness First Responder, CPR/AED

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.

Caroline Olson Alaska Naturalist, Deckhand, Kayak Guide

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.

Paul Brown Catalyst Captain

Paul grew up in Western Oregon in the soggy farmlands of the Willamette Valley and has always loved being outdoors. At the age of nineteen, he moved to the north gulf coast of Alaska and began working on boats. There, he fell in love with the dramatic coastline of Alaska, the rhythms of the ocean, and the pace of life at sea. In 2006, Paul moved to northern Washington where he spent his offseason as a captain of a boat serving as a floating classroom for young people in the Salish Sea, helping to teach about marine ecology and conservation. His summers were spent working as a captain of the natural history and research expeditions in Southeast Alaska and Coastal British Columbia. Since then, Paul has 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.

“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.