Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New blog

My new blog is toventurebeyond.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Adventure Continues

After a winter with relatively little sailing I'm off to Florida to skipper a yacht delivery from Port St. Joe to Nassau in the Bahamas. The boat is a 33 foot yawl and the trip should take a week or so. After that it's another delivery from St. Martin to New England via Bermuda and then some quality tramping around the East Coast. I should be back in Washington in July in time for some good music festivals then I'm off on a big expedition in late August. More about that later... This winter I made a few fantastic trips up to the San Juan Islands with friends in the COLD! We had a great time exploring and experiencing some extreme weather. I find it interesting that the weather here in winter is noticeably worse than the summer weather in Greenland! I'm definitely looking forward to some tropical sailing. A few weeks ago my friend Brian Caldwell came through on his way to France and we've got some exciting plans for some sailing adventures this summer. Anyway, I'll keep you all posted on the progress of this next trip. Ryan P.S. We're looking for crew for these upcoming adventures so if you're interested email me at southernocean@juno.com.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Finally got internet coverage after weeks of being away from it all in the arctic. It's been an amazing trip, covering about 4,000 miles sailing the coasts of Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Greenland aboard the expedition vessel Wanderbird. We made it all the way to 69 degrees north in Disko Bay, which is pretty extreme considering that far south would be Antarctica. Right now I'm in the beautiful little community of Shelbourne, Nova Scotia taking care of engine problems before working my way back home to Washington.

From there it'll be a delivery or two on the west coast before spending the winter most likely sailing in Australia. When I get some time I'll post a longer column filling you all in on the adventure with some pictures!

Fair Winds,


Friday, July 8, 2011

Next Adventure

Hi Everybody,

I got back in late June from an amazing delivery from Hawaii to Point Roberts, Washington.

After a brief visit with old friends in Hawaii we left Ko Olina headed for the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the 5th of June.

The boat we sailed was a Catalina 47 named Tilikum, a comfortable boat that could also go quite fast for a cruising design. She wouldn't exactly be my choice for extreme offshore sailing but she was more than adequate for the passage to the mainland. For a 47 foot boat, she was relatively light and had a long waterline that allowed her to sail quite fast. Even better, she had refrigeration onboard so we were able to eat fresh food all the way across!

My companions on board were a great bunch of people to sail across the Pacific with. Captaining the vessel was my good mate Brian Caldwell, with whom I've made many trips across the oceans with. Tod, our crew member from Portland Oregon was on his first offshore passage, but he did great and was fantastic company. And the final crew member was Jen Edney, a very skilled photographer from Nebraska who did the photography for Zac Sunderland's around the world trip.

For the first week, the weather was perfect, sunny and warm with calm seas and a steady breeze. Tilikum logged 150 to 180 mile days and we shot north like a rocket, reaching in perfect weather. At about 30 degrees north we started seeing garbage from the North Pacific Gyre, and one day collected a huge glass ball that had probably been floating around the Pacific for thirty years or more.

After a week at sea, the weather turned foggy and cold, and it was to stay that way for the rest of the trip. For ten days, we had nothing but fog all the way to the entrance to the Straits. It was quite eerie sailing through fog for so long with only being able to see a few hundred feet. We were very glad to have an AIS aboard to warn us every time a ship was close. Otherwise, we would see the ship when it was way too close to take evasive action.

We got in to Washington after just 16 days, amazing time for a cruising boat, and stopped briefly in my home Port of Port Angeles before continuing on to Point Roberts. The three weeks since then have gone by in a blur catching up with friends and family, hitting up some of the great festivals that go on this time of year, hiking in the mountains, and getting ready for my next adventure, which is crewing on a boat up to Greenland.

Tomorrow morning I'm flying out to Deer Lake Newfoundland, where I'll be working my way up to Saint Anthony. From there, I'll be crewing on a boat up the Labrador Coast to Greenland and back down to Maine. Should be one hell of an adventure!

Fair Winds,


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hawaii Passage #4

Hey Everybody,

It's been way too long since my last post so I'll try and fill you in on the latest. Since I've returned from Central America I've been busy with sailing, writing,working on sponsorship, catching up with mates and generally having a good time being back in the states. To help train for the extreme physical difficulties I will no doubt experience on the world voyage, I've put my boat building skills to use rebuilding a 13 foot pocket cruiser into a heavy weather rowboat that I'll use in the Inside Passage.

A few weeks ago, I met up with my good friend Brian Caldwell and we caught up on our travels and sailing adventures we've had since our delivery last fall.

On June 1st, I'm flying to Hawaii to deliver a Catalina 47 to Washington---my fourth passage between Hawaii and the mainland. After that it's one of two things for the summer, either off to the East Coast to crew on a vessel between the Maine Coast and Greenland or, if that doesn't come through, venturing up the Inside Passage and around Vancouver Island. Either will be exciting, challenging, and a hell of an adventure.

All the best,


Friday, January 28, 2011

Tramping Around Central America

I´m getting ready to fly back to society tomorrow after spending the past month or so exploring Central America. I´m excited to be heading home but it will mean transitioning from the traveling lifestyle to once again focusing on sponsorship and preparing for my world voyage.

Having already visited Costa Rica, I wanted to get a little off the beaten track and headed north to Nicaragua. Nicaragua is an incredibly poor country, but I found it to be the most unspoiled and beautiful of the three Central American countries I´ve visited.

After a long night at a bus station in the ugly, unsafe Costa Rican city of Liberia, I crossed the border into Nicaragua. A couple buses later, I took an ancient wooden boat that looked as if it would fall apart any moment to the Island of Ometepe on Lake Nicaragua.

The Lake is the largest in all of Latin America and was for the longest time chock full of freshwater bull sharks that swam up the San Juan river and found the lake to their liking. The Nicaraguan´s were understandably afraid of the water until they found a solution in the form of catching all the sharks and sending them off to Japan and god knows where else to be eaten. Now few sharks swim in the lake.

Ometepe is a huge island that was formed by two volcanoes connected by a narrow isthmus. It is covered in jungle and is an incredibly beautiful place. I spent five days here hiking, kayaking and exploring before returning to the mainland and exploring the colonial city of Granada and the ocean beaches at San Juan del Sur. There I went out at night to see turtles laying their eggs and babies hatching and that was quite incredible.

Back in Costa Rica a few days later, I headed for Corcovado national park with my Israeli friend Omer and we spent three days trekking through some of the last pristine rainforest in the country. National geographic called Corcovado the most biologically intense place on the planet, and everywhere we went there were all kinds of tropical animals. We traversed the entire Osa peninsula and crossed rivers up to our neck full of poisonous snakes and according to the rangers, crocodiles and bull sharks. Fortunately, all I saw was a small caiman.

All in all, I had a brilliant time exploring Central America and sailing there from the Bahamas. It was the longest solo sail to date and I feel more confident than ever with my sailing skills and with getting ready for my circumnavigation. Now I'm back in society and getting ready for once again focusing on sponsorship...



Monday, January 10, 2011

The Big Ditch

We made it through the canal and finished this trip in Balboa! The Panama Canal really deserves its reputation as one of the modern wonders of the world, but for sailors it is just a really convinent way to get between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. And quite pleasant, considering the alternatives are Cape Horn and the icy Northwest Passage. The canal itself is really a lot of concrete, it`s the dream of connecting the oceans and the sacrafices it took to build it that take your breath away.

Getting anything done in Central America generally costs twice as much and takes twice as long as was originally expected, and now was no exception. I ended spending several weeks in Colon waiting for the chance to go through and dealing with endless delays. Fortunately, my family decided to join me for this bit of the trip and we did a bit of exploring in Panama. As an 18 year old, the very thought of traveling anywhere, especially internationally, with my family sends terror into my very being, but the Canal was too great an opportunity for them to pass up. So we did some exploring while waiting for our go at thte canal.

And it was wet. So wet that flooding had closed the canal for the first time in decades due to the level of the water in Lake Gatun, and roads and homes were deystroyed all over the country. My 15 year old brother and I took a 28 mile trek in the jungle and it was the wettest, muddiest, least pleasant hike of my life. It was wet as it only can get in the Panamanian rainforst, a Bear Grylls would be crying right now type of experience. We made it almost all the way through to the end of the trail, but were unable to cross a swollen river and had to hike all the way back. We later learned that an expereinced jungle guide had died trying to do the same thing three days earlier.

But, in the end we survived and made it back to the canal for our sucessful transit. Our trip through went well and we were tied to another sailboat which made it quite easy for us. Now Im doing a bit of tramping around Central America before my return to society.

The canal down, now just Cape Horn to go!



Monday, December 27, 2010

Between the Oceans

Hi everyone,

Just got back to Shelter Bay (the marina at Colon, the Atlantic side) after my first trip through the Canal crewing on another boat. I went through on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day and it was a very different way to spend the holidays for sure. I'll tell the full story after I take Carmen Sandiego through, but what I will say now is that the canal is one hell of a ditch and I don't envy those who dug it out!!

I'm scheduled to go through on the 28th or 29th, so I'm quite excited to be headed for my home ocean.

Hope you all had an amazing Christmas and Happy New Year!



Monday, December 20, 2010

The Forbidden Island and on to Panama

It's been a long time since my last report from Georgetown as I've spent quite a long time away from access to internet. I'll try and fill you in on what's happened since.

After a few days in Georgetown I headed south again, this my next planned stop being Great Inagua island 250 or so miles to the Southeast. My plan was to go through a small cut between Little Exuma Island and Hog Cay, where I could find my way through the reefs and thus avoid an extra 150 miles of upwind sailing to get around the shallows.

I anchored at right at the cut, waited for high tide and made my way through and then on along the shallows for the next 20 miles. Throughout my time sailing in the Bahamas, I could never get used to the shallow water, sometimes only having a foot or so under the keel. That and the upwind sailing made for quite a trip. I later learned that most boats avoid going that way through the Bahamas this time of year due to the wind and that this year was exceptionally bad. One friend in Georgetown told me that this weather was worse than some of the tropical storms he had waited out before!

Finally, the wind came around and I was able to sail much more comfortably, if a bit slow, toward Inagua. When I got there, after three days at sea, I found the anchorage to be no good with the Northerly winds and regrettably had to sail on. It was a bit of a shame because I had heard that the Island had thousands of Flamingos which I would have loved to see and I always like exploring remote islands.

I sailed past the Island and set course for Santiago de Cuba. The windvane had lost a nut which was important to keep it together and the pulpit had pulled out of it's base so I had to stop somewhere to make repairs. Besides, it was a good excuse to explore Cuba, a place I had always wanted to visit.

It was a nice two day trip and before I knew it I was entering Santiago Bay. On the way I sailed way to close to Guantanamo Bay and had a US military plane sweep low over me five times or so. No doubt they were keeping a close eye on me on their radar screens, but fortunately I wasn't boarded. It seems I cannot sail out of Port Angeles harbor without the border patrol searching my boat and yet I sailed right past Guantanamo Bay without being stopped!

I sailed past the fort at the entrance to Santiago Bay and made my way toward the marina. Just then, the outboard motor, which had been working beautifully on the whole trip so far decided to quit. I was forced to sail into an unknown harbor with no charts and a light wind directly against me. It took me ages to get in (with all the yachties in the marina watching) and then I had to deal with the entry procedures, which took several hours.

I had learned that funding had been cut for prosecuting Americans who visit Cuba and that Cubans were actually quite welcoming for Americans. In any case I had to stop for repairs and there were few options between myself and Panama. In the end I am quite glad I made the decision to stop in Cuba, as there were no problems with me being an American.

Cuba is a country that is somehow both incredibly poor and prosperous at the same time. In Cuba I saw shiny new European cars pass goat herders on the side of the road. I met people who had no money for food or shelter or education, but could somehow find enough for a crazy party at the club in the city. Cuba was a whirlwind of activity, a beautiful and tragic country whose people are incredibly kind.

The other sailors at the marina from Finland and Germany and Spain were all very nice. My friend Jukka on the Finish boat bought me fresh fruit and gave me a big bag of Cuban biscuit that looks and tastes much like hardtack. It was good because my cooking skills are very limited, and the boat's provisions consisted of mainly four things: pasta, oatmeal, spinach and small cans of mackerel in tomato paste. On the next leg of the journey a wave was to ruin most of my other provisions and I had no money to buy more save for a bottle of good, cheap Cuban rum which you can get for about $3 a bottle.

My main problem in Cuba was that I couldn't get my Bahamian money exchanged and American credit cards don't work but I had to somehow pay the marina. I didn't have to worry about starving because my new friends fed me in their homes, usually rice and fish or plantains. In the end, my parents were able to wire some money through, not an easy thing to do and it took a lot of work on their part, of which I am very grateful. I liked Cuba, but didn't relish the thought of being stuck there forever.

After five days I had made the repairs and had paid the marina. It was time to continue on toward Panama. I had hoped to make the passage in 6 days or so, but the weather had other plans. At first I was becalmed in light winds and when the wind did come, there was too much of it. We were hit by a 30 knot front, which isn't so bad except the waves were coming from two directions and created an messy sea which threw the boat about as if in a washing machine.

At one point we were caught broadside by a wave and we had a partial knockdown. Everything in the cabin went flying and a huge amount of sea water poured into the cabin, soaking everything. It took ages to get the boat under control, pump out the bilges, and clean up the cabin again which looked like a bomb had gone off. Then it took a few days of good weather to dry everything out. It was quite annoying because the wind was only 30 knots, but the seas got pretty confused. They seemed to think that there was a lot more wind!

After that blew through we had more light winds and lots of slow sailing. I was quite glad we had the AIS aboard as there were ships all over the place and I had to sleep sometime, if only in 15 minute intervals. The AIS would tell ships my location and alerted me when ships were nearby, a great help to the solo sailor.

Entering Colon at night was a total nightmare. I knew it is usually unwise to enter an unusual port at night, especially when the port is one of the most busy in the world, but I thought it would be even more dangerous to spend the night drifting around when there were dozens of ships about in every direction. In the end I found the anchorage and in the morning moved over to the marina. Now I'm getting ready for the trip through the canal...

Fair Winds,


Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Hi Everyone,

I'm now tied up at Georgetown getting ready to head south in the morning. Everyone told me that the Exuma Islands could not be beat when it comes to friendly people and exploring and they were very right. The waters were just as clear as in the tourist brochures and the islands were perfect for walking on the trails and tramping around the brush.

All the locals ashore were friendly and helpful and so too were the yachites on all the boats. It was a good thing because many boats got into trouble with the rough headwinds and shallow waters.

Being from Washington State, I'm used to being able to sail in deep water relatively close to shore and to be able to run off to deeper water when the weather becomes unsafe. Here the depth is often just a few feet under your keel and you have to be wary of reefs even when miles offshore.

The Southeast Winds, coming from right in the direction I'm heading, made it slow going. At times, the combination of short, steep seas and maze of reefs made it so progress was nearly impossible and I ended up waiting for better conditions rather than slowly tacking my way among reefs.

Now I'm on my way to Panama via a few more islands en route.

Here's a few pictures of sailing in the Exumas: