OWNERSTORY - ALASKA
they’re entirely self-sufficient, they don’t need their TV’s or the
Internet and they’ve learned to live with themselves in a way that’s
actually difficult to explain. We ourselves, perhaps, understand to
some degree because it’s the same type of solitude we experience
when making long ocean passages but they experience the
solitude as a community rather than an individual level.”
By the looks of it, Dave and Marie have not turned hippie in Elfin. In
fact, when we caught up with them, they were sailing south along
the US west Coast, headed for – Panama?
Are you heading for Panama? And then to where?
We came north to Alaska from Hawaii so that we could make an
attempt to transit the Northwest Passage. I’ve before sailed in
high latitudes in a GRP constructed sailboat and although difficult,
it would be perfectly possible given acceptable ice conditions that
now prevail through global warming. However, continual problems
with our Volvo Penta engine made this too high risk... we have now
replaced our Volvo with a new Yanmar but had to return south to
Port Townsend to get this work done which means we lost another
season to make the attempt. Our fall-back plan is the only other
alternative - through the Panama Canal eastwards. To continue
southwards past Panama down the west coast of South America
is not an option in a sailboat due to adverse winds and the Humboldt
current. From there who knows? We never make long term
plans these days because they always change.
Are you armed on board?
No, we are not armed and being British we are against firearms
on board. This has been the subject of intense discussions with
Americans and other American boats, which invariably are always
armed to the hilt. We see no reason to be armed and have
never been in any situation where we have needed weapons. We
carry bear spray and a taser for bear protection, neither of which
work effectively. Our filming drone works though, bears always
flee from a drone... we only discovered that whilst being chased
for the second time on Chichagof Island.
What impressed you most in Alaska? Would you ever want to
We are heartbroken to leave Alaska. It’s the solitude and wilderness,
stunning remote anchorages and incredible landscape.
Northern British Columbia in Canada is the same. But we have
time limits imposed by US Customs laws relating to the boat
which they stretched for us as much as they possibly could but
we were running out of sensible time. The only problem is the
relentless march of the cruise ships which are ruining and damaging
large areas but are unstoppable.