Flannel shirts. Starbucks. Craft beer. An above-average number of serial killers. Pearl Jam. Did I mention flannel shirts? That’s what came to mind when I thought about Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest. That and natural beauty.
I’ve spent the last decade reading and editing tales of adventure in this long-range cruising mecca. Puget Sound, the San Juans, Vancouver—places where mountains reach out to kiss both sea and sky. I could see them clearly in my mind, and at the same time not at all.
Joined by a few other members of the Power & Motoryacht team, I recently got the chance to pen a few stories of my own from these hallowed cruising grounds.
Our journey began, fittingly, where many seasoned cruisers got their start: at Trawlerfest Seattle (put on by our sister publication, Passagemaker). We climbed aboard several boats, some traditional, some otherwise. We diligently worked our way through the show, but, if I’m honest, we were a bit distracted. Looking across a glass-flat body of water toward snow-capped mountains, with Mount Rainier looming menacingly above them all, our thirst for adventure grew.
One boat that seemed especially adept at breaking out of the show and allowing us to get exploring was a Life Proof 31 Coupe and its affable owner/designer, Micah Bowers. Together we sprinted atop the water to Blake Island, birthplace of the city’s namesake Chief Seattle and a rich Native history that is brought to life with stunning brilliance by Tillicum Village. (Turn to Still Waters Run Deep on page TK to better understand why tribal roots run deep in this part of the country.)
To hit more of the iconic, bucket-list destinations in the PNW, we teamed up with the largest boatbuilder in this part of the world, Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats. With a crew of six we made our way to the San Juans and places like Rosario Island, Friday and Roche Harbors. I now know why I’ve been reading so much about the San Juans over the years. For lack of a more grandiose word, I’m going to say that the islands are simply stunning.
I’ve traveled the world as editor of this magazine, but I never experienced a whirlwind quite like our eight-day adventure in the Pacific Northwest. We reconnected with nature, learned about another part of the country, hopped the fence and ventured into our northern neighbor’s backyard. And we dug into the Native history and early American roots that run through this place.
In putting together our first Pacific Northwest themed issue, our goal was to give you a taste of this special part of the world, but I’m afraid that despite our very best efforts, there is only so much that can be conveyed with the written word, photos even video. What all these mediums fail to capture is the vastness of it all. Cruising in the wake of limitless natural beauty from the flybridge of a Ranger 41, cold mountain air filling the lungs as the sun sinks behind vast snow-capped mountains, was a life experience I feel privileged to have enjoyed. I hope this issue inspires you to venture out and seek such an experience for yourself.
After a fresh traditionally prepared meal and a show that had us on the edge of our seats at Tillicum Village, it was time to get back on the boat to Seattle. As we were leaving, one of the lead historians and keeper of Native traditions, Frank Mathers, told us: “In our culture, we never say goodbye. Goodbye is too final. We say Ndm-al-gyik-niidzn. That means we’ll see you soon.”
It won’t be soon enough.