Cascadian Cuisine 

Farm and Sea to Galley

Sea and be Scene

When you arrive at a place previously unknown you are a tourist, but when you arrive by boat you immediately become part of the scene.

As Jupiter concludes her marvelous sixth year exploring seas and seasons of the Pacific Northwest, her crew considers their many landfalls as some of their finest hours. Tiny coves, bays, inlets, and sculpin shorelines invite union and communion with whatever resident creatures are busy ignoring our arrival.

Floating docks, Provincial Parks, marinas, wharfs and waterfronts tied to outport camps, communities, towns or great cities crack open the isolation of days alone. An often cloistered crew finds voice where few dismiss those who arrive by water. Welcomes seem roundly warmer and more inquisitive in inverse proportion to the population of the place. The human need for contact, like the alternating current, runs deep and both ways.

Having navigated 2,300 miles this season, and 12,000 in Puget Sound, the Salish Sea, BC and Alaska, during past years, Jupiter’s crew serendipitously encounters friends afloat and ashore—an extended and growing community spread far and ferforth.

Companion Ship

Pace Setter

Scene Setters

Fellow mariners relish sharing where-froms and where-tos, anecdotes of boats and floats, encounters and occurrences, and newfound ports and passages. Long travelers become long winded, unspooling brief encounters into extended evenings sharing nourishment and merriment aboard one vessel or another.

Time Travelers


Crossing Wakes

Boat Buddies

Sea Sideshow

Marine Scene

Wearing a Waterfront

Exploration of the Pacific Northwest in one’s own boat is a pursuit so immensely compelling that it defies easy explanation. The vast and largely unpopulated mountainous mainlands and islands, the impatient hydraulic forces of rivers and tides, the dynamic weather and the vulnerability of vessels and their machinery provide opportunities for failure. The gratification, nevertheless, is mythological.

Jupiter’s crew is endowed daily by the natural world. Solitude and self-reliance bring awareness and perspective, and vividly juxtapose the pleasure of community, and the wisdom acquired from the people we encounter.

Caviar for Companions

It is King Salmon season. If your catch has eggs do not waste them. When making caviar avoid the use of metal utensils and treat your eggs with tender care.

Catch a big fish.

Gut and clean your salmon, preserving the roe.

Prepare a brine by dissolving ½ cup salt in 3 cups water, then cool.

With a sharp knife slice open the egg sac. Place into a sieve set into a bowl of warm – not hot – water, and gently tease out the eggs, pulling away and discarding the sac. Rinse the roe thoroughly.

Dip eggs, still nestled in their sieve, into brine for ten to fifteen minutes. Drain well. Coat lightly in mild olive oil and store in glass vessels. Serve fresh-chilled over eggs or cream cheese.

Something ’bout a boat
Sitting on the sea
Out there in the wind
Floating on the free
Take you around the world
Bring you back home
Gives a man hope
Something ’bout a boat

Jimmy Buffett 1946 ~ 2023
Jupiter is off to the boatyard for repairs, maintenance and beautification.
The crew is ashore for much of the same. Thank you for your company aboard.

Slow Falling of Cedars

One of the Crew’s many daughters, Alice, joins Jupiter at Port McNeill for a brief cruise to two outports and an anchorage. The weather prediction is unambiguous: fog followed by 36 hours of Force 7 winds flowing into all the straits and narrows along the intended route.

The morning of departure dawns opaque in a misty vindication of Canadian weather forecasting. Jupiter casts off and proceeds eastward where all points are out of focus.

On approach to the day’s destination, Lagoon Cove Marina, the west-wind sends out its feely fingers to tease up wavelets from normally still waters.

Arrival alongside the docks is untroubled by drafts, but Jupiter is soon joined by other nowcast refugees, and boats fill floats trunk to tail. Barbarian gusts find a way over an island and around a headland to torment mariners by broadsiding all boats within this otherwise weatherproof harbor.

This would be an excellent time for a hike, sayeth the crew, and the two—mother and daughter—in boots and windstoppers step off Jupiter onto a dock rolling now with stormy haymakers tossing a hat overboard.

Off into the Big Bear Woods they traipse through a dense forest of cedars in the wind, where a lumbering bear was seen this forenoon.

“Bear-bear, here we come Mister Bear” and other loud expressions of bear-aware fanfare are neither heard nor heeded in the growling weather.

The third crew member remains aboard adding fenders, adjusting lines and trying to conjure one quixotic weather modeler among a crowd of crybabies.

A creak, creak, creak and a crack, crack, crack is heard, but “it might be a woodpecker.” Then with a great gimcrackery crash an old and unseen tree breaks its bonds and falls nearby, narrowly missing the bear, but poleaxing and pollarding more than a few of its timberly neighbors.

Now is the time to turnabout back to Jupiter tossing on the docks.

It is also the time to prepare a platter of food to share at the traditional afternoon boaters’ potlatch where shelter can be found at the workshop shed. Lagoon Cove is the golden yolk of the Devil’s Egg Triangle where seaside happy hours take place everyday in every weather.

Lagoon Cove’s community center where mariners meet daily to share food and scuttlebutt.

By cocktail hour all thirty-four boaters leave their ships to the wind and gather at the wharf-top workshop, queueing for food and friendship.

A creak, creak, creak, and a crack, crack, crack is heard, and shouts of “Tree coming down right here!”

The assembled mariners disperse like a flock of gulls chased off a beach, plates and goblets of grog tumbling in the bursting gale. A tall cedar slowly crashes off the hill by the gathering place creating a woody waste, narrowly missing the deck, the handrails and the partygoers.

The maw left by the tree that came calling.

Concerned that more trees might fall, management prudently moves the remains of the day to the docks. And the bear moves elsewhere.

The Mariners’ Picnic

If you go down in the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today you’d better look up at the skies
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the mariners have their picnic

Every mariner who’s been good is sure of treat today
There’s lots of marvelous things to eat and wonderful things to say
Beneath the trees where nobody sees they’ll drink and eat as long as they please
‘Cos that’s the way the mariners have their picnic

Picnic time for mariners
The salty mariners are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares and see them picnic up above the bay

See them gaily gad about
They love to brag and shout
They always have major repairs
At six o’clock their bilges and oil leaks will call them back aboard
Because they’re fixing little mariners

If you go down in the woods today you better not go alone
Its windy down in the woods today and better to stay not roam
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the mariners have their picnic

Bumps on Stumps

If a tree falls in the forest and you are there to hear it, grill up some favorite sausages. Cool, then slice into rings. Top alternating stumps with whole grain mustard and berry pepper jelly.

Incident at Ire Inlet

“I am shutting down the generator.” he yells. “We’ve got smoke.”

She’s leaning off the flybridge dangling a long lens over the smack of coral-hued jellyfish swarming with the incoming tide.

We are ready to haul anchor, and now we are not. What has violated the generator? Easy to imagine.

Ire + Anger

Seeking a new tangent in northern BC, Jupiter follows a route along the hypotenuse of Pitt Island where attractive inlets and coves present themselves, and the Ala Passage rounding Anger Island urges exploration.

Some Pythagorean prankster has ascribed nomenclature to a charted congregation: Azimuth and Sine Islands, Cosine Bay, Logarithm and Tangent Points—a new attribution angle.

Jupiter’s crew is lured into Ire Inlet incising Anger Island, chiefly by the impossible narrowness of the approach. Are these monikers descriptive of a frustrated mathematician, or of something more dire?

Once inside the cove we encounter a bloom of Lion’s Mane jellyfish propelling themselves gracefully about looking to entrap, impair and ingest copepods and crustaceans. These creatures are sometimes seen in Jupiter’s anchorages, but rarely in such paraffle.

Lion’s Mane at Ire are concentrated inside the narrow entrance channel, growing in size and number, stirred but never shaken free by tidal currents. Many, reaching the size of a lethal life-ring, trail stinging tentacles a fathom or more in length.

There will be no swimming tonight.

After a peaceful night and a good dinner Jupiter’s crew prepares for a routine departure when a curious jellyfish reaches into the boat’s sea water intake that cools the generator.

Much of the amorphous biomorph becomes enmeshed in the strainer basket, but slime, ooze and sticky tentacles make it through the generator water pump and are smoked in the exhaust.

Cleaning a sea strainer basket requires a strong stomach and good protection when handling gunge from an eviscerated and toxic creature.

Pythagorean Pork

Now southbound we clear in to Canada at Prince Rupert where the market has cuts of locally raised pork on hand.

Generously salt pork shanks. Coarsely chop onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Nestle shanks into a heavy pot, and surround with chopped vegetables and a passel of peppercorns. Add water just to top the shanks and simmer, covered, for a couple of hours, or until the meat is cooked but not falling apart.

Set shanks aside to cool. Strain vegetables from broth, reserving both. Preheat the oven to 425°. Place strained vegetables in the bottom of a roasting pan and set the shanks directly on top. Pour in a small amount of reserved stock and save the rest for another use. Roast shanks, basting with liquid from the pan, for about 30 minutes or until crispy on the exterior.

Serve shanks with mashed potatoes, and a tangy coleslaw.

A Tale of Two Totems

With an immersive sojourn at Haida Gwaii ended, Jupiter points her bow northward to Alaska.

Two long passages are broken by a night’s rest at Brundige Inlet, Canada’s last anchorage before the US Border, deep in the crooked little heart of Dundas Island. Here the crew is assailed by hordes of black flies savaging for blood and leaving welts the size of grapeshot. We enjoy the quiet evening, slapping, scratching, and applying cortisone creams.

Into Alaska

The US point of entry northbound is Ketchikan, 50 miles north of the border. Clearing Customs and Border Protection is straightforward for pre-registered vessels using the CBPRoam App.

Arrival at Alaska’s First City is different from arrival at other ports. Several massive cruise ships blockade the waterfront daily, disgorging thousands of passengers into town. A turbulence of tourists and tours, fishing and fish processing, shipping and trade by air and sea contrasts with previously experienced stillness.

Jupiter spends three days and a Fourth of July provisioning, refueling and enjoying the company of the merry multitudes.

Determined to find the smallest and quietest village within a day’s passage, Jupiter departs for Kasaan on Prince of Wales Island where moorage is available.


The Organized Village of Kasaan is one of the historic seats of Haida, along with Haida Gwaii, and Hydaburg on Prince of Wales. We continue the canvas of Haida culture.

The Haida and neighboring Tlingit bands historically occupied portions of what is now Southeastern Alaska, and a modern group migrated here in the 18th Century. Kasaan, home to 30 residents, means “pretty town.”

Jupiter ties up on the outer float of the little harbor. The crew finds the Tribal Offices, and within engaging people curious about our curiosity and our recent voyage from Haida Gwaii. Remarkably, we are solemnly asked if we are ourselves Haida.

An interpretation is offered of the area’s impressive collection of totem poles and an intact original Long House belonging to Chief Son-I-Hat, built in 1880 and documented in the 1930’s. Mike “I Am the Voice” Jones, our impassioned guide, Tribal President, genealogist, and historian of Old and New Kasaan is related to everyone. He speaks eloquently for his people and is generous with his time and insight.


The massive Yáadaas Clan pole was recently returned to Kasaan after more than 100 years’ absence. Built in 1880 to front a Chief’s house, it was taken in 1906 to California by Chief Son-I-Hat for an Indian Crafts exhibition. In 1951 it was found in a lumber yard destined for a pulp mill.

Rescued, it was transported to a new home, standing at the entry to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center for fifty years. Subsequently, when strengthened with steel, it became a lightning rod and was taken down in 2006. The Arts Center contacted Kasaan to see if the pole might be repatriated.

GASA’AAN XAADAS GYA’AANG (Kasaan Haida Totem Pole)

This contemporary pole was carved in the Kasaan carving shed by two lead and four apprentice artisans in celebration of the restoration of the Chief’s long house, known as The Whale House. It was erected in 2018 to evoke the past, present and future of the Village of Kasaan.

The pole is read from bottom to top:

Starting at the bottom is Chief Son-I-Hat’s home. Moving up, smoke from the smoke-hole rises over the belly of a woman pregnant with past lessons and knowledge. On her abdomen is a petroglyph signifying the time the people of Kasaan have lived here.

Above the woman is a wise and strong figure representing all aspects of the past.

The middle of the pole symbolizes the present with a cockle clam telling the importance of natural resources to human life. Above rests a crab to value and protect the area’s resources. The crab sits on a copper shield held by a human embracing the environment.

Next, the human figure with large ears manifests the intent of the people to listen to all lessons of the past to enable a promising future.

The top of the pole symbolizes the future shown as a large plain belly that speaks of many things yet to be determined. The belly has large skin folds indicating a desire for ample room in times to come.

Salmon eggs surround a baby’s face, and at the highest point is a man and a woman with two children sitting in the ears of the future.

Albacore Tuna Noodle Bowl

Jupiter’s cook acquires a rose-cream loin of albacore tuna, line-caught on the west coast of Haida Gwaii and grilled on the flybridge.

Strip a corn cob of its kernels, toast in a skillet until brown. Add a splash of water and scrape the pan until the sweet fond lacquers the kernels. Remove from pan and allow to cool.

In a small saucepan conjure a quick pickling solution by dissolving a palm full of coconut sugar and a thumble of salt in equal parts water and cider vinegar. Dice assorted vegetables and sliver red onion. Pour the warm solution over and let steep off the heat.

Peel, julienne and lightly salt cucumber and allow to rest.

Soften a generous piece of dried seaweed in simmering water until pliable. Remove the algae from the pot with tongs, and when cool enough to handle, gently roll and chiffonade into noodle-like strands.

Pour the boiling seaweed water over dried rice noodles in a bowl and soak until supple. Drain well and toss gently with the seaweed.

In a small blender whizz up a velvety sauce for the noodles from canola oil, a spoonful of toasted sesame seed, some chili-garlic oil, a nubbin of sweet miso, a glug of rice vinegar, and splishes of mirin and soy sauce. Spill it over the noodles and toss by gentle hand to coat.

Plate the dressed noodles and top with toasted corn. Flake cooked Albacore over noodles and gird with cucumber. Scatter with pickled vegetables and strew with furikake.

“We are the original totem pole people. We are the only culture in the entire world to have monumental sculpture in front of every single house.”

Mike Jones ~ Tribal Chief

Foraged Food + Coastal Cooking

Spot prawn are in season, and BC commercial fishermen are harvesting in abundance from 300 foot depths.

Cook acquires a few kilos fresh from the sea by loitering where incoming boats in Port McNeill unload, and cash money disrupts their journey to Asia. Spot Prawns are handsome and they are jumping-jack-flashing in Jupiter’s galley until cook rips off their heads.

Thai style curry of fresh buttery prawns served over rice is a favorite with the crew.

Spot Prawn Curry

Remove heads from the prawns then shell and devein keeping bodies intact. Use shells and heads to make a savory stock by simmering with aromatics for an hour. Strain and clarify, discarding waste.

Sauté chopped onion until golden then add Thai curry paste and equal parts prawn stock and coconut milk to the pan. Stir with a whisk until blended and creamy. Flavor to taste with fish sauce and coconut sugar.

Add chopped fresh vegetables and simmer until just tender. Introduce prawns and continue to cook gently for five more minutes, then ladle over steamed basmati rice. Top with chopped peanuts, orange segments, hot pepper flakes, or other garnishes of choice.

After five years yearning to revisit remote and evocative McMicking Inlet on the Pacific side of Campania Island, Jupiter arrives during fine weather. The inlet is a destination inconvenient for voyagers on a schedule.

Silent Dancer quiet in morning fog at McMicking Inlet

Pleasantly surprised to find another boat here, we anchor up and launch the tender to explore the rocky shoals and fine sand beaches nearby. We are hailed by the occupants of the sailboat sharing the anchorage and delighted by the offer of a fresh side of recently reeled chinook salmon.

Yes, thank you, and please come aboard Jupiter for wine this evening. The neighbors arrive with two Dungeness crabs so large they have to be wedged into our capacious cooler.

Crab Cryotherapy

Surprising sagas ensue, and we find ourselves amidst an accomplished team of enterprising chef-photo-foragers. Deep details are revealed of adventurous procurements and remarkable gastronomic preparations of critters of the land and creatures of the sea.

Merriment ends before sunset which is not until 22:00 hours, and our resourceful culinary friends depart into the blue-light of the evening to build a fire and roast some ferreted eatage on the beach photo-shooting for a certain hungry brand name.

The following morning we lower the crabs into a cauldron of heavily salted boiling water until pink and cooked. After chilling in an ice bath, we crack and pick our way through a Dungeness day, saving the tender knuckle meat for a future brunch.

Crab Stacks

Whip up a handmade mayonnaise starting with one egg yolk, a little salt, a tablespoon of vinegar, a teaspoon of dijon and a dash of paprika in a bowl. Blend these together, then drizzle in ¾ cup olive oil very slowly while whisking vigorously until a thick emulsion forms. Whisk in the juice of half a lemon.

Toast english muffins, then butter and load with crab knuckle meat. Sprinkle with furikake, then add a generous dollop of mayonnaise creating a small nest with the back of a spoon. Soft poach eggs, and nestle atop the crab stack. Garnish with whole seed mustard.

A new concept of farming micro-greens onboard Jupiter is being pioneered this summer. Seeds are soaked, sprouted and grown atop coconut fiber media in trays that support the plants above water. The roots make their way through the matting to drink from below.

Five species of Pacific salmon call British Columbia home for some part of their lifecycle, making the salmon runs here one of the most interesting migrations in the world.

Recent gustatory commentary inspires cook to try a dry-brine on our fine filet of King Salmon in a quest for the elusive crispy skin.

King Salmon with Mango Salsa

Slice portions from the side of salmon. Place atop a clean towel and sprinkle liberally with salt on all sides. Allow the salted fish to sit uncovered in the fridge for eight to twenty-four hours. Pat completely dry and coat very lightly with olive oil.

Heat a pan (not non-stick) over medium heat for at least two minutes then lay in the salmon, skin side down and leave unmoved until the skin crisps and releases easily from the pan. Turn and finish cooking with the flesh side down. Let rest for a few minutes before serving.

Chop a fresh mango, cucumber and red onion into small dice and toss in lime juice, adding red pepper flakes to taste. Top with cilantro micro-greens for garnish. Spoon the salsa over the fish, and serve alongside buttered baby potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts.

Pilot House Galley

Location: Who knows? $$$$$$$
Top Tags: Great Views · Lousy Service · Not Enough Staff · Do your own Dishes

This eatery is difficult to find, has seats for only four diners, does not take reservations and offers only a fixed menu. If you are lucky enough to find a seat be prepared to stand, help set the table, serve, and wash up the kitchen afterwards.

The food is remarkably creative, portions are generous but sometimes include ingredients that have been around for weeks. There is no wine list, but local vintages are served if you are lucky. Drinking water is seshy and always homemade.

The cook specializes in meats from the freezer and seafood fresh from the sea if available. She will give you side-eye for any number of suggestions, comments or complaints.

The price is totally outrageous and somehow based on the cost of diesel fuel.

Reservations: No
Delivery and Take Out: No
Walk-ins: No

Leg Quarters

A stop to shop in Sidney, BC is planned to provision Jupiter for her winter cruise.

Common Murres in formal winter attire

Whilst perusing offerings at a local grocery, duck leg quarters from Quebec catch chef’s eye. Robust winter beets are on offer, dark and dirty, brooching their fuscous greens. Exotic Floridian cara cara oranges with tiny labels proclaiming “I’m pink” promise juicy citrine sunshine to high latitude appetites. Battalions of scallions are upstanding on parade like green soldiers, banded brothers looking to desert. A roister of hibernal pea shoots, limbs entangled, are elbowing each other attempting to escape their packaged confinement.

All these find their way into the crew’s basket, and a plan takes root in chef’s fictive mind. Findings become fixings for vittles at Jupiter’s first cold and cimmerian anchorage.

A forgotten trove of curious pantry stores remain aboard Jupiter, abandoned after her summer sojourn: mandarin-infused white-balsamic from Salt Spring Island’s boho Saturday market nestles in the tray of condiments, dried porcinis hide within the “Food Pit”, and a broad-shouldered jar of chicken-bone broth loiters in a switched-off fridge. Leftover mashed potatoes from supper during the Time-of-No-Water beg to be delivered from their damaged reputation, tarnished by a bad night.

Winter Duck with Beet and Orange

Free the beets from the farm earth, then trim and wrap each individually in foil with a dab of butter and roast at 400° until knife tender. Cool and peel reserving liquid from each foil packet. Slice into wedges.

Wash, pat dry and season duck leg quarters with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Roast, covered, in a 350° oven for 90 minutes. Remove cover and increase the temperature to 400° for an additional 30 minutes to crisp the skin.

Meanwhile cast a few dried mushrooms into a pot of chicken stock and simmer until reduced by half. Remove mushrooms, chop finely, and return to the pan with a splash of sherry vinegar. Simmer, stirring occasionally until syrupy. Keep warm.

Whisk a couple of eggs in a bowl. Finely chop and add soldier scallions, and mashed potatoes. Stir to form a slurry then add flour just until mixture is thick enough to clump on a spoon. Pour some duck fat off the roasting legs into a hot skillet. Gently slide spoonfuls of potato mixture into the fat and spread this into cakes with a spatula. Cook over medium heat until crisp and golden, turning once.

Averill Creek Winery from Vancouver Island has the perfect accompaniment.

Whip up a vinaigrette with extra virgin olive oil and mandarin infused vinegar. Whisk in reserved beet juice. Remove pith and peel from oranges with a sharp knife, slicing between membranes to obtain wedged sections. Toss orange and beets in dressing and allow to sit for fifteen minutes. Immediately before serving release some pea sprouts and permit them to roust amongst the beets.

To serve, heap salad to one side and place a hot potato pancake on each plate. Ladle warm sauce onto the plate and top with a crispy leg quarter, drizzling over any remaining sauce. Serve with a local Pinot Noir.

Gulls on logs are locally referred to as The Canadian Navy.

Hail and Farewell

Day 10: Curve of Line

The fresh morning finds the Flotilla dispersed between three anchorages about a mile apart. Fortunately Captain Chris’ morning hail finds everyone hale and whole, and it is anchors up and boats behaving in the customary coordinated departure through the Bull Passage.

Rounding the southeastern point of Lasqueti Island we pass pretty Squitty Bay Marine Park which is choked today with visiting sailboats stuck in its gullet. We encounter an ample wind-driven beam sea and a tide setting us southward during this leg across the Georgia Strait. These forces are the fleets apology for a curiously incurvate path to Nanaimo.

Boats are now in the loom of Vancouver Island with all her busy seaports, mills and factories. The Flotilla is no longer alone and the sounds of Desolation are in our wake.

Dodd Narrows, the final timed rapid, lies close at hand, and north and southbound boats congregate like logging debris near the approaches. We soon reenter the Gulf Islands with moderating winds. A lovely afternoon carries the fleet southeastward through the washy archipelago.

We cross the ferry lanes and enter Otter Bay Marina, our destination. Boats are assigned berths at the docks, on fixed moorings or on anchor in the small harbor. Jupiter finds good holding outside the floats.

This evening a picnic is promised on the Flag Deck of Otter Bay overlooking the cove. Disparate participants in its creation are consolidated by the creative Jillian and Chuck who operate a small onsite café. The details are murky and in their hands, which proves to be a fine thing.

In a starring role is Riley Aitken – a noted fire chef from Alberta whose heart for supernal local ingredients beats wildly. “These tomatoes have NEVER been in a fridge, or a plane, or a truck even!”

Pairing with him perfectly is Brent Rowland, winemaker from Averill Creek Winery in the Cowichan Valley, whose hillsides are laid out in greying layers across the water from where we sit, mimicking a Japanese painting. His passion? Known varieties with a regional twist that let the grapes sing their own song. “Our wines are wild fermented, no enzymes, no sulfur, unfined and unfiltered – they’re JUST grapes!”

Also on deck is Aaron Campbell of Ohana Farms nearby on North Pender, almost close enough to toss a tasty cucamelon to Otter Bay. The produce for our dinner and flowers for the table are grown by his agronomic rock-star hands.

Two massive grills are hauled 30 feet up onto the deck. Sorcery is applied, ingredients given utmost respect. Family style service is rendered by local friends drawn in by the frisson of guests from Key Largo. The sun sets and the moon rises as our palates are tantalized tirelessly.

Day 11: The Borderline

A clear and cool morning has the fleet on its feet, concerned with the coming crossing of the maritime border into US waters.

These days it is all about Border Apps, in this case, CBPRoam, the US Customs and Border Protection App. Download the App. Populate the data fields with vessel registration, passenger credentials, Master’s name and destination. Answer the checkbox questions thus: YES, NO, NO, YES, NO, NO. Or is it NO, NO, YES, NO, YES, NO? Checking the wrong box might lead lead to trouble.

If all information is complete, the Master receives a number and a text or email, and is queued into the reviewing Officer’s government data server. Some boats quickly receive permission, some receive denial due to any number of communications afflictions or mistaken identities, and some answer a voice call from a spam-like number or are invited to a FaceTime interview including Luna, the Fleet Hound.

Eventually, all boats and all passengers, against all odds, are cleared into the country and receive a scant Approval Number like Jupiter’s 3032-202209-01-103-5401. Please, do NOT share this sequence!

Border plyometrics complete, the Flotilla forms into a disciplined line abreast, headings corrected for magnetic and other variations, speed synchronized to stop, and crews aligned for naval review; this to capture an iconic aerial drone photo.

Following the review, the fleet parades into Roche Harbor where slips are assigned. Several boats refuel and receive holding tank pumpouts.

The farewell dinner is a foody feast representing the Salish Sea Coast, but the highlight of the evening is the culmination of a trip-long challenge to create a centerpiece of found items. Each boat’s occupants, it turns out, have been secreting found bobs of moss, bits of twig, and relevant rocks since day one, and now they are assembled to glorious advantage interpreting the route, boat names, and even a sea otter.

The judge is flattered and bribed and tension builds as representatives from each vessel eloquently elucidate their installation.

Marshmallows are roasted over a desultory fire in the pit. Roche’s crepuscular Colors Ceremony calls our group out by name and a cheer drifts up with the smoke. Later, the centerpieces become spirit offerings to the gods as we recount the bounties of this improbable journey and the endogenous bonding that has resulted. The blaze reflects gratitude for friendships growing stronger and brighter.

Day 12: Roll Call

0730 Jupiter’s crew casts lines off boats departing on the final leg to Bellingham, wishing all well.

Chris broadcasts the final roll call of the 2022 Ocean Reef Yacht Club Flotilla:

Luna lives on Zaya and becomes the fleet’s best dog

Stella Luna, the lead boat until the border, returns to Sidney and Patos takes her place. Blue Pearl and Jupiter, the two local vessels, remain at Roche for future adventures.

Hail and Farewell
Hail, ye voyagers from Atlantic Keys
Exploring bold Pacific waters deep
Farewell now mariners of Salish Seas
Friendships made and trust to keep


There exists a realm within coastal British Columbia where Vancouver Island appears to have tried and failed to quit the mainland and escape into the wide Pacific. Here is found a complexity of islands and channels known as Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands.

A wilderness web of tidal passages invites exploration today just as it has for all of time.

These passages are often as deep as the surrounding terrain is high, and the ensorcelled waters are coerced by the moon to flow at remarkable speeds through manifold constrictions.

Travel by boat is governed by tidal floods and ebbs, timed for navigation and passage through rapids that are other-times impassable. Water heights and velocities are well documented, but careful attention needs be paid to schedules, narratives and advice.

Approach to Dent Island Lodge

Dent Island Lodge does not occupy Dent Island, but rather a small outcrop of the mainland, a short but impossible swim across Canoe Pass from the island. This five-star, five-thumbs-up fishing resort, dining destination and marina is recognized as one of the regions finest properties, attracting yachtsmen, fishermen, high fliers, and sailors from far latitudes.

Seaplanes and boats ferry the fortunate to and from Dent Island Lodge

The lodge occupies a prime position in a salt loch close-guarded by four rapids. The surrounding waters are restless, clear, cold and flush with fish and fowl, seal and sea lion.

Jupiter and her crew love the place and visit when near. The camaraderie on the docks encourages lingering. The excellent kitchen all but demands culinary indolence on the part of our onboard chef.

“When one arrives at an uncommon destination, one is merely a tourist. When one arrives by boat, one becomes part of the scene.”

Lady Edwina Mountbatten upon arriving in Malta aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, 1954
Jet boat in Canoe Pass

During our recent visit we sally forth in the lodge’s muscular, shallow-draft jet boat to become intimate with the rapids in full flood. We are awed by the immense hydraulic forces at hand – haystack upwellings doming from three hundred foot depths and eddies tightening into bottomless whirlpools rigorously returning water and oxygen to the seabed.

A smorgasbörd of fishy feed is tossed about like a cold low country boil – gustatory gluttony for courageous creatures who circle the turgid fringe.

Observing such opportune foraging, an appetite is formed. We opt for dinner at The Rapids Grill, close, but not too close on the rushing waters of Canoe Pass. Chef Tyrone serves up six exemplary courses showcasing pastoral, arable and angled harvests of local bounty enriched by flawless french inculcations and butter. He is deftly aided by Dawn, with a smile like the sunrise, and a marvelous memory for monikers.

All creatures, ourselves included, strive to satisfy their elemental desires. At Dent, wether on land or at sea, the pickings are rich, revelry ubiquitous and plain pleasures abundant. Wellbeing and contentment rise with every tide.

Isostatic Rebound

During 1794 George Vancouver, and his meticulous survey parties exploring Icy Strait, did not find Glacier Bay. It was filled with 4000 vertical feet of ice.

Leading edge of the Lamplugh tidewater glacier.

Less than a century later, In 1879 John Muir entered and “discovered” Glacier Bay, describing a geology melting into the geography we might recognize today.

Over 200 years the immense trunk glacier and most of the feeding glaciers were wasted at their bases by the warmer seawater and at their heights by the atmosphere.

A section of Reid Glacier’s leading edge, recently calved and exposing blue dense ice

Not to be outdone by sea-level, in this region the land is rising, fast.

Relieved of the great weight of the rapidly melting ice, its mantle is lifting out of the underlying magma like a river barge unloaded of its cargo. Simultaneously the earth’s crust is decompressing like an unburdened memory-foam mattress. In Glacier Bay the uplift is causing land rise of almost an inch per year.

This is geologic Isostatic Rebound.

Entering Glacier Bay National Park on a five-day cruising permit, Jupiter travels north and backwards in time to a land that is scraped clean and newly exposed.

At its southern entrance Glacier Bay has a similar prospect to the rest of Southeast Alaska, but traveling up bay you finally reach a glacial bulkhead in its dirty impermanence where recent recession of glaciers leaves a raw and poor landscape gradually and sparsely populated by indigenous flora and fauna.

Relieved of its icy burden, the land receives a succession of vegetative species beginning with mosses and lichens. Pioneer plants such as fireweed and paintbrushes are followed by small shrubs, alders and cottonwoods. After 100-200 years coniferous forests will again prevail.

Jupiter, anchored in the loom of Reid Glacier, enjoyed a pleasant afternoon and evening, until the glacier had other ideas.

Bergie Bit aboard, nothing deters Jupiter’s natators from 34º water.

Ambient temperature drops into the 40’s, sea temperature into the 30’s near ice. The unfamiliar scope of Glacier Bay confounds a sapient escapade.

Alice & Ky in front of the Reid Glacier whose upper surface is covered with cryoconite.

Jupiter’s crew logs more bears, more birds, more sea otters, sea lions, dolphin, whales, wolves, and freshly peeled rock in one week, than during any previous month of cruising.

We anchor each afternoon in one of the few remote coves or bays shallow enough and protected enough to allow a peaceful night.

Exploration by Jupiter, the mothership, is well in this immensity of ice and water, but close examination must be by tender or kayak.

A place this vast and empyrean, encompasses the curious and the observable. We are removed from the carping of societal life, and savor our own psychical isostatic rebound.

Iceberg Salad

Divide half heads of iceberg lettuce into three wedges for each plate. Fry pancetta in a dry skillet and remove to crisp as it cools. Sauté finely sliced shallot in the rendered fat until golden brown.

Organize wedges like mountain peaks, slotting the pancetta between. Create lateral moraines of sliced cherry tomatoes and wedges of avocado. Rain smoked blue cheese over the summits. Drizzle with a creamy dressing then shower shallots across the whole range.

Gloomy Knob was formed on the ocean floor at the tropical equator, and through plate tectonics has traveled, like us, northwest to this latitude where it was pushed above sea level then scoured and gouged by flowing glaciers.

The Laundry

Jupiter is anchored up in Mosquito Cove at the Inian Islands, at the edge of the Pacific where a great tidal exchange feeds the food chain. We are outside the Inside Passage and inside the protection of an archipelago from the outside waves and weather from Cross Sound. Inside out and crossed out. Double crossed.

After arriving in the aerial manner daughter Alice and her boyfriend, Ky, don Alaska Sneakers, footwear for exploring ashore.

Jupiter is hooked bordering long lashings of kelp with fish rising, gulls soaring, sea otters flashing furry faces and sea lions slapping and savaging salmon with a violence warning Jupiter’s shipmates to keep their distance.

Kelp is our friend – until it is not. This healthy bed of ribbon and bull kelp lies in the narrows connecting our anchorage to The Hobbit Hole

Nearby our quiet cove roils a restless reckoning of seawater pouring in and out of SE Alaska. Here is the pescatarian plaza where native seiners fish backwards using currents to propel the catch into the net rather than the net into the catch. This place of agitation is known as The Laundry.

A Pigeon Guillemot on the wing and our review of Mosquito anchorage on Active Captain, a source of mariner opinions on useful locations.

Wily King Worries

Oh! What a wily King am I
On the salmon scale of four I’m a five
Carefree at sea, I’ve gotten so fat
Eating krill, herring, and fish-fingers like that
I’m strong, in good shape, agile and sleek
In time to swim home to my freshwater creek
I feel a strong urge to hang out with the misters
To leap up some rocks and spawn with my sisters
I know the way back and I’m all set to go
Through the Laundry’s big tide and really rough flow
But sea lions are waiting, nets too, I am told
I might get chewed up, or smoked and served cold

Oceanic Odes ~ Salmon Rush-die

White Wily King with Radishes and Peas

The flesh of about one in twenty King salmon is white due to genetic anomalies. The meat is mild, nutty, delicious.

Coat salmon lightly in olive oil. Season and grill. Meanwhile sauté radishes until golden in generous butter. Add a small amount of water, miso paste, an anchovy and mustard and stir until a smooth sauce forms and the peas are just tender. Top with salmon.

White King Salmon with Radishes, Peas and Golden Mashed Potatoes

The Inian Islands Cathedral

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