Worlds Without End

When we step aboard Jupiter in spring, we embrace a peripatetic existence known to seafarers and nomads that describes a world without a beginning or an end. As we embark on our seventh year on this coast, many places and ports are known to us, and life persists within them while we are absent. On arrival we commune and briefly share a world, earning the riches of every interaction for our restless selves.


Jupiter is bedecked with new carpet in Vancouver, and the crew takes the opportunity to procure exceptional meats at Market Meats, and produce at the Granville Island Market. Errands in this littoral city are often most efficiently accomplished by ferry.

Passages + Anchorages

A week at sea leads us northwest in fair weather and foul. Favored and unfamiliar anchorages circumscribe nights on anchor.

Ensuing days reveal wildscapes and wildlife, worlds within our world that we are privileged to glimpse.

Lagoon Cove

A constitutive stop at tiny Lagoon Cove is a compelling component of each trip north. Kelly and Dan know to expect Jupiter when their poppies begin to bloom.

Lagoon Cove offers secure moorage, camaraderie and 50 amp power combining 30 amp Crab and Prawn electrical circuits.

Port McNeill

Jupiter is moored up at Port McNeill—about 250 sea miles and four weeks from launch.

The town lies near the bitter end of Vancouver Island, and although remote, McNeill offers the cruising yacht a convenient stop between the populous southern precincts of British Columbia and the immense archipelagic outland covering another 350 wild miles to the Alaskan border.

Water at the floats is deeper than it appears.

Port McNeill offers two well-managed marinas, fuel, groceries, mechanical services, pubs, a food truck and a large, inclusive dumpster welcoming all trash that has been fermenting aboard Jupiter during the past weeks.

The town is full of friendly faces and wry philosophers eager to engage with seafarers.

Fire Damages One of Two World’s Largest Burls

Port McNeill, an historical logging town, boasts possession of the World’s Largest Burl. Although the legendary artifact weighs over 20 tons, is mentioned within every tourist guidebook and located on every map, it is strangely difficult to find.

A burl develops on tree roots, trunks or branches as a result of excessive and uneven cell division caused by injury or infection below the bark.

Port McNeill’s burl was salvaged from a 525 year old Sitka Spruce found by Vancouver Island loggers and donated by Western Forest Products to the town in 2005.

Last year Jupiter’s crew located and photographed the famous burl displayed in a shed behind the auto parts store near the town sports park. In a disturbing coincidence, during the still dark hours of the following morning, the crew was awakened by sirens and witnessed smoke, firefighters and police at the now blazing burl.

Two well-known town teens were caught on camera. It was reported that they poured gasoline into the hollow top and ignited the accelerant.

The iconic burl was badly charred, gutted and irreversibly damaged.

Returning to the scene this week, we find the blistered burl shackled to its gravel lot by barricades and survey tape. Eye-roll-rumors now suggest the boys were hauling apple juice, not gasoline, in their plastic jug.

When asked about the catastrophe, Will, a marina wharfinger acknowledges the loss but notes that Port McNeill has a second – even larger – World’s Largest Burl stored “just up the road.”

One month into the voyage, Jupiter’s crew reflects on the freedoms conferred on mariners within the northwestern coastal Pacific seas. Here is a wilderness of astounding beauty, broken like dropped glass, into jagged shards of rocks and islands, adjoined by coursing webs of deepwater passages and pocked with welcoming ports, outstations and villages.


  1. Heather says:

    Thank you for the poppy tip! I love following you along. The last descriptive paragraph and photo are breathtakingly beautiful.

  2. Lee Tolley says:

    Didn’t realize you all have been in cold North for almost a month. Pat & I love following your adventures. We feel a little like we are with you but without the cold weather. Look forward to seeing you all in Nashville this November.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *