Thursday, September 15, 2011


It’s a record! My husband and I have spent 111 days together on our trawler, INTREPID, on our virgin voyage to Alaska! Yesterday we returned to our slip in Anacortes, Washington, relieved to tell our friends and relatives that we had a problem-free trip. Our sainted Ford-Lehman 135 performed perfectly, the generator and electrical systems amped correctly, our head (toilet) worked flawlessly, and our new Dickinson stove kept us toasty warm.

We traveled 3,000 miles in 111 days at an average speed of 7.5 knots which is about 8 miles an hour. Yes, we’re talking slow…a chance to take in scenery, for sure, some of the most beautiful terrain in the world. We watched glaciers calving, got up close and personal to black and brown bears as well as humpback whales, puffins and sea otters. And except for the times we moored in Ketchikan, Sitka, Petersburg, Wrangell, Meyers Chuck and Elfin Cove, we anchored, usually all by ourselves in the most isolated places on earth. Heaven help us if we encountered a serious boat problem or health issue…and in some places we anchored, not even the Coast Guard could hear our call for help.

In the dark of night, anchor down, when we’re floating alone in our little boat, we pretend that this adventure is no big deal. But it is, really. We give each other courage with a mixture of humor, logic and positive attitude. I suppose it’s like climbing Mt. Everest or trekking the Cascade Crest trail. We do it with a spirit of adventure as well as a love of nature. Because it’s there, we have to experience it.

But it has to be a pair. To problem-solve; to anguish over issues; to share amazing takes two of us. That’s the romance in the adventure, the deepening of a relationship that comes from facing new challenges together. In fact, an experience like this one, this cruise to Alaska and back, a trip we’ve been preparing for (and putting off) for years, is truly romantic in the spiritual sense. As a couple, we accomplished this feat together and we could not imagine being successful handling the task either alone or with any other person. That says something.

Are we ready to close up INTREPID and head for our house in California? Yes. Are we yearning for bigger spaces to roam and another kind of adventure to seek? Sure. But are we proud of ourselves for working together to make this cruise a success? Absolutely!

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Sheila Tenold said...

Wow, Rolynn, what an amazing journey! There certainly has to be a great book residing within those 111 days on board the INTREPID. I hope you write that story to share with all the world.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thank you, Sheila. I'm on page 28 of a suspense novel that Petersburg, Alaska, inspired me to write. Yahoo!

Mona Risk said...

Rolynn, chapeau bas as they say in French--I pull my hat to you. When my husband had his boat we cruised the Intercoastal back and forth, and never had the guts to go to open sea on our own, and we never cruised at night. You should write the story of this trip. I hope you kept a journal.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks for thinking I'm gutsy, Mona, but this girl won't cruise at night, either! Fortunately, we were exposed to the open seas in only two long hauls over the 111 days. I'm with seas are scary! I'll never 'do' the West Coast. Horror stories about the Oregon coast, in particular, would curl your toenails! And yes, I did keep a journal.

Josie said...

I am in awe of your adventures. So many people talk about doing what you did, but never actually do it.
Hurray for you and your husband!