The Law Family’s Adventure Up Alaska’s Inside Passage
One of my favorite quotes, in fact it is part of my email signature, is written by Mark Twain. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” So, in the spirit of this quote by Mr. Twain, we are doing just that. This May (Lord Willing) the whole family (triplets included) will be boating from Anacortes, Washington all the way to Haines, Alaska. From there a smaller group will cross the Gulf of Alaska to Whittier. This is really the biggest adventure we have taken, except for maybe raising children that include triplet boys. But, since we will be away from the home office for a couple of months, I wanted to share the story and let you know that you will be in the good hands of the rest of the Sundog Media team while we travel.
Last summer, after the birth of our triplets, we did our best to make our 22′ C-Dory work for all 7 of us ~ with 3 johnny jumpers bouncing in the cockpit and bodies stacked on top of each other at night. We decided it was time to start looking for a larger boat if we intended to continue boating as a family.
Well, this last Christmas on our trip to show the year old triplets off to our families, Cathy and I fell in love with a beautiful 1974 boat that was for sale in Anacortes, Washington, a 36′ Grand Banks Classic (PHOTOS). Now, amazingly, the boat (named SUNDOG of course) belongs to us. Or at least, we get to make monthly payments toward full ownership. My long time dream to boat the Inside Passage has been fueled by books like:
– Bijaboji: North to Alaska by Oar – By Betty Lowman Carey –
– The Curve of Time: – By M. Wylie Blanchet –
and many more. It feels like it is time to tear our minds out of the pages of these great adventures written by others and create our own memories and experiences exploring God’s amazing creation.
One of my goals for this year was to focus on family so this trip is a wonderful opportunity to forge lasting memories and share life in a deeper way than is often possible when bound by our typical schedules and familiar surroundings.
Our plan starts with my oldest son, Caleb (10), and I heading South mid April to get the boat ready. Remember, the boat is about the same age as I am ~ it’s a 1974 Classic ~ so the to-do list to ensure it’s in ship shape and able to travel all the way to Alaska with 3 infants is about a mile long. We will have a little over 2 weeks to get the bulk of things complete. Then the rest of the Sundog Crew will arrive, flying down with our Alaskan Granny to help during the flight with the 3 active toddlers. We will continue to pack, organize, mechanic, and sort safety items as well as run through all the details and take a few sea trials and overnights to fully confirm that all systems are go for the big trip North. After that, some additional family members will inaugurate the first leg of the trip with us by boating across to Friday Harbor where we will spend a few days reviewing our plans and have our “go, no go” moment before heading North. In Johnny Horton famous words, “North to Alaska, they’re goin’ North, the rush is on.”
From Friday Harbor, we will work our way some 900-1000 miles to Haines, Alaska through some of the most beautiful country in the world; stopping each night in remote bays or small town and villages along the way. Our tentative plan is to arrive in Haines somewhere around the middle to last week of June. From there, Cathy and the 4 youngest children will head home by car and Caleb and I will cross the Gulf of Alaska and boat into Whittier with some friends that, well, we like to say “Are Not Quite Right In The Head”. (Careful, it’s contagious!) We anticipate the total trip will be 1500-1800 miles.
We are very excited about this trip as well as having a boat with enough beds for our whole family and 2 bathrooms (heads – for you nautical types). An added bonus, we were able to lease one of Whittier’s Cliffside Marina slips for 2 years, 1 year at a time, from a wonderful couple as well.
As you can imagine, I am not only excited about this trip but also fairly intimidated by some of the larger open ocean crossings required, especially considering the learning curve to both maintain and captain a vessel that is almost 30,000 lbs (our C-Dory fully loaded is about 1/10 that.) Although I would love to say “no problem,” I have to admit that I have the number of a very qualified boat captain who, if after our sea trials I determine I am not up for the task, I won’t be shy about hiring to help. 🙂 What really makes this trip challenging is not the distance or the boat. After all, in Bijaboji ,the gal rowed the entire way to Haines in a 13′ dugout canoe. What really makes this trip a challenge for me is the fact that we will have 3 toddlers on board and be fairly green with the boat. So we will be spending a considerable amount of time making sure the boat is ship shape and all the safety items, like the inflatable and such, are in order. However, what makes this trip the most challenging is also what makes it the most rich and rewarding. Will there ever be an easy time to share adventures when you have triplets? To quote a close friend, “If you don’t go, you don’t know”. He also says “Don’t listen to the weather forecast, it just makes you nervous.” I think I will ignore this one.
We are putting together a website to share a little about the trip SundogAdventures.com (Imagine that!) As much as possible we hope to make updates with both photos and log journals. And, of course, we are doing everything we can to make sure that the rest of our Sundog Media team has all they need to support each customer that we are currently assisting so that all your needs are met. Thank you for the opportunity to share about our upcoming adventure. We ask for your prayer for sun, safety and lots of big fish, shrimp and crabs. 🙂 Thank you ~ each and everyone one of our customers that bring us work and our great Sundog Media team members that make it possible for us take confidently set sail on this adventure.
Cheers from the Sundog Crew
Joe, Cathy, Caleb, Joshua, Daniel, Gabriel & Josiah