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Homing in on Winter

​It feels almost the right amount of time to reflect on our voyage of circumnavigating Vancouver Island; one day of reflection for each day underway. Orion returned to Seattle and was tied up at the dock thirty-seven nights ago, line two, then four, followed by one and three. Although being home is usually a comforting feeling, this felt unfamiliar for everyone onboard. Shilshole is a great marina, but it’s no Telegraph Cove where we watched orcas from lawn chairs next to the boat, no Blind Channel, where we stood on the stern and scanned for grizzly bears atsunrise and sunset, and definitely no Toba Inlet, with a backdrop of glaciers, mountains, and beautiful light blue water. When looking back on the last month, each of us transitioning back to normal land lives, it really brings out the magnitude of the journey we embarked on and just how long our trip really was. We saw dates in three different months, T-Rex turned twenty-nine again, traversed hundreds of miles, left during the sunny season and came back to the rainy season.

​Shortly after returning to Seattle, we brought the boat to Port Townsend and started the annual haul out. Between the sanding, varnishing, and painting projects, we stayed busy for close to three weeks and really enjoyed our time in Port Townsend. For the most part, the weather cooperated with our schedule and it’s always a good time working with the Shipwright’s Co-Op crew. E-Rob got to see the northern lights, and Captain Kevin and T-Rex surfed up a storm at the mouth of the Elwha River. I can’t forget to mention the best muffins in the world at the Marina Bakery, which we taste-tested every day.

​Our first voyage in search of the whale in a haystack is over, which coincides with the conclusion of another successful season for Deep Green Wilderness. The 2017 sailing season brought over a hundred students on board who helped sailed the boat all over the Salish Sea; into the sheltered bays of Sucia Island, through swells in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, in between the narrow shorelines of Hole-in-the-Wall passage, and over the American-Canadian border. The crew and staff at Deep Green Wilderness will be working this winter on film related tasks, but much of the winter months will also be devoted to preparing for another sailing season with students onboard. Whether it is maintaining rigorous up to date curriculum, visiting schools and meeting students who may join us on a voyage, or adding a new coat of deck oil, the staff will be busy. Stay up to date on the making of our film about North Pacific right whales, events and outreach programs we will be presenting at, or for the announcement of our 2018 voyage dates.Captain Kevin has been a busy bee updating our social media pages and website. Stay tuned!

​When looking at maps of the Salish Sea, photos from Swiftsure Bank, or interviews from Telegraph Cove, it’s hard to not get sentimental about the voyage. We have all appreciated the trip more and more since returning and it’s hard to not start planning the next adventure. When thinking about the times I thought and dreamt most about being home in Seattle- daily cleaning of the boat, shivering under seven layers, or serving up another bowl of oatmeal- it all seems irrelevant now. The trip was a lot of work and at the time, the chores may have seemed a bit tedious and the rain never-ending, but I also haven’t seen a single whale in the last 37 days.

Tally Update 8/25/17-10/4/17​​​​

Humpbacks: 258​​​​​​

Sea Otter: 245

Pacific White Sided dolphins: 161

Resident orcas: 73

Dall’s Porpoise: 62

Black bear: 39

Transient orcas: 19

Harbor Porpoise: 12

Grizzly bear: 3

Minke: 1

Elephant Seal:1

Tally Update 10/5/17-11/9/17

Whales: 0

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