Wednesday, May 30, 2012

4. Immerging Coincidences Continue

At this time in my research I become aware of immerging coincidences  of my own maritime history with these explorers:

1. The coastal waters between Destruction Island and the Quillayute River of La Push, Washington--
Joyce, my crew and I were intrigued with this section of the coast and took time from our steadfast route to motor in close to Destruction Island and take photos  and to slowly meander around its outer edge, carefully avoiding the shoal on the western point. Just north of here is where the 3 Ships converge, a place where Joyce and I both thought to have magical and mystical qualities. The Quillayute Indians consider this region/islands an ancient ancestral  and sacred area. It is undoubtedly that. It is easy for me to imagine divine intervention had a hand in arranging the ship’s interception taking place. It was important for all the Captains to resolve their concerns. Just as Joyce and I had to do, before we could precede up the coast and enter the Strait. A storm held us in the port of La Push on the Quillayute River an extra day, so we could savor this exceptional corner of the world.[ blog June 2011]
Hira near Destruction Island

2. My eyes and ears perked up upon reading about the Lady Washington. I remember seeing her( a replica) for the first time. She and the Hawaiian Chieftain were docked in the small town of Rainier, Oregon in 2009. I knew I had to sail on her and that fall I crewed on the Lady Washington, Washington State’s Official Tall Ship,  taking her from Port Townsend, out the Straits of Juan de Fuca and south along the coast to her berth in Gray’s Harbor, Washington. We rounded  Cape Flattery at 0230hrs as Kyle, a young,  first mate gave me permission to take the helm. The skies were clear, the stars proliferate, and I remember feeling that I had been at the helm many times sailing a tall ship somewhere on an open ocean.

HIra at helm of the Lady Washington 2009
See posting in blog 2009.

We also, ran into the Lady Washington and her consort ship the Hawaiian Chieftain last summer in Port Ludlow, as Shatoosh was making her way south from Admiralty Inlet, also “keeping the continental shore to Starboard.” see blog posting June 2011
Port Ludlow

3. In 1986, I was part of a charter who explored the Queen Charlotte Islands on board  the 71 ft Ketch, the Darwin Sound. This was a trip that I thoroughly enjoyed as we cruised through numerous Haida Indian villages with their sacred and unique burial totems, bathed in numerous hot springs and dined well on boat that was previously owned by the famous, “Galloping Gourmet“, Graham Kerr. The well known Naturalist on board was Hilary Stewart, author of her awarding winning book, Cedar, which was icing on the cake for me.
Darwin Sound

4. As a Lt. Colonel in the US Army, I had received orders to transfer from Hawaii to Washington. It was in July 1982, when I commanded my SS Sabra, a Sparkman Stephens designed, Swan 36, from Hawaii to Washington state and entered that infamous Strait of Juan de Fuca on 27 July 1982 0942 hrs. Just as the sailing instructions state, we were shrouded in a thick wall of fog stretching from Cape Flattery to Vancouver Island.  On foggy days, it is easy to understand how a ship sailing this coastline could, indeed miss the 12 nm entrance. My Loran, beeped, after 21 days at sea, informing us we were abeam and 2 nm offshore of Cape Flattery. We could barely see the bow of our boat. Yet, we confidently and steadfastly, held our course, and it took another 30 minutes of motoring to penetrate the windless, fog bank and emerge north and west of Neah Bay into bright blues skies and waters, where the majestic snow capped Olympic Mountains peaked far above the dark green forests of Douglas Fir. It was a sight to behold and is so clear in my mind’s eye today, some 30 years later. See blog Mar2012.
Fog at Strait of Juan de Fuca
Google Images

Loran Way Point at Strait.

I post this information to share how my personal maritime record, while small in comparison, does in fact, dove-tail with the northwest and transpacific travels of  Captains Cook, Vancouver, Gray and Lt. Puget. My ancestors have a greater competitive edge with  18 of my Dutch and French Huguenot- 9th great grand parents, who sailed the oceans of the world as early as 1623 to settle Dutch colonies in Nieuw  Amsterdam (Manhattan, New York),the Caribbean and South America. My Scottish ancestors rounded the horn, sailed to the Sandwich Islands, crossed the Columbia River bar and became the first coal-miners on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, the first settlers in newly formed state of Wisconsin, via the Atlantic, the Hudson, the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes and others had sailed the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Arabian Sea landing in numerous ports of call in India, Mesopotamia and Egypt.

For 300 years my family lineages have been involved in Atlantic and Pacific maritime crossings: Some family names include de Forest, du Trieux, de la Montagne, Andriessen Bradt, de Hooges, Van Schoonhoven, Swartwout, Vermilyea, Van Pelt, Van Huyse, Broucard, Hendershot, Ozmun, Reid, Gilmour, Hewitt and  Dunsmuir.

Exploring and sailing is in both, my maternal and paternal blood lines and I feel that nautical bloodline course through my veins when I read about all their great adventures or step foot aboard a vessel. It is for this reason, I love to slip the dock lines from Shatoosh’s cleats and replicate the adventures of these great men and their ships. These knowingly planned and sometimes spontaneous, unknown replications are the “meat and potatoes” of my blog, which, after being birthed in 2008, has a worldwide following. I am always amazed that this has happened.