Voyages North

10 April 2020 | Posted in Seattle
30 August 2019 | Posted at Port MCNeill
13 August 2019 | Posted at Prince Rupert
03 August 2019 | Posted at Ketchikan
02 August 2019 | posted in Metlakatla AK
22 July 2019 | Posted at Klawock/Craig
09 July 2019 | Posted at Juneau
09 July 2019 | Posted at Juneau
22 June 2019 | posted at Ketchikan
16 June 2019 | Posted at Prince Rupert

Win a book and coveted voyaging advice at the Center for Wooden Boats Auction!

11 March 2021
Elsie Hulsizer
At CWB auction, you'll have a chance to bid on two packages that will help you plan your voyage to either the west coast of Vancouver Island or SE Alaska.

When: Online Silent Auction: March 15 - 20 (bidding begins 8am March 15, closes 10pm March 20

Livestream Party: March 20, 6 - 7:30pm
RSVP (no charge) to attend the March 20 auction at
You don't need to be a member of CWB to join the auction. All are welcome!

Steve and I have taken many trips to both the West Coast of Vancouver Island and SE Alaska, two of the most challenging cruising destinations in the northwest. And as the author of two well-respected marine books and many articles I have garnered a reputation as an expert. As a mechanical engineer with years of experience in the marine industry, Steve can advise on almost any mechanical difficulty. Often Steve and I are asked whether we'd be willing to offer consultations for planning a trip to Vancouver Island and SE Alaska. We like to get out our stacks of charts, guides, and tide tables, lay out a chart and start answering questions. But this year we're donating our consultation time for a good cause -- to raise funds for the Center for Wooden Boats.

Here's what we're offering:

1. A signed copy of Glaciers, Bears and Totems: Sailing in search of the Real Southeast Alaska.
"..a captivating tale of adventure and discovery that will be enjoyed with or without a sailboat."--Northwest Yachting
Cover GBT

Glaciers, Bears and Totems will be accompanied by six hours of consultation for planning your cruise to SE Alaska. Tailored for your special needs and interests, this consultation will take place at a mutually agreed upon place and time. Valued at $300. We'll help you plan your trip for the places of most interest to you.

A voyage to Alaska can take a whole summer and requires many decisions. The most common mistake Alaska-bound boaters make is thinking they can just head north to see what there is to see. Boaters who do that often miss the best part - and sometimes get in trouble. We can discuss: How to prepare your boat and yourself for the trip. The spare parts you need to bring. The best route up the inside of Vancouver Island. How to avoid rough water off Cape Caution. Is it worth getting a permit to go to Glacier Bay or should we just see the glaciers in Tracy Arm. Where and how to have people join your voyage along the way. Where to provision and how to stay in communication with people back home. And many more important questions. Knowing the answers can make a difference between a successful trip and sometimes a dangerous one.

2. A signed copy of Voyages to Windward: Sailing Adventures on Vancouver Island
"--To put this book in with the usual guides is to compare a Herreshoff skiff to a plywood dinghy."
--Sitka Daily Sentinel and KTOO radio, Juneau
VTW cover

Voyages to Windward will be accompanied by three hours of consultation tailored to your needs at a mutually agreed upon date and place for planning your cruise to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Valued at $170.

The West Coast of Vancouver Island may be closer and the distance shorter, but a cruise there still requires decisions. To new boaters it can be the more terrifying of the two trips. Careful planning, provisioning and outfitting your boat are all critical to a successful trip. Wind, waves, fog and rocks are the coast's greatest challenges. We can discuss the critical issues to planning a west coast trip. "What's the best month to go? How can I avoid gale force winds? What's the best way to navigate through the fog? Where can we provision? How much anchor chain do I need? Is it okay to visit Native villages? Tackling these issues puts you in position to experience good sailing winds, spectacular anchorages, picturesque villages, friendly residents and fascinating history.

Not planning on cruising to either the West Coast of Vancouver Island or SE Alaska? Attend the auction anyway. There are plenty of other items to bid on and it's going to be fun. One of the highlights will be a virtual tour of CWB's campus. It's so realistic, you'll think you're there.

If the borders close completely for the summer and you can't go the the west coast of Vancouver Island and don't want to go outside to Alaska, the consultation is good for next year too.

Why support the Center for Wooden Boats during a pandemic? CWB is about the future. It's about empowering youth through teaching traditional maritime skills and about making the joy of being on the water available to all without economic or cultural barriers. You too can partake in that joy. Come down to CWB for a free one-hour row in a traditional peapod boat. Click here for free pograms.

Click here for Elsie's website with more information about her books and magazine articles.

"Destination: Home" article published in 48 North!

07 January 2021
Elsie Hulsizer
Photo: A scene in the town of Home, Carr Inlet, South Puget Sound.

"From the town's peaceful appearance, I never would have guessed that Home had once been known as a festering nest of poisonous anarchists."

The story of this town reminded me that riots, anarchic organizations, and disparate view points, are not new to our time.

To read the full article go

A Tale of Four Totem Poles

10 April 2020 | Posted in Seattle
Elsie Hulsizer
Photo: Totem poles in Burke Museum. Pole on right is a model of Chief Skulka pole from Howkan Alaska

In October, Steve and I were at the University of Washington's new Burke Museum where I saw the small totem pole in the photo above. From its bold uncluttered lines, I recognized it as a Haida pole. Its design looked familiar, yet I was sure I'd never seen it before. The sign next to it said that the pole was carved in about 1900 and was a model of a full-sized pole called the Chief Skulka Pole, made in the 1800s for Chief Skulka of Howkan, Alaska. Click here to see the copyrighted photo from Alaska State Library digital archives.

As I studied the model pole and the photo of the original, I realized why it was familiar I had seen two other full-sized copies of the same pole in the Hydaburg Totem Park on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska: one that had been carved during the Great Depression and a second, carved to replace the first in 2012.

2 replicas of the Skulka Pole
Photo: Two replicas of Skulka Pole at Hydaburg Totem Park
Left: Depression era pole 2011 photo
Right: Replacement pole 2013 photo

Like SE Alaska's other five totem parks, Hydaburg's park was established during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the US Forest Service. The purpose of the parks was to provide work for unemployed Natives and to establish tourist attractions in depressed areas of Alaska. Native workers went to deserted villages and brought back old poles that they either repaired or replicated. Howkan was one of three former Haida village sites whose poles had been used in the Hydaburg Totem Park. Steve and I had visited the Howkan site just last summer (click here to see blog on Howkan) There we had wandered in awe through majestic spruce trees and viewed the village's last remaining totem pole, covered by moss and young trees.

The two poles in the Hydaburg Park had intrigued me. On their tops sat two small carved Haida watchmen, figures placed on Haida poles to warn residents of danger. On the pole carved during the Great Depression, the watchmen were painted pink as if nude, and rather than wearing traditional conical Haida hats, they wore Lincoln-style top hats. Below the watchmen an American-style (realistic) eagle sat on the head of a white man dressed in a naval uniform. I remembered that nudity was sometimes used in ridicule poles, erected to shame someone for an unresolved offense and I wondered if the pole was a ridicule pole.

Now that I knew that the original pole had belonged to Chief Skulka of Howkan, I was able to find an article, Totem Poles: Heraldic Columns of the Northwest Coast, by Robin K. Wright of the University of Washington that lists several different explanations for the pole, suggested by different researchers: (1) that the white man on the pole was an American sea captain who had stolen two children of Skulka's clan while their mother was collecting salmon eggs; (2) that the white man was the Russian uncle of Skulka's wife, and the first white man seen by the family, an event worthy of memorializing on a pole, and; (3) that the white man was a Russian and was put on the pole because Russians took the land away from the Indians and did not pay them. The eagle stood on the Russian's head to hold him down until the land is paid for.

Wright notes that whether the white man represents an American or a Russian, he probably was put on this pole as a "ridicule" figure proclaiming that a debt had not been paid, either for the stolen children or the stolen land.

My hunch had been right; the pole was a ridicule pole. Figuring that out gave me new appreciation for Seattle's Burke Museum and reminded me of the ongoing connection between Seattle and Alaska.

Both the border between Washington State and Canada and Canada and Alaska are closed. To take a virtual trip and to learn more about SE Alaska's totem parks including Hydaburg's, read Glaciers, Bears and Totems: Sailing in Search of the Real Southeast Alaska.
or buy through your local bookstore.
Vessel Name: Osprey
Vessel Make/Model: Annapolis 44 sloop
Hailing Port: Seattle
Crew: Steve and Elsie Hulsizer (author of Glaciers, Bears and Totems and Voyages to Windward)
Elsie and Steve Hulsizer have sailed northwest waters since arriving in Seattle via sailboat from Boston in 1979. [...]
2019 Seattle to SE Alaska 2018 San Juan Islands to Great Bear Rainforest 2017: local cruising including South Puget Sound and San Juan Islands 2016:north up West Coast VI, across QC Sound to central BC coast 2015: trip to SE Alaska 2014: Seymour and Belize Inlets through Nakwakto Rapids 2013: [...]
Osprey's Photos - Main
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