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

Bainbridge Island Wind Harp

16 May 2021
Elsie Hulsizer
March 27, 2021

Photo: The wind harp building on Bainbridge Island above Agate Pass. The harp itself is missing.

We were sailing north through Agate Pass, Osprey's sails hanging limply in the light breeze. Our engine, hobbled by a broken alternator, pushed us slowly ahead against an incoming tide. But we weren't in a rush; the sun bouncing off the water warmed our faces and we had all day to get home. I grabbed the binoculars and scanned the cliffside on Bainbridge Island to the east, looking for the small triangular building that housed a giant wind harp. As the building came into view, I saw that the metal harp, which had once been visibly attached to the building, was missing.

I had first learned of the wind harp in the early 2000's from the 1997 book Gunkholing in South Puget Sound by Jo Bailey and Carl Nyberg. Bailey and Nyberg noted the harp was 0.25 mi south of the Agate Pass Bridge. I got in the habit of searching for it as we approached the bridge. Each time I looked, it became more difficult to see the small building among the growing trees. Then one year I couldn't find it at all. Concluding it had either been taken down or hidden by new tree growth we stopped searching until this winter when I spotted the building among a swath of newly-felled trees.

A few days after that trip through Agate Pass, I pulled Gunkholing in South Puget Sound off my bookshelf. Looking through it, I marveled at its treasure trove of information. For example, it noted that around the corner to the east from the Agate Pass bridge, is a large glacial erratic rock with a petroglyph carved on its side. I knew of the petroglyph from reading rock art books but had not been able to learn its exact location. I now plan to look for it the next time I'm in the area at low tide.

Seeing the harp building got me thinking of Jo Bailey, who died in 2017 at 89. As women authors of sailing books, Jo and I had often met at seminars and boat shows. Once she told me that she felt out of place with all the adventurous women sailors. She was too scared to sail in the ocean. But I argued that her book, which gave many new sailors the confidence to brave Puget Sound, was a sailing accomplishment in itself.

I recall a conversation Steve and I had with one of Jo Bailey's sons before she died. Her son described her dementia and the task of taking her to the local swimming pool. Dealing with her dementia had frustrated him but seeing her childlike delight in being in the water made up for the frustration. I thought at first that Bailey's simple delight with the water was solely a sign of dementia. Thinking about it now, I believe it was also a sign of Jo Bailey's innate love of the water, something she conveyed through her books.

Bailey and Nyberg didn't explain why the harp had been placed above Agate Pass or who had put it there, but it took me only a few minutes to find a web post about the wind harp by its builder, Ron Konzak, Konzak wrote that he imagined such a harp and then realized he had to build it or be haunted by the image. Another internet search revealed the information that Konzak was an architectural designer, craftsman of Celtic harps and other fine woodworks, and a professional musician. His "Gooey-Duck Song" was a hit in the Pacific Northwest and Australia and was included in the Washington Centennial Songbook.
In the web post, Konzak noted that the harp was deteriorating and that he planned to rebuild it and move it to a more public location.

Wondering when that might happen, I emailed Konzak. Joyce Rice, whose email was listed on the same site, replied. She told me that the website had been written in about 2000 and Konzak had died in 2008. She knew nothing more about the project than what was on the website. Other efforts to find more information, including asking a harp-playing friend who lives on Bainbridge Island were also unsuccessful. But the visible effort to clear trees from around the harp building showed me that someone cares about it. I'll keep looking for changes each time we pass by.

Like Jo Bailey’s books that outlive her, Konzak’s music outlives him. Recordings of the giant wind harp can be heard at The recordings are more metallic than melodic, but haunting. The Gooey-Duck Song can be heard at

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
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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