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Voyage to Neah Bay: Part 2

It happened! A connection in the water from Seattle to Neah Bay has been made. The journey gave us more then we could have ever expected. This was the first time an OC6 – six person Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe has followed this route. We greatly respect the native cultures and tried our best to follow protocols along the way. We divided the voyage into three 50 mile parts we called journeys. In each journey we would have 7-8 legs of about 5-10 miles each (maps linked below) where we would alternate crews.

The first journey was from Lake Washington to Port Townsend on June 15th, Journey 2 from Port Townsend to Crescent Beach on July 13th, and Journey 3 was from Crescent to Neah Bay on July 14th.

Journeys 2 and 3 were back to back and were the biggest challenge, not only for the distance, but because of the unpredictable weather in the Strait and the many ‘unknowns” along the way, including landing locations and rugged coastlines. We had an escort on the first journey to Port Townsend, but our support boat was not able to join us on Journey 2, so we continued without. On Journey 3, Polly McCarty from the Makah Canoe Society helped us find an escort, escort capt Dwayne provided excellent support and route guidance on the 3rd day.

We are honored and humbled by the opportunity to paddle along this route and experience the many unique places along the Strait, along the way there were many people supporting us and helping us to get to our destination, from advice from sailors, tribes and friends, to folks on the beach giving us moral support and fishermen making way for our canoe as we paddled by. I think everyone can relate to the feeling of voyaging and discovery, life is a journey in itself. There was also help from above, a special energy that helped us along and when we thought we could not continue at certain points where there were logistical obstacles or strong tides, winds, and fog. To each of us, that support could mean something different, but it was undeniable and powerful. Upon arrival in Neah Bay, we were greeted by the Makah people who allowed us permission to land on their shores and showed us overwhelming aloha and hospitality. We would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts, the people of Makah, the Makah Canoe Society and Polly McCarty.

The voyage began as a way to discover and learn, what we discovered was far more then what we could have imagined. The song in this slideshow is Spirit Bird by Xavier Rudd. A song about heritage, native struggles, culture, mother earth, life and death. Mahalo na Kupuna for allowing us to pass, mahalo ke Akua for guidance and life. Mahalo ke aina. Mahalo ke kai.

Voyage To Neah Bay from Joe Ferguson on Vimeo.