Pacific Northwest Voyagers

“He wa'a he moku he moku he wa'a. The canoe is our island, and the island is our canoe.”

This Hawaiian saying is a reminder to care for the canoe, as it sustains our life, and to care for our island as it does the same. To us, the canoe represents possibility, it is a vehicle for our recreation and sport, and also connects us to the natural world that surrounds us. As we paddle the canoe together we learn about ourselves, we experience teamwork, we develop an understanding of our lakes, rivers, and oceans, we build strength and earn a deeper respect for our environment, our heritage and the ones who have come before us.

250px-NootkaThe Pacific Northwest is rich in maritime history, from First Nations who paddled all across the Sound and along the coast, to maritime sailors and explorers, to modern day fishers and sailors, we are blessed with a unique marine environment to explore and discover. We hope to gain an understanding of this place we call our home while also joining together the cultures and experiences that come with voyaging, from discovering new locations and places that we would have otherwise not seen, to meeting others who share our ideals and our passion for the water.

The Beginning

kimokeo-at-centerforwoodenboatsOn 11/11/11 Kimokeo Kapahulehua of the Hawaiian Outrigger Voyaging Society visited Seattle and inspired us to begin voyaging, saying that one day he would return to voyage with us from Seattle to Hawaii. It seemed a bit of a stretch to imagine, but he said not to worry about the future and instead just focus on one voyage at a time, starting in the Puget Sound, then along the coast of Washington to Oregon or Alaska, saying that we would know when to take it further, when our experience, confidence and support grows. During that same time, a canoe building project was initiated by Jono Saunders and his father, John Guzzwell, building a wooden outrigger canoe from their own design, made for local waters and with local timber. After a long winter of hard work, the canoe was christened, named Kaigani after a village of voyagers from the Haida Gwai. This canoe has qualities and purpose to be an ideal voyaging canoe. Ultra light in weight, with extra length and waterline for efficiency, deck for protection from elements, and foot braces for increased leverage over long distance.

The Mission

The mission of our voyages is simple; it is to connect with the canoe, the water, and the sky. To learn, discover, and experience. To share and perpetuate what we learn along the way. We hope to navigate as much of the waters of the Pacific Northwest as possible and to join in the cause of the international legacy of Pacific Ocean exploration.

Our first voyage will be from our canoe club site in Lake Washington to Neah Bay 150 miles away, and the most northwestern point of the lower 48 states. This voyage will be divided into three journeys of 50 miles each. The first landing will be at the Wooden Boat Foundation in Port Townsend, departing from Sand Point Lake Washington 6/14/2013 to Shilshole, then from Shilshole to Port Townsend 6/15/2013. The canoe will be crewed by 15 paddlers from the SSPO canoe club, rotating in and out of the canoe every 5 miles. Land crews will drive along the coast to meet the canoe along the way. The milestones are:

  • Sand Point, Lake Washington
  • Lake Union
  • Shilshole
  • Kingston
  • Eglon
  • Point No Point
  • Port Ludlow
  • Oak Bay
  • Port Hadlock
  • Port Townsend


  • Kaigani, Canoe
  • John Guzzwell, Escort Captain of Treasure and Canoe Builder
  • Jono Saunders
  • Naim Ferguson
  • Terrence Quong
  • Jesica Ferguson
  • Ken Kroeger
  • Tanja Reiners
  • Tran Luu
  • Sally Mingarelli
  • Kristen Shriver
  • Cacula Stoddard
  • Troy Nishikawa
  • Ian Ferguson
  • Renick Woods
  • Elizabeth Woods

Read the recap of Part 1, Paddle to Port Townsend

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