We are Marike Finlay-de Monchy, Karin Cope, and Quoddy’s Run, a 1976 Kelly-Peterson 44’ cutter-rigged yacht.
Marike grew up in Southern Ontario, where she learned to sail on the Great Lakes; she has since sailed in the North Atlantic, the Chesapeake, the Caribbean and the North American Pacific between Panama and California.
Karin was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, on Lake Erie, and dreamed of boats—chiefly canoes and pontoon boats, because she grew up in land-locked central Ohio and didn’t realize there might be other sorts of vessels. She learned to sail when she met Marike in Montreal in the mid-1990s.
Karin and Marike now live in Nova Scotia, on the Eastern Shore—a part of the world they first encountered by sailboat—when they’re not aboard Quoddy’s Run. Or working in Halifax and elsewhere to pay the bills.
We’ve been sailing Quoddy’s Run in the Pacific since 2004. We spent several thrilling seasons in the Sea of Cortez, swimming, hiking in the desert, watching the sun set behind steep mountains, sailing alongside whales and enormous schools of dolphins, and eating delicious Mexican food. But then it was time for a change.
The original owner of Quoddy’s Run had lived in Seattle, and outfitted the boat for the Pacific Northwest. The hull is insulated, and Quoddy sports a wood stove and a hot water heating system. We’d long dreamed of sailing the inside passage from Victoria to Alaska, so British Columbia seemed like a logical next stop. In fact, we’d had charts and guidebooks for the voyage on our shelves for fifteen years. Sailing in BC had obviously been a long-term plan.
Trouble was, after so many years in the tropics, and away from well-stocked yards, the rig wasn’t as sound as we thought it should be, and the deck was cheesy and a bit leaky. Bringing Quoddy’s Run north was going to involve some expensive repairs. We didn’t really think the boat could safely make the rough trip north—known as the “Baja bash” on her own steam, so we booked her a passage on a vessel that carries other boats.
Depending on how you look at it, that was either a great idea or a terrible one, because Quoddy’s Run was damaged on that ship, and so we spent much of the summer of 2011—our first in BC—in repairs with Blackline Marine Repair at Canoe Cove, near Sydney, Vancouver Island.
The boat is beautiful now, however, her decks sound and her rigging impeccable. We are warm, dry, and eager to set off for Alaska. This blog, West by East—a view of the west coast by east coast Maritimers—will log that voyage in words, sounds, video and photos. We haven’t yet mastered the art of virtual digital scratch and sniff, but when that comes along, we’ll be sure to try to share the fresh scent of cold water rolling into warm land, the gamey whiff of sea lion as you pass a colony on a rock pile, the smell of damp cedar after a rain, or saltdamp lines drying on the deck.
We have been loosely and occasionally inspired by artist/writer, Roy Kiyooka, who tracked passages between Canada’s west and east coasts in words and pictures in his 1975 Transcanada Letters, “a map of the soul’s groupography,” and other projects. As Marike is fond of saying, “Canada has a vast and wondrous geography, and I aim to live in as much of it as possible—at once!”
You can read about and view some of our adventures in Mexico by going to visiblepoetry.blogspot.com and searching entries tagged Mexico or Sea of Cortez.