Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Wooden Boat Festival, Port Townsend, WA – September 8-10, 2017

Mark your calendars!  Following our upcoming season in Alaska, the Ursa Major will once again be part of the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, Washington on September 8-10, 2017, and we will be giving tours of the Ursa Major to festival attendees.

The annual Wooden Boat Festival, hosted by the Northwest Maritime Center, will feature over 300 wooden vessels, and include something for everyone, including a variety of presentations, exhibitors, interactive children’s activities, live music, and will feature delicious local food and beverages.

Tickets are available beginning July 1, and more information can be found by clicking the link HERE for the Wooden Boat Festival site.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Ursa Major transiting the Panama Canal, early 1990's


This photo of the Ursa Major was taken at Gatun Lake, Panama during the passage through the Panama Canal.
Recently, Captain Josh has been in contact with Steve Van Cleve, (Marrowstone Isle, Washington), who worked as crew aboard the Ursa Major when she transited the Panama Canal in the early 1990s with the fourth owner of the Ursa Major, Peter Strong.  After her construction was completed in Norway and Ireland in the early 1970s, the Ursa Major was delivered to her first owners in Connecticut, (the Sudarsky family), by an Irish crew.  Following her adventures on the east coast of the United States and Canada with the Sudarsky family, the Ursa Major next spent time with her second and third owners in the Caribbean. 

According to Mr. Van Cleve, fourth owner Peter Strong bought the boat in Florida.  Peter, his wife Leslie, their four kids and a deckhand, had quite a rough trip westward across the Caribbean at the beginning of the long journey back to the Ursa Major’s new home port, Seattle, Washington.  Mr. Van Cleve, (who served as mate/engineer), and a second new crew member, (a cook), met the Strong family in Calon, Panama for the transit through the Panama Canal from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Following the transit through the Panama Canal aboard the Ursa Major, the Strong family flew back to Seattle, and the three remaining crew members brought the Ursa Major north to Seattle along the Pacific Coast of North America.  Mr. Van Cleve recalls the trip to Seattle being beautiful, except for stormy weather off the Oregon coast. And from trips we have done aboard the Ursa Major between Alaska and Mexico, the Oregon coast still continues to be some of the most challenging weather we have encountered anywhere!
 
Thank you for the stories and the photos Steve – it’s always fun to learn more of history of the Ursa Major!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Part Two: The Ursa Major reimagined by local artist and salmon fisherman Tom Crestodina!

 

Local artist and salmon fisherman Tom Crestodina has just completed his second collection of  drawings of the Ursa Major.  This time, Tom focused on the interior and exterior layout, and brought attention to the tiniest details in our staterooms, including our unique main deck level “skylights”.

 

We have added “Deck Plan“, and “Guest Staterooms” sections to our website, which contain Tom’s new set of Ursa Major drawings in full detail.

 

Click HERE to visit the new “Deck Plan”, and HERE to visit the new “Guest Staterooms” section.

 

Enjoy the beautiful art in the following drawings of the Ursa Major, and thanks again Tom!

 

P.S. Here is a list of Tom’s websites for more of his amazing art:

1.  “The Scow“: Tom’s online store, where you will find Tom’s first unique drawing of the Ursa Major from spring 2016 – thescow.bigcartel.com

 

2. Tom Crestodina on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Scow/728777337135077

 





Monday, January 2, 2017

Trawler Training Adventures Aboard the Ursa Major


Happy New Year everyone!  For the past 17 charter seasons aboard the Ursa Major, we had have a wide variety of trawler and boating enthusiasts join us for our annual “Trawler Training Trips” through the Inside Passage between Seattle, Washington, and Alaska.  Over a period of 14 days, we transit through beautiful British Columbia at a speed of approximately 7.5 knots, and teach interested participants how to safety navigate the famous Inside Passage with its astounding tides and breathtaking scenery. 

For more information on our “Trawler Training Trips“, please visit our webpage dedicated to these wonderful trips.  And click HERE for our 2017 schedule. 
Our new 2018 schedule is now available online by clicking HERE. 

 

And since we began our “Trawler Training Trips“, a number of our guests have gone on to pursue their own cruising dreams by purchasing their own boat.  Recently, Josh and I sat down to compile a complete list of these adventurers from the past seventeen years.  Here are three of our current favorite adventures in progress:

 

1. Karen & Barry Hutchinson, M/V Chug: 42′ Kady Krogen trawler; Coupeville, Washington; currently planning their 3rd trip to Alaska aboard M/V Chug in 2017

Karen and Barry’s M/V Chug
Karen and Barry’s M/V Chug
2. Alex Brody, M/V Sea Robin: 42′ Grand Banks; Modesto, California; currently cruising in southern California

Alex and M/V Sea Robin
Alex and M/V Sea Robin
3. Paul McCarthy & Helen Fitzpatrick, M/V Spirit of Ulysses: 76′ Nordhaven; Cardiff, Wales, currently cruising in the Mediterranean Sea

Helen and Paul aboard the M/V Spirit of Ulysess
Helen and Paul aboard the M/V Spirit of Ulysses

Helen aboard the M/V Spirit of Ulysses
Helen aboard the M/V Spirit of Ulysses

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Ursa Major in Hubbards Cove, Nova Scotia, 1973

The above photo and corresponding article are courtesy of Martha Sudarsky Kristy, whose father Daniel Sudarsky owned the Ursa Major in 1973, and took his family to Nova Scotia aboard the Ursa Major on a family trip.

Thanks so much Martha!


Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Charter Boat Ursa Major at Green Island, British Columbia - a Drone's Eye View


Captain Josh took this drone video while the Ursa Major was anchored at Green Island, British Columbia, on our southbound Inside Passage Trawler Training Trip from Petersburg, Alaska to Seattle, WA last month. The visbility during the afternoon was incredible, and we had quite the sunset from anchor that evening. Green Island is located inside Fitzhugh Sound, and is a great spot to stage for the crossing of Queen Charlotte Sound, and points south inside the protection of Vancouver Island.

For more information on our Inside Passage Trawler Training Trips, please click HERE.

Many thanks to Kern Hendricks, one of our guests of aboard the Ursa Major on this trip, who edited and added the beautiful music to Captain Josh's drone video taken at Green Island.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Infamous Norweigian-Built Ursa Major: A Three Part Series


Three articles written by "Juneau Empire" reporter Klas Stolpe about the Ursa Major have recently become available online following their original publication in 2013.  Klaus was aboard Ursa Major in summer 2006 for a circumnavigation of Chichagof Island in southeast Alaska with (then) first mate, and (now) captain Josh Haury, who took over as captain of the Ursa Major in October 2006.

The three part series of his adventures aboard the Ursa Major in 2006 provide a well-written and humorous account of his trip, as well as a history of the Ursa Major, from her construction in Norway, to her times with the Mafia on the East Coast of the United States, and to her present day adventures in Alaska under the ownership of Dr. V. Joyce Gauthier.

Please click on the article titles below to read further aboard Klaus's adventures aboard the Ursa Major:

#1: The ABC's of Rudderless Travel, Part 1
#2: The ABC's of Rudderless Travel, Part 2: Heading to Baranof and Its Treasure of Bays
#3. Chichagof Island's Hidden Gems and Treasures

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Ursa Major reimagined by local artist (and salmon fisherman) Tom Crestodina!


We are getting ready to push away from the dock and head to Alaska!

 

Seattle has given us a great bon voyage party in the form of several sunny days, but now its time for a boat ride.

 

Local artist (and salmon fisherman) Tom Crestodina has finished his drawing of the Ursa Major.

 

Have a close look!  The detail he captured is fun and amazing. It was especially nice that he brought his family with him to deliver the artwork to us.

 

Thanks Tom!

 

P.S. Tom’s Links:

1.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Scow/728777337135077

2.  thescow.bigcartel.com (Tom’s online store)


Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Charter Boat Ursa Major in Ford's Terror Wilderness Area, Alaska - a...

We visited the Tracey Arm/Ford's Terror Wilderness Area again in July 2015 on a charter trip, and captured this amazing video of the tidal rapids at Ford's Terror at (nearly) maximum flood.  At maximum flood (or ebb) in Ford's Terror, 6-8 ft standing (tidal) waves will form at the entrance to this narrow fjord approximately every 6 hours with the diurnal tides present at this latitude.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Charter Boat Ursa Major Underway in the Inside Passage of Alaska - a Drone's Eye View

Josh took advantage of an absolutely beautiful day in southeast Alaska last summer to fly his drone while the Ursa Major was underway.  This was not exactly an easy task, as following the Ursa Major at a speed of 7.8 kts can be a bit tricky.     

Enjoy the video, and please feel free to share with all enthusiasts of the Ursa Major!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Stellar Sea Lion Research Trip aboard Ursa Major

Following our Summer Solstice trip, Ursa Major was the mothership for an Alaska Department of Fish and Game Stellar Sea Lion research trip in southeast Alaska.  Over the course of the 16-day trip, we traveled to a wide variety of Stellar Sea Lion haulout and rookery sites, some of which were new to us, and very much off the beaten path of our usual cruising grounds amongst the beautiful islands of southeast Alaska.  It was an amazing trip for everyone!

 
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game crew!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Charter Boat Ursa Major at Anchor in Red Bluff Bay - a Drone's Eye View


This was one of Josh's first drone flights in Alaska last summer at anchor in one of our favorite spots, Red Bluff Bay, on the eastern side of Baranof Island.  This side of Baranof Island is known as the "Waterfall Coast" because of all the year-round continuous falling water found there in the form of immense waterfalls and rivers.

Enjoy the video, and please feel free to share with all enthusiasts of the Ursa Major! 




Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Waterfall Coast of Baranof Island

We just wrapped up a truly amazing trip to the Waterfall Coast of Baranof Island, and to Tracy Arm to view calving glaciers.  Our guests this week on Ursa Major were from New Zealand and Australia, and we enjoyed beautiful paddles, hikes, and hot springs.

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm, Alaska with our guests Bev, Gordon, Shan, and Tony

 Takatz Bay, one of many beautiful anchorages on the Waterfall Coast of Baranof Island

 Paddling in Ushk Bay, Peril Straight, with Gordon and Bev

 Hiking in the Brothers Islands, Stevens Passage, on our trip last week

Petersburg, Alaska with Tony and Shan

Monday, May 25, 2015

Our return to Alaska aboard Ursa Major!

Our early May arrival in Alaska for our charter season allowed us to experience the best of the early summer here, including the Little Norway Festival in Petersburg, Alaska, and the Memorial Day celebrations in Sitka, Alaska.  Petersburg and Sitka are two of our favorite towns in southeast Alaska, and we utilize both towns our departure and arrival points for our charters.


 We made our Alaska landfall aboard Ursa Major in Ketchikan, Alaska


Little Norway Festival; May 14-17, 2015; Petersburg, Alaska


 
 Little Norway Festival; May 14-17, 2015; Petersburg, Alaska


 Little Norway Festival "Lop the Loop" 7K Run; May 14-17, 2015; Petersburg, Alaska


Little Norway Festival "Lop the Loop" 7K Run; May 14-17, 2015; Petersburg, Alaska


Sitka, Alaska this morning with Mt. Edgecombe in the background

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Moto Guzzi Ride to the Olympic Peninsula

With rain (finally) in the forecast for Seattle, (following a very dry and warm winter), we decided to take the last two days before the rain returned to ride our Moto Guzzi motorcycles to the Olympic Peninsula.  I wanted to put some miles on my new bike, (a 2013 white V7 Stone 750), and Josh wanted to take his 2007 Griso 1100 for a non-Seattle ride (i.e. long stretches of open road with less city stop-go traffic).
 

Our first stop was the local Moto Guzzi store, (Moto International in Seattle), to pick up spare oil for the bikes, and the new license plate for my bike.  We cannot say enough good things about Moto International, as everyone there is always friendly and helpful with all things Moto Guzzi.
 

Next we headed to downtown Seattle to catch the Washington state ferry to Bremerton, on the Olympic peninsula.  One advantage of riding motorcycles in Washington is that motorcycles can always cut to the front of any ferry line, bypassing all cars in line.  This is especially handy on a sunny day when the ferry lines are notoriously long.   
 

After arriving in Bremerton, we headed north along the eastern side of the Olympic peninsula, past Poulsbo and Kingston, and crossed the infamous Hood Canal Bridge, one of the longest floating bridges in the world.  The view of the Olympic Mountains was spectacular, and it felt great to be cruising along on our Moto Guzzis in the warm weather!

Following the Hood Canal Bridge, we continued north along the Olympic Peninsula to Port Townsend, where we decided to spend the night and explore the small town on foot.   We stayed at the historic Waterstreet Hotel, a Victorian style hotel with quirky rooms, friendly owners, and motorcycle parking out front.


Port Townsend is rich in wooden boat history, so we took time to walk through the active shipyards in town.  The wooden vessel seen in the above and below photos is the Western Flyer, the vessel used by John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts in their infamous trip in Mexico's Sea of Cortez in the 1940s.  Their book, The Log from the Sea of Cortez, remains one of our favorite books, and to see their vessel in Port Townsend, being restored after sinking at least twice, was one of the highlights of our trip to the Olympic Peninsula.


To read about the restoration of the Western Flyer, please click HERE.  I cannot wait to see what she looks like a few years down the road.  Port Townsend is definitely the place for her right now!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Back aboard Ursa Major!

We are proud to announce that Ursa Major will be returning to Alaska in 2015 for our 15th season, and we have a BRAND NEW WEBSITE for Ursa Major Charters!  

Included in the new website is our updated 2015 SCHEDULE, as well as new information on our different types of trips available (Sea Kayaking Adventures, Wildlife and Photography, and Trawler Training) and new photo galleries.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Greetings from Alaska!


Josh and I are working aboard the M/V Alaskan Song in southeast Alaska this summer, and we frequently visit the Tracy Arm/Ford's Terror Wilderness Area, where this photo was taken recently.  Waterfalls galore!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Viva la San Blas!

Josh and I flew down to Mexico for an 8-day visit to our sailboat Estrella, which we are keeping in historic San Blas, (a 3 hour drive from Puerto Vallarta).  While we were in town soaking up the sun and catching up with friends, we also took time to visit the local Spanish fort, and play on the beach.




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New Motorcycle!

 It's that time of year.  This time, Emily got the new Moto Guzzi, a 2007 Nevada 750!


We've been out riding around Seattle, and now it's time retrieve Josh's Moto Guzzi Griso from San Diego.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Back in Seattle, and a Mount Rainier (Drive).




Josh and I are back in Seattle following a great charter season in Alaska working aboard M/V Ursa Major.  It reached 90 degrees here yesterday, so we headed to Mount Rainier National Park for a day of great hiking.