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    Greenland Vertical Sailing 2014 – Part 2, Bad weather, boat concert and night climbing

    By Nico Favresse, photos by The Wild Bunch

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    Three weeks have passed now since we arrived on Baffin Island. [Editor’s note: Get caught up with Part 1 here.] Our first encounter with the local population already happened miles away from the coast when we met eight polar bears drifting on chunks of pack ice. It was quite a surprise running into them while weaving through broken up pack ice in thick mist.

    After a quick stop in Clyde River to clear Canadian border formalities, we set sail for the big walls of Sam Ford Fjord. Right away our minds were blown away by the amount of huge rock faces and how little this place has been explored. It feels incredibly wild here, beautiful but also very powerful—we feel small and somehow vulnerable.

    Continue reading "Greenland Vertical Sailing 2014 – Part 2, Bad weather, boat concert and night climbing" »

    Greenland Vertical Sailing 2014 – Part 1, Warming up in Uummannaq and 24 hours on the wall

    By Nico Favresse, photos by The Wild Bunch

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    July 15, 2014—We are off again on an exciting adventure! Reverend Captain Bob Shepton is very excited to have the Wild Bunch—Sean Villanueva, Olivier Favresse, Ben Ditto and I—back on board the Dodo’s Delight for some jamming and big walls. Already four years have passed since our last expedition in Greenland with captain Bob. This time though we brought more musical instruments, more fishing equipment and more whiskey for our captain, all of which we hope will help us with our new assignment: testing the acoustics of some massive big walls located in the fjords on the east coast of Baffin Island.

    We left Aasiaat one week ago and we’ve have had good moments so far but also harder ones. Yes, indeed, we missed the World Cup final and the ice hasn't melted enough for us to cross to the Baffin Island side. Our captain is becoming very impatient and we are afraid that he would be quite willing to take some risks for us to reach Baffin Island. If we did get stranded by the pack ice and its pressuring current, Dodo's Delight would most likely get crushed and sink. The good thing is that our captain is very familiar with that. He has two boats in Greenland, one of them he keeps below the water's surface!

    Above: Greetings from the Wild Bunch and Reverend Captain Bob Shepton. We are very excited to be back. Four years have passed since our last time on Dodo's Delight.

    Continue reading "Greenland Vertical Sailing 2014 – Part 1, Warming up in Uummannaq and 24 hours on the wall" »

    Special Delivery

    By Liz Clark

    Liz_2_bananasEditor's note: We're happy to follow up on Dallas Hyland's moving tribute to Patagonia ambassdor Liz Clark -- after she broke her neck bodysurfing -- with good news. Liz's neck has healed up well and she's back in Tahiti living on an organic vanilla farm near the boatyard where she's splitting her time between book writing and boat projects. This story is from Liz's circle of French Polynesia in early 2012, before her injury, and first appeared on her blog. Glad you're back Liz!

    March 2012: And so the time had arrived. Cyclone season over, it was safe to head southwest say a final goodbye to the Marquesas. I poured over the chart, locating the tiny, isolated atoll of Puka Puka, 250 miles straight south. Raiarii’s grandfather was the first to colonize this desolate atoll in the late 1930s.

    Tehani Henere Papa and his wife, Elizabeth, had 22 children there!! Two sets of twins!?! Tehani delivered each one of the babies in a tub behind their little house. They raised the kids on fish and coconuts and the fresh Pacific air. Tehani worked copra from dawn to dusk year round, and when the copra boats came to collect the dried coconut meat that he split, dried, and collected in the large burlap sacs, he could purchase sacs of flour, sugar, and rice with his earnings.

    [Above: A load of bananas for Raiarii’s family on Puka Puka. All photos courtesy of Liz Clark and the Voyage of Swell]

    Raiarii’s father, Victor, was number 15 of the 22, and left the atoll at age 17 to find work in Tahiti and had never gone back. Interisland travel is expensive and difficult for locals, with few spots on the cargo ships and high prices for airfare. So Raiarii had never visited Puka Puka, nor met many of the cousins, aunts, and uncles from his father’s side who are still living there. Upon learning this story, I decided we must try to sail to Puka Puka!

    Continue reading "Special Delivery" »

    Underway - An Excerpt from "The Voyage of the Cormorant" by Christian Beamish

    by Christian Beamish

    Voyage_of_the_Cormorant_coverPatagonia Books is proud to announce our latest release: Christian Beamish’s first book The Voyage of the Cormorant, which tells of his journey down the Pacific coast of Baja in an 18-foot open boat he built himself. The book includes maps and is illustrated by Ken Perkins. Below is an excerpt:

    From Chapter 3 – Underway

    A full moon rose over the arroyos, the desert held a pinkish glow, and stars shone down like a compliment in a million points of light all across the water. I sailed along, swaddled against the cold in a parka and outer shell, drifting in my thoughts deep into the night. Eventually, the wind fell away, and the ocean settled into a broad, glassy sheet. I smelled the clean desert scrub on the suddenly warmer air. The lines and sails and my outer jacket seemed to crackle in the dryness.

    I knew that this was all the warning I would get.

    Lashing the tiller in place with a bungee, I scrambled forward and dropped the main sail. Not one minute later, I saw and heard the wind line across the water behind, roaring down and tearing at the surface like a swarm of locust: the dreaded Norte. People call it the devil wind because of the fires it breathes to life and, I suppose, for the madness too. It is a terrible, mindless thing.

    Continue reading "Underway - An Excerpt from "The Voyage of the Cormorant" by Christian Beamish" »

    Ghost Ship: A Lost Skiff 1500 Miles Off the Coast of Japan

    by Stiv Wilson

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    Position: 29°11.9 North, 170°35.2 East

    “It’s a whale,” yells Tracey from above deck. I’m eating humus below in the salon with Dani, after forgoing Kelvin’s lunch of fried Kim Chi with rice and seaweed. Wildlife sightings are like breaking news aboard Sea Dragon, sometimes the only demarcation from one day to the next. Dani and I both grabbed our cameras and went on deck. Tracey was peering far off in the distance, tracking some object with binoculars. The day before we had had a Sperm Whale breach within a 100 meters of the ship to the bow and we hoped our luck would give us something similar. But there was no breaching and no blowhole spouting from the object in the distance. “Is its fin just sticking out of the water? What is that? It’s white… is it a white whale?” says someone on deck. I move to the bowsprit, start snapping photos. There is no color in this day—a gray sky meets a gray ocean at the horizon, it’s as if we’re traveling through a monotone void.

    Continue reading "Ghost Ship: A Lost Skiff 1500 Miles Off the Coast of Japan" »

    Hitching to Oz

    by Patch Wilson

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    Recently, I had the opportunity to hitch a ride from Indonesia to Australia on a sailing yacht my friend owns. I had been working at home for a good while, and was starting to get itchy feet, and this seemed like the perfect way to get back on the road and go exploring again.

    So I tied up the loose ends at home and flew from the UK out to Bali and timed it perfectly to walk into the first solid swell of the year – pumping Sanur and Bukit Peninsula. I spent three weeks in Bali, surfing all over the place and getting back into the rhythm, and scored really fun waves before it was time for me to go and meet up with the boat.

    [Above: Getting back into the rhythm in Bali. All photos by Patch Wilson.]

    Continue reading "Hitching to Oz" »

    Runnin' the Tidal Rapids

    by Liz Clark

    Sea Rapids

    With a brief window of calm winds, Crystal and I readied Swell to move east among the atolls. With the news of Barry’s passing, I wanted to check out what was rumored to be a new boatyard on an obscure strip of coral a few atolls east, plus with a swell on the way, we might arrive just in time to catch a few juicier waves before Crystal flew home.

    Editor's note: Before leaving for Chile, Crystal Thornburg-Homcy visited the South Pacific and fellow Patagonia ambassador Liz Clark who's sailing around the world in her boat, Swell. Here are a few stories from their time together. [Photos courtesy of Liz Clark and Crystal Thornburg] 

    Swell caught the flow of the outgoing tidal current as we steered around the coral embankment and into the open draw of the pass. The sun pierced the cloudless morning air, illuminating the deep blue river that carried us out to sea.

    Through the binoculars, I could see the sea churning up ahead. “Oh, no…” I bellowed. I knew what we were in for: standing waves and sea-rapids where the flow of the tidal river met the ocean. It was too late to turn around, the outward flow was too strong to fight…I made a firm mental note to get some better tide information!

    Continue reading "Runnin' the Tidal Rapids" »

    Surfing Waimea Made Me Bigger - An Excerpt from No Bad Waves: Talking Story with Mickey Muñoz

    Munoz_30_Waimea_2 Our friends on the Patagonia Books team are proud to announce a new title by Mickey Muñoz called No Bad Waves. The book was a collaboration between Mickey, who recorded the stories in a series of interviews, Jeff Divine, who culled through Mickey's extensive photo archives, John Dutton, who massaged the transcripts into shape, and Peter McBride, who combined the words and images into what we think is one of our best books to date.

    Today we're happy to give you a taste of the the book. Instead of a long narrative, No Bad Waves features a collection of short stories like this one about Mickey and the first group of West Coast surfers to ride Waimea Bay.

    Surfing Waimea Made Me Bigger


    The next time I went back to Hawai‘i was in 1957 when we spent the whole winter on the North Shore and ended up surfing Waimea. That winter, I rode some big waves and came back with extreme confidence.

    The group of us over there had talked about riding Waimea and had gone by to look at it. Waimea appeared to be the last place on the North Shore that was rideable when everywhere else was closed out. A bunch of us had gathered, and we were standing on the road to check it out. I can’t remember who suggested we go out, but, “OK, let’s do it!”

    Continue reading "Surfing Waimea Made Me Bigger - An Excerpt from No Bad Waves: Talking Story with Mickey Muñoz" »

    Greenland Vertical Sailing: Watch the Trailer [Updated with Five-Part Video Series]

    Climbing virgin big walls from the deck of a sailboat anchored in frigid ocean waters. You've read the blog posts and seen the pictures, but the best is yet to come. Get ready for a five-part video series featuring Nico Favresse, Olivier Favresse, Seán Villanueva, Ben Ditto and the Reverend Captain Bob Shepton, coming this spring to Patagonia.com.

    Update: The entire five-part series, starting with the trailer, is now embedded above.

    [Vertical Sailing Greenland - Trailer from Patagoniavideo. Video: Seán Villanueva] 

    Greenland Vertical Sailing: The Devil’s Brew [Updated]

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    Impossible mais possible après tout.” (Impossible but possible after all.)

    “I’ve been looking at that wall for twelve years, but I’ve never found any team good enough” Bob Shepton winner of the 2009 Tilman Medal.

    Editor's note: When last we left the crew of Dodo's Delight, they teased the start of a new multi-day climb, on yet another virgin big wall in the fjords of Greenland. Today we're happy to report congratulations are in order as Nico Favresse, Sean Villanueva, Ben Ditto and Olivier Favresse successfully free climbed the Impossible Wall.

    On July 12 we committed to “the impossible wall.” After eight days we found ourselves on the summit, on July 22. So how is it possible that we passed 11 days in only eight you might be asking yourself? The answer my friend lies in the burning midnight sun and 30-hour days or nights or whatever you want to call it. Our efforts on the wall and on our musical instruments yielded probably the most adventurous route we have ever done.

    [(Above) The team on the summit! Bob Shepton was also an undeniable team member and we shared this moment with him through the radio. Photo: Ben Ditto]

    Continue reading "Greenland Vertical Sailing: The Devil’s Brew [Updated]" »

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