If you are a dreamer, a doer, a horizon viewer - come in! come in! Announce yourself and let it be known.
The seed of adventure has been sown.

The goal is to take this boat on a trip that no other Wharram boat has taken.
From Great Slave Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories up the MacKenzie River to the Beafort Sea
and westward to the Bering Sea and south to the inside passage on the Alaska and British Columbia coast.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

When you venture into what can best be described as the backwaters of civilization, you never know what you may find. If you venture into enough of these places it seems inevitable that you will come across a Wharram catamaran, water or no water. Personally, I don’t see Wharram’s catamarans as counter culture or backwater. No instead they are gift, a release from the cookie cutter option of over-priced production boats. They are great sailors at a fraction of the price, still accessible to a world where making your own stuff almost seem unheard of.

There is no doubt that multihulls have entered the mainstream. Atleast as mainstream as fast Open 60 trimarans of ORMA stature or the party boats chartered out by The Moorings can be. But at the edges, the funk lives on.

Though not exactly a backwater these days, Salt Spring Island (SSI) has those edges. I’ve been exploring the harbors and inlets around Salt Spring Island while here. The other night, I went to dinner with a small group at a quayside restaurant. Propped up on the remnants of an old pier and right beside the hemp clothing and kayak trip place, it use to be a funky little place that served “hippie food.” Now it has a focus group type of name and a globalized fusion menu. The food is good though a bit salty. Maybe the cook, a refugee from Ottawa, has lost his salt touch now that he breathes salt air as he works. It happens. A tasty world flavor but you get that middle of the night wake up result from a desiccated mouth and no it wasn’t from drinking, I had mango lemonade. Organic of course. Hanging around waiting to be seated, I checked out the harbor! One of the island’s ferries uses this as its departure points. The ferry dock dominates the wharf end. Up against the shore, behind the ferry dock and the remnants of a government dock for commercial fish boats, I spotted the houseboat flotilla pictured below. Made up of a plastic tented boat, a raft converted to shack and what appeared to be nee catamaran now a funky habitation-slash-deck-slash-exterior workshop, could that be a metamorphosed Wharram? Not able to get very closed I mentally decided to return for a closer look.

This morning, I went back with my kayak. No one was aboard, though it looked occupied not derelict, so I couldn’t talk to the occupant of this amazing craft Rentals are few on the island and house prices insane so I imagine the occupants were off at their tasks that make the island home for those who’ve lived here for ages and those who found it just too quaint to just be tourists and had to pull up their retirement stakes from Ontario or Alberta and move to SSI. I paddled about studying this amazing craft and taking photos. At about 17 feet, I figure that this morphed vessel started its life as a Hitia. The sterns of the hulls had been chopped off at some time during their life but the rest, at least below the deck line was recognizable as a Wharram.


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