Off Yonder – Adventure Travel Stories - Seeing the world for what it is

Floating the Continental Divide
Panama Canal, Colon, Panama

It was late afternoon when we motored from Shelter Bay Marina to the staging area in Bahia de Limon to await our pilot and extra line-handler. The past two days was a much needed rest after having just sailed over 1,700 miles from the Bahamas, around the western point of Cuba and due south across the Caribbean Sea. It wasn’t a lazy, sit by the pool with a frufy drink kind of rest. Rather it was a change from the ten days of being at sea where a constant watch is kept to ensure there is still wind in the sails, the course is maintained, the crew is rested and fed and collisions of any sort (with other vessels, drift wood, large containers or even land) are avoided.

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Caribbean Sailing
Caribbean Sea, Nassau, The Bahamas

Ten days of sailing from Nassau, Bahamas to Panama City, Panama through the Panama Canal. Over 1700 miles covered, seas were fair, sunny most of the way. Crew: Shawn Griffith (Captain), Amy Griffith Redfern, Sasha Gates, Cameron MartindellLike || Tweet || More Photos || Purchase Photo

A pod of dolphins escorted us out as we sliced through the electric blue waters, departing Paradise Island near Nassau in The Bahamas. With 15 knots of wind, our jib was enough sail to pull us along through the small swells of water as we headed out to sea. The joy and thrill of embarking on a 10-day, 1,700-mile voyage across the Caribbean Sea glowed from each of the four of us delivering this beautiful 65-foot catamaran sailboat to Panama City.

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Narragansett Fog
Long Island Sound, Rhode Island, United States

USCGWe sailed overnight, a full day and overnight again, not quite totally without incident. We found what looked like a nice abandoned pier around 90th Street to tie on to and wait out the ferocious ebb tide before trying to motor our way through Hells Gate. This is essentially where the North River (the Hudson), the East River and Long Island Sound all come together. It’s a narrow passage where a lot of water flows at speeds up to five knots with the tide.

Shawn and I were below on his 27-foot Bristol sail boat just chatting it up when we heard what sounded like a bilge pump engaging automatically. We didn’t have an automatic bilge pump. After cocking our heads at each other trying to sort it out, we popped our heads out of the companionway only to see we were being boarded by the Coast Guard.

It turns out we’re not allowed to tie up on this unmarked pier and we ended up with a citation – a boat parking ticket – before our trip began. The really interesting part was the NYPD floated up shortly afterwards (while Shawn was up the mast in the rigging clearing a line) and couldn’t believe we got a citation. The cops gave us some floating key chains and their condolences.

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Boat Jockey
Chesapeake Bay to Jersey Shore, Havre de Grace, Maryland, United States

It started off as a one-day job helping move a sailboat down the Jersey Shore. It ended up being three sailboat delivery jobs over the span of a week. When people buy a sailboat, it usually needs to be moved from the previous owner’s slip or the boat yard to it’s new home. Sometimes new […]

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Hudson (Winter) Sailing
Hudson River, New York City, New York, United States

Shawn and I departed New York City at 6.30am under light wispy clouds in an otherwise clear sky to drive about fifty miles north up the Hudson River. It took all day to get the boat in the water. We originally wanted to catch the early morning ebb. But that didn’t work out. We had […]

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Sea Kayak Tour
Cypress Island, Puget Sound, Washington, United States

The Dickman family from Pennsylvania came to the Great Northwest looking for a unique adventure that would suit their wide age range of children. With two sets of twins, David and Laura at nine years old, Natalie holding the middle ground at twelve, and the two older twins Amy and Maria, sixteen years of age a piece, they needed something equally stimulating and unburdening for the older to support the younger.

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Rafting the Grand
Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona, United States

How ironic that the pinnacle of whitewater rafting experiences is found over a mile deep into the earth.

As the Colorado River flows through the Grand Canyon, numerous side canyons and rock falls have deposited piles and piles of rocks and boulders to create some of the most notorious whitewater in the northern hemisphere. Because the constraining canyon walls rise thousands of feet above the river, it has no way to go around these impedances. It has no option but to go over these obstacles in a churning, violent, frothy flow. And once we’re in the canyon, we have no option but to navigate our way through these unyielding currents in our little rafts. As one of the earliest river runners of the Colorado in 1869 described it, the water snagged a boat and “whirled it around quick enough to take the kinks out of a ram’s horn.”

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Melgus 24 ODCA Regatta
Shilshoal Bay, Seattle, Washington, United States

Back in Seattle and I’m back on the water. This time however it’s time to sail with the Melgus 24 fleet. Paul who owns the boat works at K2 (as you’ll see through subtle hints in some of the photos) and needed a fourth to fill out his crew. The rest of the crew, Terry […]

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River Geology
Deschutes River, Trout Creek, Oregon, United States

My Uncle Eddie has been rafting for many, many years. I remember when I was young, doing 15 miles down the Santiam River (san-tee-AM), a tributary of the Willamette River in Western Oregon with him and a bunch of our family. Well, since then, I’ve started joining him on more trips and have been helping him guide trips.

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Canoeing Adventure
Flagstaff Lake, Bigelow Mountains, Maine, United States

It felt like the Lewis and Clark expedition. We put our canoes in Flagstaff Lake and began to paddle north around the Bigelow Mountain range. It was late morning and the lake was still calm. A light breeze was drifting in from the southwest, and our expedition of four canoes laden down with dry bags, […]

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