Susan’s Copper Beech

When Ben Nuttall-Smith and I stayed at Susan Musgrave’s Copper Beech B&B a few years ago, I was overwhelmed by the breathtaking beauty of the place and even more so by the ceiling-to-wall nick-knacks and art.
Ben took it all in stride, preferring to sit in his room and write.
Perhaps that really peculiar monster head on the wall – it looks for all the world like the head of the Creature From the Lost Lagoon, but is more likely to be a tuna skull? – perhaps it stirred some of Ben’s creativity as he was reworking “Mad God of the Toltecs”.
If you can get away to Masset on Haida Gwaii, that is the place to stay!
Has anyone heard how Stephen is doing?

What Is Happening To Our Glaciers?


Those who have explored the Alaskan coast report seeing changes over the years. Glaciers are retreating back past anything seen before.

When Patrick and Heather Hill sailed north in 1978, then again 2012 and 2015, they went despite the warning published in Alaskan Pilot: “The Aleutian Low looms over the North Pacific as a climatic warning to mariners navigating the Alaskan waters… Sustained winds may reach 60 to 70 knots… [with] extreme wave heights of 60 to 70 feet.”

Braving the potential weather issues, they found that, for instance, the Hubbard Glacier at Yakutat Bay used to cover the whole bay in the 12th Century. It has retreated to considerable extent, so that in recent times it separated into several smaller glaciers around the land bordering Canada and Alaska. Any further retreat could open an access to the sea for Canada at that point.

In addition to seeing the glaciation that had occurred over time, Patrick and Heather both felt and viewed earthquake damage. They were cruising leisurely around Prince William Sound, when they heard “a rumbling throughout the boat… A very alarmed crew, also realising it was an earthquake, erupted into the cockpit wondering what might happen next… Heather’s reaction was, ‘We should watch if the sea level is dropping.'” That would have been an indication that a tsunami was approaching, which would have tossed the boat onto the shore.

It didn’t. The earthquake was measured at 6.4, having done some damage to their next port of call, Valdez.

The combination of dramatic storms, calving glaciers and earthquakes made the Alaska trip full of present-day adventure and wonder at the past events that have shaped the coast.

Their book is available here: “Explore the Alaskan Coast”

In A Cloud of Sails


Born in North Vancouver as the Monte Cristo, this majestic square-rigger sailed down the west coast of the United States then across to Tahiti. After changing name to Endeavour II, her young crew and skipper braved the vast Pacific once again to rendezvous in Botany Bay with Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate Australia’s bicentenary in 1970.
This remarkable story will be available in print by July 1st 2017.