The rowing crew of the James Robert Hanssen prepares to voyage through the Pacific Northwest’s unpredictable Salish Sea, and into the unforgiving Pacific Ocean. The expedition team will attempt to circumnavigate Vancouver Island in a counter-clockwise direction to strategically take full advantage of primary currents.

Rowing the Salish Sea. Photo Credit: Joel Rogers

The expedition team is also hoping to break Colin Angus record set last year for fastest circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.

Danger is constant. The April attempt may encounter a fury of sea foam, giant waves, bone-chilling temperatures, and dense fog. Additionally, coastal navigation will demand vigilance in the face of sleep deprivation. However, most dangerous would be an encounter with larger vessels under motor or sail, and a collision could easily slice OAR Northwest’s row boat in half.

Shipboard issues will also keep the team sleeping with one eye open. Crew dynamics in ultra-cramped quarters, equipment failure, and inability to meet one’s caloric needs adds to the pressure-cooker environment that is an ocean rowboat.