Steve Gropp to speak about boat and kayak passages

Steve Gropp, hosted by the Wooden Boat Society of the San Juans, will speak at 6:45 p.m. on Sunday, March 8 at the Odd Fellows Hall.

In the years between 1979 and 1985, longtime Orcas Islanders Steve and Mary Gropp made a series of long-distance wilderness voyages by rowing boat and kayak. These included two transits of the Inside Passage from Orcas Island to Southeast Alaska as well as a complete 80-day circumnavigation of Vancouver Island in a 16’ wooden Banks dory.

Trading the dory for a wood-framed folding military kayak they made a challenging voyage starting in Juneau, Alaska, then heading west via Icy Strait and Glacier Bay to make a complete circumnavigation of Yakobi, Chichagof and Baranoff Islands, returning north by way of Chatham Strait and Lynn Canal to Skagway. This 70-day trip was a shakedown cruise for a 145-day kayak trip in 1983 to the wild and remote icy coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador in Atlantic Canada. This was followed the next year by a solo kayak circumnavigation of Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island from Petersburg as well as a voyage from Skidegate to Anthony Island, returning to Haida Gwaii.