By Mike Maltais
Any day now, if all goes as planned, a former Methow Valley resident will embark on an adventure that few get the chance to experience.
Tyler Rowland, a 2006 graduate of Liberty Bell High School and now living in Ventura, Calif., will depart the California coast with three friends and a dog named Ketch for an around-the-world adventure aboard a 31-foot Colombia 9.6 sailboat called the Emma Belle.
Rowland, son of Keith and Patsy Rowland in Winthrop, grew up in the Methow.
“Sea is not in our vocabulary; we’re from Montana,” Keith Rowland said.
Originally from Montana and North Dakota, the Rowlands followed a U.S. Forest Service job to the valley in 1981.
“Tyler has always been the adventurer in the family,” his father said. He admits that while the prospect of seeing his son embark on an around-the-globe trip “is somewhat unnerving,” it certainly qualifies on the bucket list as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Following high school graduation, Tyler attended Montana State University for two years. He worked as a wildland firefighter and met friends Kevin Schank and Eric Elliott while on a Hotshot crew in Colorado. Rounding out the group is Elliott’s girlfriend, Pam O’Donnell and, of course, Ketch, who was rescued nearly frozen during a snowstorm on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.
“We have an expedition mindset which means anything can change at any time,” says a promotional video on the crew’s website available to viewers online at www.MoreHandsOnDeckHQ.com.
The proposed route of the four adventurers will follow the Pacific Coast to Central America and then, following the monsoon season, they plan to head west on a 30-day leg to the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific.
They will skirt the northern tip of Australia, sail through Indonesia and enter the most dangerous part of the voyage from the southern tip of India through “pirate infested waters” to the Red Sea.
The crew will traverse the Mediterranean for a final leg across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and back to their starting point.
Along the way Rowland and friends will document “the entire voyage through photography, writing and film producing a constant stream of short films and a full blown documentary at the end of the entire voyage.”