Once a newspaper publisher in Canada, Wally tired of that life. He bought a Dufour 34 sailboat, named her Gypsy Wind, and headed south to celebrate his 50th birthday in the Florida Keys, joined by his best friend from high school and an assortment of sailing friends from the internet, most of whom had never met previously. Since that time, he has been sailing in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Cuba, the Gulf of Mexico, and 17 trips on the ICW, plus several more through three of the five Great Lakes.
Eventually, the lure of writing (and a desire to continue cruising) prompted Wally to return to his roots, writing for a living. He now writes regularly for SAIL Magazine and Waterway Guides as a Cruising Editor. He has also branched out into giving seminars on sailing – his two most popular are Sailing South – First Timer’s Guide to the ICW, and Forbidding, Forbidden Cuba, the story of his first trip to Cuba’s north shore. To see trailers of Wally’s videos, go to www.thesailingchannel.tv/icw or www.thesailingchannel.tv/cuba
With his return to writing, he was fortunate enough to be sent to Tahiti by SAIL Magazine to cover a regatta there, where Moorings gave him a 42 foot sailboat to play with during his time there. Within a few days he was anchored in Bora Bora, wondering if he should ever return – and would Moorings notice the boat missing if he didn’t? That story can be found at www.sailmag.com/pacific_pearl
Wally now sails with Aduana, a Cuban puppy who adopted him on the docks in Varadero as a two month old, eight pound, quivering ball of fluff. That meeting led to having to smuggle Aduana out of Cuba, into the US, and ultimately back to Canada. While the entire story cannot be told until the statute of limitations expires, astute readers will reach certain conclusions when given the fact that Aduana means ‘customs’ in English.
Wally is currently working on a book based on his First Timer’s Guide seminar and looks forward to a time when he can safely publish Aduana’s story as a children’s book.