Writing on the Water – A San Juan Islands Retreat

Do You Have a Sense of Adventure and a Desire to Write?


We’ve added something new, especially for writers. Writing on the Water is a 5-day writer’s retreat and cruise in the San Juan Islands that will take you where trails through lush forests and sandstone shorelines stir the creative juices. These Islands are one of the best kept secrets in the Pacific Northwest and were recently listed as one of the top places to visit in 2011 by the New York Times.

Each day will start with time for yoga or meditation on deck followed by a morning writing session. In the afternoons when the David B is underway for new anchorages, you and your shipmates will be in critique sessions that will help you refine your writing skills.

This cruise is perfect for both beginners and experienced writers. You’ll have the time and encouragement to explore therapeutic and transformative benefits of creative writing. Each day you’ll draw on your own life history, the work of local writers, and your journey aboard the David B to create poetry, fiction, memoir, travel journal, or any kind of writing moves you. The emphasis is on process and experiment in a non-judgmental atmosphere where every contribution is valued and celebrated.


Ann Treganza has worked at the National Writers’ Centre for Wales, and with writers throughout her career. She is keen to help people experience the joy and love of words inspired by the magic of life’s experiences and to facilitate confidence in writing creatively. Ann will help you express the beauty of the landscape with your pen as you embark on a literary adventure navigating the tricky waters between the writer’s inspiration and destination on the page.

In 2010 Ann traveled aboard the David B on a cruise in Alaska and was so entranced by the gentle rhythm of the David B’s engine and the adventures she experienced, that she was inspired to create Writing on the Water.

Itinerary for Writing on the Water

Trip is limited to 5 people
Dates: September 7-11, 2011
Cost: $1250 for cabins, Coho, Chinook, and Sockeye – $1100 for Keta (shared cabin). See layout of the David B

Day 1:

Board the M/V David B in Bellingham, WA. at 9:00am. After everyone has stowed their belongings and toured the boat, we’ll be underway for Sucia Island. During the time we are cruising to Sucia, Ann will conduct a session that will bring you together as a group. Once at Sucia you’ll have time to go ashore and explore or meditate.


Day 2:

Each morning Ann will lead you through yoga and relaxation techniques to focus your mind on writing. At breakfast she’ll discuss the day’s activities. The rest of the morning will be spent writing in a natural setting where the sandstones and madrone trees inspire relaxation and creativity. In the afternoon we’ll raise anchor and head to our next destination, Reid Harbor on Stuart Island.

Day 3:

Stuart Island is a great place to find inspiration to write. After breakfast we’ll pack a lunch and take a walk to the Turn Point Lighthouse where you’ll spend a couple of hours writing. The trail to the lighthouse passes through a deep forest and by the single room schoolhouse for the children of Stuart Island. A session of the day’s writing will happen on our way to our next anchorage in McKay Harbor, where we’ll cruise down the west side of San Juan Island in search of orca whales. In the evening we’ll read from the selected books that Ann has picked out for this trip.

Day 4:

Seabirds and wide-open vistas will be on order for the forth day of the cruise as you’ll spend time writing on Lopez Island’s Iceberg Point. The fresh sea breeze and call of Heermans Gulls and pigeon guillemots will serve as a backdrop for your writing exercises.


Day 5:

The David B will get underway after breakfast and cruise to Cypress Island for the last shore excursion. On Cypress you’ll enjoy writing on a pebble covered beach with a beautiful view of Mt. Baker, a 10,000 ft. snow covered peak. The last few hours of the cruise will be a time for sharing and reflection as we make our way back to Bellingham. The David B will return to the dock between 5:00 and 6:00pm.