by Penny Talbot

It feels odd interviewing someone I have known almost all my life, but my conscience and better judgement tells me I should probably refrain from writing about my dear friends and fellow boaters Cam and Kim Kemp, without at least attempting to get their side of the story.

Although we have known each other for a long time, it is just in the past six or seven??? Kim, you can correct this one…. years that they have become part of the boating community and we have been able to share on-the-water ( and near death) experiences with them. And boy, when these two do something… there are no half measures!

1) Cam / Kim – can you tell us about how and why you started out with boating, and what precipitated your move from a large fast power boat ( their first boat, I might add) to a larger, slower, and much more stable trawler?

As you know (‘cuz you were there !), our first power boating experience was chartering a Bayliner and heading up the BC coast with a group of “long time boater” friends in their boats.

We enjoyed both the social aspect of boating, as well as the challenge of it. It is a very “active” hobby requiring much planning … weather, boat issues/ repairs, route planning & food provisioning… and Cam and I are planners , so it’s a good fit !!

After that experience, Cam convinced me that buying a boat would satisfy both my desire for waterfront property and his desire for a challenging and fun hobby, moving towards retirement.

We bought a beautiful Meridian 459 and aptly called it WATERFRONT. Life was good.

Then we attended Trawlerfest in Anacortes with friends (that’d be YOU guys), and began to consider journeying farther than our own backyard of the PNW. It all sounded very exotic !

Cam began to research boats that had a much greater fuel range, stabilizers, and mass making for a more stable, safe passage. Nordhavn was the answer to that and after looking at sizes and styles, we set our sights on a 60.

A little divine intervention …. And here we are with N60-44 SEA LEVEL II !!

2) You found Sea Level II in Anacortes – tell me about that experience – I know you fell in love with the town, and were thrilled you could keep your boat down there for as long as you did. What drew you down there, and what kept you there?

Anacortes has to be one of THE MOST CHARMING TOWNS anywhere. It has a very active boating and arts community …. Lots to do, great restaurants, fun shops, and great people !! For many years, Anacortes was host to Trawlerfest, and while attending our first one, we met a boat broker named Frank Durksen (AAA Yacht Finders.) Frank noticed a Canadian lapel pin that Cam had on his jacket and came over to chat …. Frank used to live in Winnipeg and our eldest son currently lives in Winnipeg. Frank and Ellie also have ties to BC through family, so we had lots to chat about. They are wonderful people and have become friends through this process ….

Some time after that, Frank got a listing for an N60 called Sea Level and I saw his ad in a Pacific Yachting magazine. Cam and I went down to check her out …. And loved her. The sellers, who had SL built, had chosen colors and finishes that were all our favorites …. She was perfect for us. We worked through some creative financing options which included selling our Meridian (in a very slow market) and “signed on the dotted line” ….. then pretty much didn’t sleep for the entire year it took to sell WATERFRONT.

We moored SEA LEVEL at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes for over a year working on an autopilot issue, travelling back and forth on weekends, from our home in Richmond. We enjoyed the time we spent down there. Once the autopilot was fixed, we “imported” her into Canada (ie wrote a BIG cheque) and moved her north !!

We have continued to keep in touch with Frank and Ellie.

3) My first introduction to Sea Level II was a text message Kim sent me with a picture of the boat’s bow behind her… which towered way over Kim ( who is not tall!) and all I could think of was ‘that is a lotta yachta”….. but you guys have taken to the water like the proverbial duck, and your handling and knowledge of the Nordhavn 60 is awe-inspiring. How did you manage to go from zero to 60, literally, so quickly?

You are right Penny, SEA LEVEL is a “lotta yachta” … but it has room for guests and having something we could share with friends and family was paramount in our decision to “upsize”.

How did we go from zero to 60 so quickly ?? One word …. CAMERON !! This has been his baby and he has dragged me (sometimes kicking and screaming) through the workings, the technology and the running of the boat …. Which I should add is an ONGOING process for me ! But it’s challenging and I have enjoyed it.

Through shared boating adventures, we have made many great friends (some old, some new!) Of course there are our dear friends, the Talbots (NORTHERN RANGER), the Dents (COLIBRI), the Fishers (DAYBREAK), the Goldbergs (DUET), the Donnellys (VARNEBANK), the Clevelands (IMPULSIVE) and the many people we have met through the Nordhavn “family” … the Haydens (TANGLEWOOD), the Talbotts (PIREDMUS), the Yates (BURNT SAND) and the list goes on.

4) What is it about boating that keeps you coming back for more? And what are some of the things you like best about boating?

We are privileged to be able to share SEA LEVEL with friends and family & take them to fun and beautiful places !! We have also been able to use SEA LEVEL in various community fundraisers (Variety Club)

5) What, if anything, do you like least about boating? and is there something you have found out about yourselves, or boating in general, that has surprised you?

I would have to say, the financial commitment is a BIG DOWNER for me … It seems like there is a mark up on most anything one needs to buy … and spending a lot of $$ on “things you hope you’ll never use” (like $14,000 life rafts etc) seems ludicrous to me. AND since there isn’t an endless supply of money but there seems to always be an endless “need” for things, it’s a bit frustrating.

People will tell you that a boat is a hole in the water in which to throw money …. They are not kidding, but the reality of it doesn’t really sink in until you are spending thousands and thousands of $$ month after month after month after month ….

One thing I have noticed about our boating experience, is that we work best together when we are on the boat and I feel like an equal partner in things ! I like that !!

6) Where do you see yourself next year? Five years from now? Is there a grand plan that you are following or are you flying by the seat of your pants?

This is a hard one to answer because our plans are so fluid, depending on who we talk to, how we are feeling, stuff going on at home (family, parents etc).

We would LOVE to take Sea Level through the Panama, for the experience. We may then, just visit a few spots on the Caribbean side, turn around and head back through. OR we might travel up the east coast. For sure we will at some point, bring Sea Level back to PNW and head up to Alaska. THAT is a bucket list thing…

7) Name five perfect, eureka, halleluja moments!

Tucked into ANY bay, rafted to our friends is magical …. Its peaceful and quiet and beautiful … I LOVE it !!

One that always comes to mind is Port Alexander (a long narrow bay near Port Hardy) under a full moon and rafted to our buddy boat, Northern Ranger …. it was MAGICAL.

I LOVED having my dad with us up at Shearwater. That was very special … for him AND for me !!

Our trip to Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox falls was another favorite, magical spot.

Meeting MANY new friends on the CUBAR would be another favorite thing. I know we will have these friendships forever …

Dropping an anchor up in the Sea of Cortez, in 25-30’ of clear blue water AND BEING ABLE TO SEE THE ANCHOR ON THE BOTTOM, was very cool …. And certainly not something we were used to boating in the grey waters of the PNW !! The Sea of Cortez is fabulous!!