“Island Caper Restoration Project”

Find us on youtube

Episode # 12

(FEB 5TH, 2021)

Follow the journey of four friends restoring a 1974 Aluminum Swiftships Boat called the Island Caper into a full bar and restaurant operating throughout the Puget Sound, Seattle, and Bellingham, Washington. Our vision; Locally sourced food and adventures with complimentary world class service and good times.

Quick update

(July 1st, 2020)

It’s been a while since our last episode, we’ve been hard at work but things are a lot tougher now that we no longer have hired crew to help us with the refit process. Between refitting the Island Caper, finances, compliance with the Coast Guard, and all the other things we’ve got on our plates we are finding it hard to find any extra time for anything else. Right now our focus is singular, get the boat done as fast as we can.

Episode # 11

(March 22nd, 2020)

We’ve been cooped up like everyone else and are trying our best at keeping this project moving, despite the crazy pandemic happening right now. This is an update episode as we face self-quarantine and technical issues. Stay safe out there and WASH YO HANDS!

Episode # 10

(March 7th, 2020)

we start putting up the 50′ by 100′ sheets of plastic around the 3.5 story scaffolding structure surrounding our boat so that we can sandblast without contaminating the environment. But, as with most things having to do with boats, it didn’t go as planned… This is Part 1 of the saga not-so-fondly known as Windpocalypse!

Episode # 9

Feb 22nd, 2020

we begin the construction of our biggest ever fort. We begin with putting up scaffolding three stories tall all the way around the Caper. Things get a little dicey when Tom decides to climb up to secure the structure from getting blown around.

Episode # 8

Jan 17th, 2020

we look back at why we decided the Island Caper needed to be sandblasted and painted. We visit several boatyards on our search for a yard that will let us do it ourselves

Episode # 7

Jan 3rd, 2020

we share some big news and an update on where the Caper sits (spoiler alert shes back in the water finally!). We set some crab pots and then get right to work craning a lot of old equipment off the boat. We also start working on our rudders, propellors, and steam cleaning the bilge. Lastly. we show our attempt at project management.

Episode # 6

Dec 20th, 2020

we begin the long and arduous journey of having a large boat on land for a major refit. Day 1 was about getting her situated in our new home in Port Townsend, WA, in a little place called Boat Haven marina & yard. It has certainly proven to be a haven for our old boat; posting this more than one year later after much of the battle to save the Caper over, we can definitely say that.

Episode # 5

Dec 20th, 2019

Become a Patron and be a part of the dream! We are undertaking a project of a lifetime, and it is expensive! Funds will go directly to production costs of creating content and also help support our living expenses as crew, and yes running a business without having opened yet is rather daunting.

Episode # 4

july 6th, 2019

Become a Patron and be a part of the dream! We are undertaking a project of a lifetime, and it is expensive! Funds will go directly to production costs of creating content and also help support our living expenses as crew, and yes running a business without having opened yet is rather daunting.

Episode # 3

may 21st, 2019

We’re off to Port Townsend! But not without a few hiccups along the way…

Episode # 2

may 1st, 2019

We’re diving into the history of the Island Caper! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Episode # 1

April 16th, 2019

Meet the three partners who created Pacific Northwest Cruises, and learn a little bit about them!

History of island caper

March 1st, 2019

Meet the Island Caper!

The MV Island Caper has a long rich history –  a huge selling point for the Pacific Northwest Cruises partners. This 100 foot Swiftship aluminum vessel was built in 1974 in Morgan City, Louisiana to run crew and supplies out to the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.  She looked something like this back in the day:

Her original name was “Caper” which has several definitions; here they are in the order that we see applies the most:

  • (Verb) “To move about in a leaping or prance or skipping motion, in a playful manner.” “A Frolic Leap”
  •    An illegal or questionable act of escapade.
  •    An Amusing movie or story about such an act or escapade 
  •   A Capriocious escape: Prank   
  •   And lastly we cannot forgot the all important Caper  greenish flower bud or young       berries of caper pickled and used as a seasoning or garnish!


In the 1980’s it was retrofitted into a passenger vessel it traveled from the gulf up to Boston, where it served as a private passenger vessel.

In the mid 1990’s, the Caper was purchased by the the local legend, Terry Buzzard, who changed the name to “Island Caper,” which may or may not of been inspired by the TV show Cannon Episode 19, season 1, see below:

It is far more likely that Terry Buzzard knew that the boat would be constantly frequenting the beautiful San Juan Islands, and was inspired to changed the name due to that. We certainly think the name fits!

Buzzard was known for a wide gamut of marine work from towing and salvage to piloting the Christmas Ship around the islands.  He even journeyed up to Alaska to help with the Exxon Valdez oil spill clean-up effort. After making some serious money from the Exxon Valdez contracts, he bought the Island Caper, bringing it from Boston, through the Panama Canal, reportedly defended himself from pirates, weathered a severe storm, and ended up right here in Bellingham, WA.  He chartered the boat to America’s Cup in the early 90’s, where it was used by the officiates and as an event space.  It has served as a private charter for Budweiser during SeaFair in Seattle, WA. 

Terry Buzzard had a life size Orca Whale built to advertise the whale watching business.

When Buzzard passed in 2016, the Island Caper went on the market and the Pacific Northwest Partners (Kenny, Xander and Captain Tom) took possession in 2018.

And now, the Island Caper will enter another transformation – as a high-end dinner cruise.  Currently in Port Townsend, the Island Caper is getting a refit and makeover – new paint, taller windows to better take in the beauty of the San Juan’s, restaurant seating, wood bar and state-of-the art electric galley.

The partners considered renaming Island Caper but quickly realized that it embodies the spirit of the vessel and pacific northwest – cavorting around the San Juan Islands.

We look forward to having you join us on board soon! Watch the Episode for more information and a story about John Wayne!

Pursuing a dream and challenging the status quo. This is a story to follow.

o you love the majestic waters of the Pacific Northwest?  We do.  Do you love really good food and service?  We do.  We are excited to soon be offering breathtaking views in the Salish Sea, while also serving up hot, fresh, local, and gourmet cuisine, with classy cocktails and locally brewed beer and wine.  We have finalized the purchase of the legendary Island Caper, and now, the fun is just beginning with a full remodel of the boat.  When we are finished it will have brand new paint (this is a huge boat to paint), a fully functional commercial galley, and a world-class interior that will truly make you feel like you are on a classic luxury yacht.  Follow our story on Instagram, Youtube, and right here on the blog section of this site.  Our dream is simple, create the best dinner cruise in the Pacific Northwest.  We will measure our success through the special moments and experiences we create.  Our mission: Showcase the Pacific Northwest, for all of its natural beauty, culture, food, and wonderful people.  Now, its time to roll up our sleeves because this isn’t going to be easy.

Oh, we figure you should know who we are, so….


Internet, meet Kenny McCray, Tom Hofseth, and Xander Eustler pictured below in that order from left to right.  Yes, these three fine amigos are risking it all to answer an age old question… how does one (or three) start a dinner cruise?  And hopefully not, how does one not start a dinner cruise.  I am sure so many of you out there have wondered this very thing, so thankfully you have us.  In actuality, this isn’t your everyday project, so it should get interesting.  Follow this blog and watch the three of us put our heart and soul into creating something special, and fun too.  Because its gotta be fun, that’s why we signed up in the first place.

We have since stripped the interior down to the studs in the main dining room. Below you can see Partners Kenny McCray and Tom Hofseth plotting and planning the new layout.  Our layout will be key to creating the right atmosphere, while at the same time allowing for the most seats possible without it feeling crowded.  Who wants to feel like they are stuffed in like sardines when you are trying to enjoy a luxury meal? No no noooo, not on this cruise.