Sailor gone a month, wife clings to hope

Times Colonist - - Front Page - DIRK MEISSNER

The wife of one of two miss­ing Bri­tish Columbia sailors says her hus­band’s dream voy­age has be­come a night­mare as days pass with­out word from him.

Leah Bliss said her friends and psy­chics are telling her to hold onto the thread of hope that her hus­band, Daniel Arch­bald, is some­where safe, but it’s been al­most a month since he dis­ap­peared.

She said she has had to pre­pare their two daugh­ters, nine and five years old, for the worst.

“It’s re­ally dif­fi­cult ex­plain­ing to chil­dren a sit­u­a­tion like this,” Bliss said. “It’s even dif­fi­cult for adults to grasp the con­cept of miss­ing. When I told [my daugh­ters], I tried to be as hon­est as pos­si­ble. I ex­plained he was miss­ing but it didn’t look good.”

The RCMP said the dis­ap­pear­ance of Arch­bald and Ryan Da­ley is con­sid­ered sus­pi­cious and is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Van­cou­ver Is­land In­te­grated Ma­jor Crime Unit.

Po­lice said Arch­bald, 37, and Da­ley, 43, were last seen May 16 walk­ing from the har­bour dock area in Ucluelet. The two men can be seen on video car­ry­ing back­packs and duf­fel bags.

The pair had ar­rived in Ucluelet on May 13 af­ter a lengthy voy­age from Panama on board a sail­boat.

Ucluelet dock­mas­ter Kevin Cortes, who was the last per­son to see them on May 16, said they had paid for one month of moor­age for the boat.

Cortes said that Arch­bald and Da­ley ap­peared healthy but tired af­ter a long trip, adding he no­ticed noth­ing un­usual about them dur­ing the three days they spent in Ucluelet.

RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saun­der­son said Wed­nes­day po­lice had no new de­tails to re­port but an ac­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues.

Bliss said she and friends and rel­a­tives were on their way back to Van­cou­ver Is­land on Wed­nes­day from where the fam­ily lives in Squamish to search the many log­ging roads and ravines along the wind­ing 100-kilo­me­tre stretch of the Pa­cific Rim High­way be­tween Port Al­berni and Ucluelet.

“We have so many psy­chics telling us that Dan is still alive some­where,” she said. “You don’t know what to be­lieve. We hope he’s alive out there some­where, but I have no sign of that.”

Bliss said her hus­band sounded in good spir­its and noth­ing seemed out of the or­di­nary in her most re­cent phone con­ver­sa­tions with him.

“Even when I last spoke to him, he seemed re­ally well rested and happy. Just ex­cited,” she said. “I have no idea what’s gone on. That’s just re­ally try­ing to piece the puz­zle to­gether.”

Bliss said Arch­bald and Da­ley were look­ing for a ride from Ucluelet to Jor­dan River, where Da­ley lives.

“Who did they get a ride with? That’s the real ques­tion,” she said. “That’s where it ends.”

Bliss said her hus­band was a life­long sailor and the voy­age from Panama to the West Coast was a great ad­ven­ture for him. She said he bought the ves­sel two years ago in hopes of us­ing it to start a sail­ing and char­ter busi­ness in B.C.

“He’s never done a long trip like that,” Bliss said.

“For him it was just a dream to have that time to be able to sail it back up here. The plan was to have it fixed up there for a rea­son­able rate and bring it back up.”

She de­scribed her hus­band as a trust­ing per­son who did not cre­ate en­e­mies.

“He was a soft-spo­ken, kind-hearted, con­sid­er­ate per­son who never re­ally pushed any­body’s but­tons or any­thing,” Bliss said.

“He’s just a good guy. He’s a hip­pie. It’s hard to imag­ine any­body would want to do any­thing to these guys.”

You don’t know what to be­lieve. We hope he’s alive out there some­where, but I have no sign of that

– Leah Bliss, wife of miss­ing sailor, Daniel Arch­bald

Ryan Da­ley

UCLUELET RCMP PHO­TOS

Daniel Arch­bald

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