Wife says husband on dream voyage from Panama, now ‘heartbreaking’ disappearance

Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Daniel Archbald is seen in an undated handout photo. Daniel Archbald, 37, and Ryan Daley, 43, were last seen leaving the Ucluelet Small Craft Harbour by land May 16. They had been on a sailboat docked in Ucluelet May 13. After they failed to have any contact with family and friends, they were reported missing to police.

VICTORIA — 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’s 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,” said Bliss. “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 on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The two men can be seen on video carrying their 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 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 Wednesday from where the family lives in Squamish, B.C., 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, located by car about 350 kilometres south. Daley lived at Jordan River.

“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 life-long 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,” said Bliss. “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,” said Bliss. “He’s just a good guy. He’s a hippie. It’s hard to imagine anybody would want to do anything to these guys.”

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