Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 15-01-2014, 01:25   #1
Registered User
 
northoceanbeach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: California
Boat: Cape Dory 28
Posts: 445
Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

Last summer I went cruising around Washington and in the strait of Georgia. B. c.

I am looking to go farther this summer. How about Alaska and back.

How long does it take to get there from seattle? Can I get there and back in four months? When is the earliest you can safely leave? Is it worth it? Most people love Alaska. I'm really mostly just worried about the bad weather. It's a terrible conundrum. I love the Pacific Northwest but I hate clouds and rain. I'm not from Southern California but that's really the type of weather I like. Warm and dry.

The really only unpleasant thing about my last cruise was the clouds, cold and rain. However. This year I will hve a bigger boat with a heater so I'm looking forward to getting cozy and dry at night instead of huddled in several layers of clothing. Does the sun ever show after you leave port hardy and the protection of vancouver island?

How difficult is the trip and where would mark a good end. Ketchikan or Petersburg? Juneau?

After I get out of van isle, will I start to get some good wind? Any advice from those who have done it is appreciated. Or suggestions of other destinations. Some links to good websites. I'm more interested in the practical aspect from a website that is more like a guide than a travel blog.
__________________

__________________
northoceanbeach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-01-2014, 05:14   #2
Registered User
 
Strait Shooter's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Straits of Juan De Fuca
Boat: Ingrid
Posts: 786
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

Try this TGW.NET: Entertaining sailing stories, cool wallpapers and great photography
Or this: BC Canada North Coast and Southeast Alaska Images.

No first hand experience yet, but this is where I'm headed also.
__________________

__________________
"Waste your money and youíre only out of money, but waste your time and youíve lost a part of your life.Ē (Michael Leboeuf)
Strait Shooter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-01-2014, 05:41   #3
Wayfaring Mariner
 
captain58sailin's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Homer, AK is my home port
Boat: Skookum 53'
Posts: 4,045
Images: 5
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

Okay if you like warm and dry, head to Hawaii or the south Pacific. SE Alaska is one of the rainiest spots on earth, and it is cool compared to Cali. 4 months is more than enough time to go to SE Alaska and back. If you stick to the inside passage, there won't be much need for sails. I did have a two week period in Ketchikan in August, when it was hot and sunny. Not the norm, All the ports in SE Alaska are very interesting to visit. You might turn around once you get to Juneau, and head back home. There are many historic places in these towns that might interest you, there are a couple of microbreweries too. You can't beat the fishing, and the people are wonderful, though they do sometimes quack. (like a duck).
__________________
" Wisdom; is your reward for surviving your mistakes"
captain58sailin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-01-2014, 06:16   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: vancouver, canada
Boat: hunter 31
Posts: 609
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

We spent 2 weeks cruising Georgia Straight and Desolation Sound this summer, and it was cooler in Hawaii. No kidding, mid and late summer can get over 100 degrees in BC inland, and 90 on the water. Unfortunatly, you would likely be passing through the South Coast on your way to Alaska early in the season, but you may find your return trip hotter and sunnier, at least the Southern parts of BC. If you get a chance, try to spend a little time in Desolation and the Discoveries, There are some great communities, great salmon fishing, and some of BCs best and most spectacular beaches and cruising grounds. (if you like fishing and fresh seafood, bring HEAVY gear for some BC or Alaska halibut.) All the best.
__________________
shorebird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-01-2014, 07:08   #5
Wayfaring Mariner
 
captain58sailin's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Homer, AK is my home port
Boat: Skookum 53'
Posts: 4,045
Images: 5
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

Also throw in a collapsible shrimp pot, and a crab ring, there is plenty of good eating.
__________________
" Wisdom; is your reward for surviving your mistakes"
captain58sailin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-01-2014, 08:02   #6
Registered User
 
NewMoon's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Holladay, UT
Boat: Nordic Tugs 37
Posts: 285
Images: 13
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

We've traveled BC and SE Alaska extensively over the past 21 years in small boats, 22 and 26' power cruisers. Summers in BC and SE AK vary a great deal - last summer SE AK was the warmest and driest in ~20 years. Other years we were in rain gear much of the time.

For us, keeping warm and dry is highly desirable, and some challenge on the "Rain Coast" in a small boat. With an inside helm, and heat underway, it's relatively easy. A sailboater would sure want a dodger or some other way of keeping out of the weather at the helm.

You probably know this, but: good rain gear and boots are a must. Rain pants too. Gore tex waterproof light hikers for comfortable walking in rain are highly recommended. Fleece layers work really well for warmth.

Earliest we took off from Everett was May 9. Latest we would want to be south of Cape Caution would be Sept 15. Time required depends somewhat on your cruising speed - we travel mostly at 6 knots, and cover 30-50 nm in an average day. Occasionally we do 80 nm or more, to make it comfortably across a major section of open water, such as rounding Cape Caution or crossing the Dixon Entrance. Wandering around a good bit, we covered 4,000 nm the one year we traveled from Everett all the way up and back, in 3.5 months. Most years we do either BC or SE AK, not the whole thing. There's so much to see and do and only 3-4 months to do it in. We trailer from our home in Utah to Washington or to Prince Rupert BC to launch. Most years we do 2,000 to 2500 nm on the water.

Fishing crabbing and shrimping are a hoot - great seafood is all around you. Scenery and critter watching are to die for - better and better as you get further north. The anchorages are delightful.

Is is worth it? For me, very fond of being out in the wilds where the beauty is indescribable and there are more critters than people, nothing could be better.

If you're interested I could share a lot more detail, recommended routes and anchorages, fishing gear and technique, whale watching, and much else. Photos too - here's one link to a Picasa album. There are lots more if you like these.

You are invited to view Richard Cook's photo album: Cruising SE Alaska (and BC)
[IMG]imap://richardcook257%40gmail%2Ecom@imap.googlemail.com:9 93/fetch%3EUID%3E/INBOX%3E22564?part=1.3&filename=email.jpg[/IMG]
Cruising SE Alaska (and BC)
Southeast Alaska -
Jan 6, 2010
by Richard Cook
Boat trips from several years, mostly 2006-2009.

View Album

Play slideshow

If you are having problems viewing this email, copy and paste the following into your browser:
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sred...yAE&feat=email

To share your photos or receive notification when your friends share photos, get your own free Picasa Web Albums account.
__________________
Richard Cook
Dream Catcher (Nordic Tugs 37)
"Cruising in a Big Way"
NewMoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-01-2014, 12:35   #7
Registered User
 
northoceanbeach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: California
Boat: Cape Dory 28
Posts: 445
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

Those are some great photos! I did spend five months nonstop between seattle(well I actually never went to seattle) to the discovery islands last year. Everyone was saying it was just a great summer but I found it cold and cloudy except for July between Vancouer and desolation. That's the part where it was sunny and dry.

They also don't tell you about the humidity. I think of the west as dry. Winter in vail Colorado made my nose bleed! But most places west of the Rockies have low humidity but up in the San Juan's it was like a swamp. 85-95% most days and I just feel disgusting wearing a smartwool short that feels like...well.

But f it. I'm doing it again and I'm getting a bit bigger boat. I didn't have a heater or anything much higher than camping last year so I'm hoping that will fix most of the problem.

What I do like and why I want to try again despite the weather is:
Nice people. Good demographics.

Awesome scenery, caveat. When sunny. It's probably as scenic as anywhere in te world.

Liberal laws. No red tape. I do want to sail California but it doesn't seem like you are allowed to.

Tons of choices. If I get a little better and could go outside there is access to the world.
__________________
northoceanbeach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2014, 10:00   #8
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 30
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

I live in Terrace, just a ways in from Prince Rupert BC. Lots of nice places up and down the coast here but if you want to be warm all the time it may not be the best choice. Lots of adventure and wildness though, and grub to be had. Last summer for us was one of the best in many years with lots of days of sunshine, I also grew up here in the rainforest so I might not 'see' the rain as much as someone else. It's just water put on a jacket. Make sure to stop in at the hotsprings on the way up the inside passage there are some nice ones to warm your bones.
__________________
DRussell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2014, 10:20   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,369
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

If you havent fully explored BC, no point in taking so much time going clear up to Alaska... very much the same type of environment. I'm definitely not dissing Alaska though! Wonderful... Rounding Van Isle and spending a lot of time in the inside going north could be a great 3-4 month trip. It sounds like you only touched on the most inhabited parts last trip. Seafood abounds, there are hot springs, waterfalls and lakes to swim in, abandoned indian villages with totem poles standing and laying and those friendly Canadians with their good beer!
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2014, 10:22   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Home port is San Diego, California but currently cruising the East Coast of the USA.
Boat: Contest 48
Posts: 638
Images: 1
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

After a 23-day passage from Honolulu, we made landfall at Sitka. From there we took the inside passage route up to Glacier Bay. 'Reservations' are needed to enter Glacier Bay and the maximum time you can stay there is two weeks, which is too bad as we could have easily spent a month or more there. As recently as 1900, Glacie Bay was still completely filled with ice so it's a rare opportunity to see some very primitive and undisturbed natural beauty. It's kind of like cruising above timber line - nothing short of spectacular. We spent almost a week anchored off of Ried Glacier and tried to make our way up to Johns-Hopkins Glacier but there was just too much ice.

Our kids were young at the time so we decided to spend the Fourth of July in Juneau and things were really hopping when we arrived there. Our kids were disappointed though when we learned that the fireworks had been shot off at 0200 on the morning of the Fourth as that was the only time it was dark enough to see them!

We stopped at 28 anchorages in 30 days once we left Juneau, a crazy fast pace. It was virtually all motoring and we lived by the currents/tide book and our clocks - there are many places you can only transit at slack tide. Regardless, it was an unforgettable trip and our family will always treasure the memory. For someone who doesn't live in the Pacific Northwest, chartering a trawler up there would be a vacation of a lifetime.

Fair winds and calm seas.
__________________
nhschneider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2014, 10:52   #11
Registered User
 
northoceanbeach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: California
Boat: Cape Dory 28
Posts: 445
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

How is the route from Alaska to Hawaii? Is it harder to sail from Alaska to Hawaii or seattle or about the same? I've heard it's the same distance, but I'm not sure about that pacific low.

Don't people in the northwest usually sail down the coast to LA and then over? What would you do going from Alaska?
__________________
northoceanbeach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-01-2014, 11:07   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 209
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

You are correct. From seattle or farther north you sail down the coast turn right at california. But coming back you need to sail north from hawaii till about half way to alaska then the winds will take you east to seattle, or sitka. This circular route follows the wind and currents. Going backwards would take a long time.

Sent from my SCH-I415 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
__________________
wellin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2014, 23:12   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Pacific Northwest
Boat: 1968 Alberg 30
Posts: 193
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

The only thing consistent about the weather in Alaska is that if you wait 10 minutes it will change! generally speaking the great pacific high sets in fully by Early July and you can have great sunny warm days for three or four weeks, then the fall sets in and August starts to turn nasty again. If you buy into a good cruising boat then you could go anywhere you want, just pick you weather window. Forecasts are usually predictable and accurate - usually.

Some of the best cruising grounds in Alaska are prince William Sound, kodak, and the kenaf Fjords near Seward - a four to five day passage (500 NM) across the Gulf of Alaska leaving icy straits at the north end of the Inside passage and heading north westerly to Hinchinbrook entrance opening into Prince William Sound. The Sound is generally very sheltered with moderate winds in the summer, with ferocious storms anytime after late august, building through winter and subsiding by mid June. I sailed and fished commercially in these waters for 25 years and can say they are the most magnificent areas on earth - particularity with daylight 20 hours a day in July!

Try googling Alaska cruising or maybe Alaska flotilla to find a group cruise up the inside passage! and join one of these flotillas perhaps as an alternative to going on your own. I would definitely stop into Sitka. Better weather than Ketchikan and plenty of facilities for outfitting and repair.


In any event, if you wanted to stay inside sheltered waters, you can go all the ways to Haines and back in three to four months easily. but it is a six week passage under motor in a small boat each way. And yes, it rains a lot in south east, except when in doesn't! And it is magnificent there as well.

Best of luck on your journey - don't delay, go for it. It will be an experience of a life time.

Oh yes, one can sail directly to Seward from Hawaii. Many boats actually do this. Set magnetic course 180 and 21 days latter, viola, anchor in Hanalei Bay, Kauai. Or go north, late spring May-June it's a great trip.
__________________
Glenn.Brooks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2014, 23:31   #14
Senior Cruiser
 
StuM's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Port Moresby,Papua New Guinea
Boat: FP Belize Maestro 43
Posts: 6,713
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

> Oh yes, one can sail directly to Seward from Hawaii. Many boats actually do this. Set magnetic course 180

Navigation in the style of Wrong Way Corrigan?
__________________
StuM is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 20-01-2014, 00:12   #15
Registered User
 
ksanders's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: ALASKA
Boat: BAYLINER 4788
Posts: 130
Re: Alaska? Is it that great, or terrible weather?

I've boated in Prince William Sound, and the Gulf of Alaska for well over a decade.

I've also made the inside passage twice, including Gulf of Alaska crossings each time.

Leaving the greater Seattle area before the first of May can be done, but summer is better, as the weather in April is just starting to warm up.

Expect Rain. Prepare for rain. Bring the best rain gear you can buy.

Did I mention it will be rainy part of the time?

Alaska is a beautiful place. Here you will more often than not find yourself alone in an anchorage. You'll see eagles, bears, whales, and a host of other wildlife. If you're here in august you can watch the salmon spawning in the streams.

For towns, you'll find enough to keep you interested for much longer than a summer.

Come as far north as you'd like. Explore towns like Kodiak, Seward, Cordova. Visit Prince William Sound.

Just remember this...

Plan on crossing the Gulf of Alaska southbound by the first of September.... or plan on spending the winter.
__________________

__________________
Kevin Sanders
Bayliner 4788
Seward, Alaska
ksanders is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
alaska, rib, weather

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:51.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.