Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 29-09-2011, 15:42   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 63
Inside Passage: Best Season ?

Id like to know what is the optimal time to do the inside passage from seattle to alaska and back. How long would we need to do this? I assume the best season is in the summer? is this the best season to see wildlife as well?
any help would be great
__________________

__________________
bdurham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-09-2011, 07:22   #2
Registered User
 
NewMoon's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Holladay, UT
Boat: Nordic Tugs 37
Posts: 284
Images: 13
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

Depends somewhat on your tolerance for weather. In our small power cruiser, I'd say early May through mid September. I'd prefer not to be north of Cape Caution after the equinox, when the North Pacific high is breaking down and stronger storms are more common.

This is also a great time for whale watching and for all the other critters. Also good for halibut and salmon fishing, although King salmon fishing is probably best on the early end.

If you're traveling slow (as we generally do) you'd probably want at least three, preferably four, months to enjoy it well.
__________________

__________________
Richard Cook
Dream Catcher (Nordic Tugs 37)
"Cruising in a Big Way"
NewMoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-09-2011, 12:25   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 63
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

we would probably being doing the trip in a sailboat. what are the winds like at that time of year? And is it easy to plan layovers at towns on the way to get supplies and fuel?
__________________
bdurham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-09-2011, 13:31   #4
Registered User
 
NewMoon's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Holladay, UT
Boat: Nordic Tugs 37
Posts: 284
Images: 13
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

Not having a sailboat, I don't have direct experience with the winds for sailing purposes. Nasty weather usually seems to come from south-southeast much of the time. Often winds are below 15 knots (my preference). Most sailors I see are motoring most of the time.

There are plenty of places to get provisions, except along the north coast of BC (between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert). On the North Coast, Bella Bella is probably the place with most to choose from, unless you go way inside, up the very long inlets to either Bella Coola or Kitimat.

Here's a blurb on fuel stops I put together recently:


There are lots of fuel docks in the San Juans, Gulf Islands, and along the BC mainland on the east side of the Strait of Georgia. There's fuel at Campbell River and a few other places in the Desolation Sound area. North of there fuel docks are further apart.

There are fuel stops on the west side of Vancouver Island, but I'm not current on that area.

We've been cruising mostly SE Alaska the last few summers, so may not be current on BC fuel dock changes - I've heard that some have closed down rather than upgrade facilities as required. The Waggoner Guide may be a good source of more current BC info. But, here are some we know of:

Broughtons and Queen Charlotte Strait:


Pierre's at Echo Bay
Sullivan Bay
Lagoon Cove
Port McNeill
Sullivan Bay
Port Hardy

BC North Coast:


Duncanby Landing
Dawson's Landing
Bella Bella
Shearwater
Klemtu
Hartley Bay
Prince Rupert

I'm sure there's fuel at Bella Coola and Kitimat, but we haven't been there yet.

SE Alaska:

Ketchikan
Yes Bay in Behm Canal
Thorne Bay
Wrangell
Petersburg
Kake
Point Baker
Angoon (M-F, I think)
Tenakee Springs
Sitka
Craig
Juneau
Hoonah
Bartlett Cove (Glacier Bay)
Elfin Cove
Pelican
Haines
Skagway

If you have a safe range of 200 nm you should be able to get around more or less anywhere. If you can do 300 nm you'll be more flexible in your routes, with less planning for fuel stops.



I'd recommend the Douglass "Exploring" series of cruising guides, three of them: Exploring the South Coast of BC, Exploring the North Coast of BC, and Exploring Southeast Alaska.



I also have a list of anchorages that we consider useful/desirable, which I could send to your email if you like. This summer was our tenth trip to Alaska, and we've done several more in BC.
__________________
Richard Cook
Dream Catcher (Nordic Tugs 37)
"Cruising in a Big Way"
NewMoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-09-2011, 13:49   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
hummingway's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Gabriola Island & Victoria, British Columbia
Boat: Cooper 416 Honeysuckle
Posts: 6,933
Images: 5
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewMoon View Post
Depends somewhat on your tolerance for weather. In our small power cruiser, I'd say early May through mid September. I'd prefer not to be north of Cape Caution after the equinox, when the North Pacific high is breaking down and stronger storms are more common.
It's important whatever your plans to keep an eye on the weather alerts. This year September has been pretty vicious north of Georgia Strait with Hecate getting 70 knots and big waves over an extended period.
__________________
“We are the universe contemplating itself” - Carl Sagan

hummingway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-09-2011, 14:22   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 15
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

August is known as "fogust" when you get north of Port McNeil it can get to zero visibilty n. of Cape Caution for days on end. This last summer had bad weather until august in Nanaimo and north. US boat came in and reported only 3 days in July when it didn't rain. Normal summers weather is great starting mid may so see what the long term forecasts are to time trip from P McNeal and north. Its beautiful and sparsely settled. Georgia Straight Boat traffic is high in Desolation Sound and Princess Louisa Inlet (off Jervis Inlet) starting when schools let out but scenery in both areas is better than N of Van Island. 3rd scenery choice would be Broughton archepeligo.
__________________
burgoynebc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-09-2011, 15:00   #7
Registered User
 
NewMoon's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Holladay, UT
Boat: Nordic Tugs 37
Posts: 284
Images: 13
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

Interesting - I heard lots of reports of poor weather in BC this year, but where we were (launching at Prince Rupert and cruising SE Alaska) the weather was great, except for a few days in the third week of August. We were off the water early this year, on August 19.
__________________
Richard Cook
Dream Catcher (Nordic Tugs 37)
"Cruising in a Big Way"
NewMoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-09-2011, 15:31   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

Winds for sailing can be light during the summer. The natives call sail boats "stick boats" because they so seldom have their sails up. The inside passage gets narrow in many places north of Georgia Strait which isn't conducive to good sailing. It is imperative to have a solid engine for the passage trip. Of course you can always choose to go outside for parts of the trip and get in some good sailing.
__________________
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-09-2011, 16:06   #9
Registered User
 
Astrid's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Northern British Columbia, part of the time in Prince Rupert and part of the time on Moresby Island.
Boat: 50-ft steel Ketch
Posts: 1,885
Send a message via MSN to Astrid Send a message via Yahoo to Astrid
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

Quote:
It's important whatever your plans to keep an eye on the weather alerts. This year September has been pretty vicious north of Georgia Strait with Hecate getting 70 knots and big waves over an extended period.
That's for sure--well over a week now.

Winds tend to be westerly or northwesterly once you have cleared the Georgia Strait, quite variable in Hecate, then southerly or southwesterly north of Graham Island. If you are heading North, be prepared to motor quite a bit until you are past Hecate Strait. It would be a good idea to get used to navigating with radar as well, as fog is frequently encountered, and be prepared for sudden wind changes both in direction and windspeed.
__________________
'Tis evening on the moorland free,The starlit wave is still: Home is the sailor from the sea, The hunter from the hill.
Astrid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-09-2011, 16:57   #10
Registered User
 
Herbseesmoore's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Traverse City, Mi, US
Boat: Wharram Tangaroa 36ft
Posts: 214
Images: 10
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

We didn't make Alaska this year, only to the Seymour Inlet. We got very little sailing. With light winds and strong currents we motored most of the time. Listening to others and the unnormal weather patterns (our first trip, so nothing to compare it to) No one really knows. I believe if you want to sail go early, say May. Have a good heater, mornings are chilly. If you go July and August, like we did it was very settled. More than once I heard "all rain north of Cape Caution". The way I figure it, no one really knows how it will be next year and everyone's experience is different. A few years back a buddy went to Alaska and sailed 1 day in 60 and it at least drizzled every day. That was Jul and Aug.
__________________
"When the world was flat as a pancake, Mona Lisa was happy as a clam" J. Prine
Herbseesmoore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-09-2011, 21:05   #11
Registered User
 
Astrid's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Northern British Columbia, part of the time in Prince Rupert and part of the time on Moresby Island.
Boat: 50-ft steel Ketch
Posts: 1,885
Send a message via MSN to Astrid Send a message via Yahoo to Astrid
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

That sounds about right for this area. Your best bet for sailing is off shore, but in the inland passage, it's pretty chancy.
__________________
'Tis evening on the moorland free,The starlit wave is still: Home is the sailor from the sea, The hunter from the hill.
Astrid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-09-2011, 22:13   #12
Registered User
 
Capt Phil's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Stateline NV
Boat: Prior boats: Transpac 49; DeFever 54
Posts: 2,749
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

Get yourself to Bull Harbour on Hope Island by mid May, wait for weather, make sure you have a great, not good, functioning radar and head for the bottom of the Charlottes at 0 dark 30. You should make it across in about 24 hours and out of the Pacific growlers. As the wind begins to pipe up in the afternoon the ride gets smoother. It's a walk in the park once you make the turn north inside... many good memories of that part of the world... Capt Phil
__________________
Capt Phil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2011, 09:12   #13
Registered User
 
Astrid's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Northern British Columbia, part of the time in Prince Rupert and part of the time on Moresby Island.
Boat: 50-ft steel Ketch
Posts: 1,885
Send a message via MSN to Astrid Send a message via Yahoo to Astrid
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

Well said Phil
__________________
'Tis evening on the moorland free,The starlit wave is still: Home is the sailor from the sea, The hunter from the hill.
Astrid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2011, 11:54   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 63
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

What about places for refueling and reprovisioning once you are out on the queen charlotte islands?
__________________
bdurham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2011, 12:28   #15
Registered User
 
Capt Phil's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Stateline NV
Boat: Prior boats: Transpac 49; DeFever 54
Posts: 2,749
Re: Inside Passage: Best Season ?

Main provisioning ports used to be Sandspit, Skidegate and Alliford Bay on the east coast. Also used to be a general store and fuel dock at the head of the SW inlet on Lyell Island a bit further south but limited variety.
Sorry, my info is a bit dated so there may be others I forget... Capt Phil
__________________

__________________
Capt Phil is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
'THE PIRATES OF SOMALIA: Inside Their Hidden World' by Jay Bahadur GordMay The Library 13 13-09-2011 15:53
Crusing , Passage Making and General Liveaboard Videos fyodor1564 General Sailing Forum 20 30-07-2011 16:33



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:22.


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.