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Old 21-03-2014, 09:37   #1
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Inside Passage Trip in June

Working on Nomad in Everett, WA. She is a 38 Bruce Roberts Steel Pilothouse cutter. R and R engine and tranny complete. Working on transom redo and adding Davits. Autopilot(CPT) install next. Planning trip up inside passage early June to Sitke, AK. If anyone has any experience with the inside passage please post. This is a first for me and excited but still green at the north pacific stuff.

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Old 21-03-2014, 09:40   #2
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Re: Inside Passage Trip in June

I've rounded Van Isle starting in late June. Helluva nice trip. Havent went to Alaska aboard though. There's so much nice ground available without going that far... why go there first off? Just a thought.
Get a Canadian tide and current table and learn to read it for the inside passage. They are confusing as hell!

"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 21-03-2014, 10:28   #3
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Re: Inside Passage Trip in June

Might want to consider being at Baranof Warm Springs dock over summer solstice. SEAS (the Juneau Sailing club) sponsors the Admiralty Island Rally every year, and that is the mandantory 2 day layover point. Might be a lot of fun to meet up with other sailors.

They haven't updated the details for this years race, but they always try to make the 2 day layover to be during summer solstice. 2012 Admiralty Island Rally (AIR) | SouthEast Alaska Sailing

One pointer, get blackout shades for your cabin curtains, or if you want to go cheap, tape some tinfoil over the portlights. It doesn't get dark that time of year.

FYI I live and sail out of Juneau, and have run the AIR myself. Tons of fun!
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Old 21-03-2014, 10:39   #4
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Re: Inside Passage Trip in June

Oh, and one other major thing - the ocean coast of southeast Alaska looks particularly nasty on charts, rock after rock after rock. The reality of it is that it is pretty simple to navigate. My father (a commercial fisherman here) told me the secret. Due to the ocean swell and the kelp growth out there, it is extremely easy to stay out of the danger zone. Shallow rocks have waves breaking over them to mark them, and kelp marks the shallow spots. Stay out of the breakers and kelp, you will nearly always be ok.
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Old 21-03-2014, 11:06   #5
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Re: Inside Passage Trip in June

I would also recommend reading Waggoner's Cruising Guide:

Home | Waggoner Cruising Guide

And if you're looking for some ideas of where to stop during the trip you might look at some of the itineraries used for some of the flotillas. has some good information.
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Old 21-03-2014, 11:36   #6
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Re: Inside Passage Trip in June

+1 on Baranof hot springs, great spot for some R&R. Going up there are some places you will want to plan for. Cape Mudge by Campbell River can have pretty trecherous tide rips with the wrong tide/wind conditions. Queen Charlolett Straight/Sound, Milbanke Sound and Dixon Entrance you are exposed to the ocean for several miles taking the seas on your beam all day. There are some long ditches along the way as well that don't have much to offer for protection if you have troubles. But all in all it is a extreamly beautiful trip and with some basic planning you should have no problems. Oh and keep an eye out for whales in the summer months. Enjoy your trip, wish I was going with you!
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Old 22-03-2014, 07:17   #7
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Re: Inside Passage Trip in June

I'd suggest the Exploring series cruising guides by Douglass for anchorage information, especially for north of Cape Caution. There's one for SE Alaska, one for the North Coast of BC, and one for the South Coast of BC. And another for the west coast of Vancouver Island, bit I haven't used that one.

For BC tides and especially currents (there are several rapids you must plan for) get a copy of the 2014 Ports and Passes book. Much less confusing than the Canadian government tidal current books. For SE Alaska currents, you can pull the data from NOAA's web site - I usually print the current charts for the handful of places where it's critical to know the timing.

We've traveled the Inside Passage, mostly at 6 knots, in a small power cruiser the last 20 summers. Sitka is one of our favorite stops, but there are so many more favorite areas I'd be happy to discuss. Hardly know where to begin. How much time do you have? Are you heading only up to Sitka and back, or might you wander around more, and possibly further north? Interested in Glacier Bay or the beautiful Tracy Arm and its glaciers?

Over the years we built up lists of anchorages we've either used successfully or think are appropriate for us. We find them handy for planning the next day's destination, including potential bailout spots along the way. I'd email if you send me your address.
Richard Cook
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Old 22-03-2014, 07:36   #8
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Re: Inside Passage Trip in June

To the OP: We're leaving Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island tomorrow, starting a 4 month Alaskan adventure. Maybe we'll see you along the way. Our schedule is firmly etched in the sand at low tide but we loosely plan to be in Juneau for the solstice.

Richard: I'd appreciate a copy of those anchorage locations if you care to share. (bob at rjevans dot org) Thanks.

We've been told that we need to go behind Nakwakto Rapids for some quiet, isolated cruising so that's our first real destination.

R.J.(Bob) Evans
M/V Gray Hawk, 43 Defever Offshore Cruiser
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