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Old 30-11-2014, 15:34   #1
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The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

Ideas about it? Experience?
We think start on May 2015 and wait on Hawaii for the perfect weather window and point to Sitka. From there, come down trough Vancouver channel, San Juan, etc going down to bay area again.
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Old 01-12-2014, 00:09   #2
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

Thinking of doing the same route only starting from Hawaii. Would leave in June to arrive Alaska the 1st of July. Any earlier and it would be too damn cold. Head downs the inland passage July, August and into September and back to Hawaii in October.
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Old 01-12-2014, 13:14   #3
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

Interesting... what kind of sailboat your gonna use it?
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Old 01-12-2014, 13:45   #4
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

It's been about 10 years, but we did this loop and I'd like to do it again. Left Hawaii May 27 and arrived Sitka July 7 after a stop of two weeks at Midway (if you can finagle that visit I would highly recommend it).

Pretty easy sailing in general. Some light winds north of Hawaii as you get through the horse latitudes, but other than that a nice reach.

If you want to visit Glacier Bay (again recommended) keep an eye on the reservation calendar and make a reservation as soon as they become available. We made ours for something like two or three weeks after our expected arrival in Sitka, then spent the time in between checking out the area.

We added a cheap heater to the boat in Alaska, if you don't have one you'll probably want one. Getting it done ahead of time is easier than trying to do it in the remote reaches of nowhere.
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Old 19-12-2014, 12:16   #5
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

This is a loop I would like to do!

A few thoughts:
I have sailed between the Hawaiian Islands and then to SF. The nice thing about your idea to go up to Alaska is the destination is a "new" place and has so much beauty to see. So, you are going from one type of paradise to another.

I think it is best to allow yourself time to explore the Hawaiian Islands and enjoy "paradise" and the warmth for as long as you can, before embarking for a long trip up to colder climate and waters.

I highly recommend sailing over to Kauai and spend about a week there. That island is special and has much to see and enjoy. Anchor in Hanalei Bay and enjoy the natural beauty of the waterfalls that come off the peaks surrounding the bay. Make sure you see the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" (awesome and immense and unexpected on such a green island).

I think a week or two on Oahu (Kaneohe Bay) is nice too and Oahu is probably the first destination for most who come from California. The Kaneohe Bay area (on the other side of the island) is much quieter than the Honolulu area, with a very nice bay, nice yacht club, great windsurfing and swimming beaches, and nice snorkeling just off the beach.

Dsanduril mentioned Glacier Bay in Alaska. I highly recommend that too. Unforgettable place. Must see. When you are in Alaska, make sure you have lots of bug repellant and some long sleeved garments and long pants, as the mosquitos are hungry, huge, and numerous! I would make sure you have some mosquito netting you can put over your hatches and portholes. Another good thing to take is some deck boots (or rubber boots like Wellingtons). The ground is often very wet and soggy and you may be walking through lots of it and mud if you go exploring on the land.

Have a wonderful trip! I wish I could go.
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Old 19-12-2014, 13:38   #6
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

roverhi,

Returning to HI, beware of the odd Mexican hurricane tracking westwards in Oct. Some guys got caught out earlier this year on that crossing.

Ann
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Old 19-12-2014, 16:10   #7
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

Thinking of doing parts of this route with some friends next year. Will be interested in following these comments, too. Have fun!
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Old 15-01-2015, 14:00   #8
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

Going down the Washington, Oregon coast in October can be tricky. Strong winds can be going threw there that early in the year. I have watched many video's on you-tube cruising Leah-Leah. They have done the trip and are in Alaska.


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Old 17-01-2015, 09:43   #9
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

I am doing the same route only in late june from Portland Oregon to Hawaii then to Alaska and back home to Portland. Need to be back across the bar before Oct.

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Old 17-01-2015, 09:52   #10
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

I have talked with Chuck on cruising Leah Leah and I was going to do the Oct crossing But his advise was not to do in Oct because of frequently 20 to 25 foot waves (not swells). He suggests June would be better

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Old 01-06-2015, 21:39   #11
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
roverhi,

Returning to HI, beware of the odd Mexican hurricane tracking westwards in Oct. Some guys got caught out earlier this year on that crossing.

Ann
The World Cruising Routes Guide by Jimmy Cornell suggests November as one of the better months to make a passage from the west coast to Hilo. States that the cyclone season is over by November.
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Old 01-06-2015, 23:42   #12
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

@ Northstarseatac,

Indeed, he may have written that. You know how one's own experience colors interpretation of data? So far, we have been struck by two out of season cyclones, and the result is that I feel a little chary of trusting everything I see in print. I know an "n" of 2 is not statistically significant, but.... In fact, if you go back to about the early '80's, I bet you'll find a tropical storm in November that just about wiped out Lihue. Latitude 38 covered it at the time, but it's so long ago, I really don't remember exactly. YMMV I would add that weather prediction is much better now than it was then, and I think it's easier for us to avoid bad weather because of it.

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Old 02-06-2015, 03:45   #13
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

The hurricanes/tropical depressions that track west to Hawaii almost always stay between 10N-20N degrees latitude on their journey west. As they near Hawaii they normally weaken and will sometimes turn north after passing the Big Island as they dissipate. Hurricane Iniki that murdered Kauai tracked well south of the Island and then did a hard right north and strengthened just in time to devastate the Island. Not the usual pattern. The situation was made worse by a lack of satellite tracking ability as the Atlantic side had lost a tracking satellite and they'd moved the Pacific tracking satellite to the East to help in the Atlantic so there was very little warning the storm was on its way. That northward turn was especially the case with julio last year as the storms tended to track closer to 20N. Hurricane Iselle and Julio were very close together in August. Iselle hit the Puna district of the Big Island and was pretty much torn apart by our two 13,000' volcanoes. Their closeness possibly resulted in Julio tracking more northerly and turning north earlier than usual. It survived as a slowly dieing tropical storm and went quite a bit farther north than usual. Made for some uncomfortable times for the boats that were returning to the mainland north of the Islands. The boats that got into trouble and were abandoned/sunk were on their way to the Islands had sailed down near the 20N line and either sailed into or were overtaken by the storms.

To avoid the hurricanes either stay well north of 20 degrees till you are ready to make a dive south to the islands or monitor the weather and head north as soon as you know the storm will be tracking West. You want to get as far above 20n as you can before the storm passes. Doing the above, you will save yourself from getting hit either at all or at least stay out of the really serious weather. When we sailed to the Marquesas in June, planned the 20N line as a go/no go point if there was any storm activity in the Gulf of Panama. We were running DDW making 150 mile days at 20N and there was only a tropical depression in the Gulf so decided to go. The tropical depression soon turned into a Cat 3 hurricane and headed west at a good clip. Of course our wind began to lighten as soon as we made the decision so the days run dropped the closer to 10N we got. By the time the storm got to within 200 miles of our longitude, we were down around 8N but our days run was also below 100nm as we neared the doldrums. The storm went poof about that time so didn't get any ill effects except some very ominous high level clouds. In any case, the storm would have tracked at least 200 miles north of us and probably saved us from the miserable time we spent in the Doldrums with a disabled engine.

Have lived in Kona for going on 40 years. Last year was the first time that the hurricanes didn't pass south of the Big Island. One hit the Island and was torn apart by our two 13,000 foot volcanoes and one passed to the north. A very unusual year. Normally the storms pass to the south and begin to dissipate as they near the islands. Our best weather of the summer is during hurricane passage as it tends to clear out he vog. The Hurricanes are not a big issue if you keep track of them and stay north and out of their path till you hit the Islands.
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Old 02-06-2015, 13:31   #14
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

Thanks for those comments! Certainly weather information and forecasts are better than ever. Experience matters. Being anywhere has its risks. In my case we will have the weather fax by SSB, one of the SSB nets and a Delorme Inreach (Iridium text) with a weather subscription.
Any insights as to what the El Nino may induce?
Cheers,
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Old 11-06-2015, 09:01   #15
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Re: The big pacific loop: San Francisco/Hawaii/Alaska

Quote:
Originally Posted by garrobito View Post
Ideas about it? Experience?
We think start on May 2015 and wait on Hawaii for the perfect weather window and point to Sitka. From there, come down trough Vancouver channel, San Juan, etc going down to bay area again.
If you can at all swing it, I think it would be well worth your while to make landfall as far north as possible, weather permitting. Kodiak is a great place for repairs and provisioning. From there, Prince William Sound is a spectacular and little-visited cruising ground. You can then day-trip down the coast with stops at Icy Bay, where Mt. St. Elias, at 18,000ft, dominates the anchorage, Yakutat, with the Berenger glacier close at hand, and Lituya Bay if you're feeling lucky. Another option would be to make landfall at Sitka, as you plan, then work your way up to PWS from there.

The thing is, the farther north you are, the more spectacular and pristine the scenery. Once you get south of Petersberg and Wrangel it is still beautiful, but you will find yourself pining for glaciers, alpine peaks and Grizzlies. By the time you pass through the Seymore Narrows and join the crowds in the Salish Sea, you will wish you had lingered as long as possible farther north.

The advice about getting a heater before you go is sound. You will have days on end of rain in Alaska and being able to keep the boat dry and warm is priceless.
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