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Old 25-03-2010, 22:55   #16
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That is basically our dream.

The issue is that we can't leave until June 23rd from near Victoria (we start cruising June 15 but have guests until the 22nd). Those lost 3 weeks of summer are limiting. We didn't think that would allow enough time to get to Glacier Bay including the Haida Gwaii and back inside without really rushing. What is your experience with that timing?

We don't mind rushing the inside bits a little (Desolation/Broughtons) because we can return to those in the shoulder seasons but it would be a shame to rush north and then blow through Glacier/Haida Gwaii...but maybe it is enough time?

RE: where we've been, we've been to a lot of the Gulf and San Juan Islands, Vancouver, a bit of the Puget Sound and one trip to Barkley. Never been to the Broughtons, Desolation of further North on Van Isle
That does make it a bit tight but certainly doable (I've gone from Bellingham to Petersburg on a fishboat nonstop in 3.5 days at 8 kts). You would have to decide what you are going to skip/rush through. Taking advantage of the long days at that time of year you could cover a lot of ground if you wanted to. Decisions, decisions, there's never enough time to go everywhere is there?
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Old 25-03-2010, 23:47   #17
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Most of the smaller cruising destinations north of a line from Naniamo-Vancover start opening toward the end of June and stay open thru the first week in September. The larger towns/cities stay open all year with alot less pleasure craft traffic.

My recommendation is to head north as fast and as far as you want after you get to Victoria. You should have a good two to three months of nice weather to make it back to about Naniamo/Vancover. Most of the places south of there are open all year. One or two months could be spent around Vancover. From there over to another one or two months in the Gulf Islands.

You could spend about a month in and around the San Juan Islands. Some of the Washington State Parks in the San Juan Islands pull there floats starting in November. The floats go back in the spring. Mooring bouys and most floats/docks don't get pulled. You can get a season pass from any ranger. After 7 overnighters it pays for it self.

Next would be to go thru Deception Pass and head south to Olympia. Go down the east side of Puget Sound stopping at all the places you want. There are alot of State Parks south of Tacoma. From Olympia head back up the west side of Puget Sound to Port Townsend making all the stops that seem nice. Most of the people live on the east side of Puget Sound. During the cruising season the working stiffs head out on the weekends for the west side of Puget Sound. It can get tough to find moorage during the summer on weekends.

I would recommend you get a copy of Waggoner Cruising Guide. It's about $20 and list all the places to stop from Olympia to Prince Rupert, B.C.

Gordon
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Old 26-03-2010, 06:26   #18
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You could easily cruise the BC coast to Prince Rupert and back in the time you have. Or, if you hustle to get to PR you could do some SE Alaska as well. We travel at 6.5 knots, and wander all over either the BC coast or SE Alaska in a typical summer. Doing that whole coast in one summer would be pushing it - not enough time to enjoy being there.

Don't worry about backtracking - there are a zillion routes to choose from, with all those islands.
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Old 26-03-2010, 07:15   #19
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I've definitely heard that and always wondered, because I haven't been that far North on the inside yet, aren't the prevailing winds NW on the inside in the summer as well?
It is true that Johnstone Strait blows strong from the NW in the summer. I guess for me, the difference is that when the wind stops blowing in the Strait, the seas drop within a few hours. On the offshore side of Vancouver Is, the seas and swells will tend to still be running during the 'lulls'. In either case, it may sometimes be prudent to await favorable weather. Also, much of Johnstone Strait can be bypassed by taking the back passes.

During the last two seasons, I did not have more than a 24 hour wait and ended up motoring in flat calms. Ditto for my much hoped for 'run' in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Had to motor the whole way :-(. That being said, the bulk of my fuel consumption was for my heater not propulsion.

YMMV.
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Old 26-03-2010, 07:22   #20
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I've definitely heard that and always wondered, because I haven't been that far North on the inside yet, aren't the prevailing winds NW on the inside in the summer as well?
Given your time restrictions, I'd stick around Victoria for Canada day, hop over to Friday/Roche/Port Townsend/Seattle for the 4th, then head up on the outside. Lot more room to tack and will give you a good shakedown with less chance of storms. There aren't too many places to stop in, so you should be able to get north faster. Depending on weather, I reckon you'd want to be heading back by late Aug/early Sep. Going on the inside, running with the prevailing wind will be a lot more pleasant, and there will be more hidy holes if you need them. By late fall you're back in the San Juans/Gulf Is. Then spring '11 you'll be able to start heading north sooner, if you want to do it again or even head further north.
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Old 26-03-2010, 09:29   #21
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Don't forget what a huge role tides and currents play into travel times and distance made good.Combine that with unfavourable winds,and delays become the norm.
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Old 26-03-2010, 09:36   #22
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Don't forget what a huge role tides and currents play into travel times and distance made good.Combine that with unfavourable winds,and delays become the norm.
Bingo!...Thats why I hate giving up ground around here... You cant see everything in two passes through either.....Take your time , relax enjoy, fiddel fart around in the dink and catch what you can see..... when you can see..
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Old 26-03-2010, 09:50   #23
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@jrd22 - Never enough time. But as I pointed out to my husband while BBQing in our cockpit last night "these are high class problems we have"!

@Gordon - I hadn't thought of the season pass for the WA parks. We plan on mostly anchoring but it would be nice to spend a week at Jones Island (for example) on buoys. And you are right, I need to keep "what is open for what season" on our agenda for fuel reasons.

@NewMoon - Thanks - we don't make 6.5 knots unless we have great wind or a good tide but we do make 5 on the engine if we want to give up on sailing the entire trip. We have to think about how much we are willing to motor. Having been around here for 3 years I know how flukey the wind is in the summer.

@cchesley - Excellent point about the seas. Having been on the W Coast in light winds and a good swell - it is not exactly fun and not easy on the boat.

@Lodesman & Highseas - That is one reason going up the W Coast was initially very attractive to us. Less of a current to deal with, no need to time all of the passes which means you get a full day on the water, room to deal with flukey and on the nose wind...

@Stillraining - I think fiddle farting around is a very wise suggestion.
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Old 26-03-2010, 13:31   #24
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If it were me I'd have no firm plans for the summer. I'd stay north and decide week-to-week what sounds good. In the San Juans and much of the Gulf Islands you either have to plan carefully and get reservations or stay very flexible.

I'd plan on being in a large city for most of the winter. Bell Harbor is right on the Seattle waterfront and they offer deals for winter moorage. Vancouver must have something similar.

Otherwise the winter months are going to be pretty bleak and lonely on the hook or even at a dock in a small, mostly abandoned, town and the weather means you're not really going to be able to move around on a whim.

Unless you have a specific interest I'd skip South Sound and the west coast of Vancouver Island. This is a personal opinion.
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Old 26-03-2010, 13:48   #25
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I would stay in or around the Broughton Islands until about October 1. Then I would winter in Bellingham or Seattle, or both. Spring would be West Coast of Vancouver Island, then south. That would leave lots of time to explore all three areas, just the way I like it.
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Old 26-03-2010, 15:27   #26
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@JohnWms - Thanks for your input.

@Hiracer - The urge to do everything really needs to be balanced by the reality that exploring in more depth is more fun for us. Thanks.
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Old 26-03-2010, 15:53   #27
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I think the real answer to your question lies in, "Know yourself."

Some people like pushing hard and seeing how much country they can cover in a set amount time. Some like to stay in one spot more or less and see every thing possible at that locale. Others sit inside and write the great American novel, coming out only when they need more material. Etc.

What do YOU like to do, like to see, like to be? Think about it, and then reverse engineer from there.

Actually, I like all three approaches, depending on time and place and energy level. Over thirteen months I'm pretty sure I would do all three at one point or another.

All of which is subject to an audible if the something else interesting pops up or some ad hoc caravan falls in my lap.
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Old 26-03-2010, 16:02   #28
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Best summer vacation I ever had was more or less unplanned. Was leaving the bay when we ran into friends also leaving for vacation. Ran into more friends leaving for vacation. And then friends of friends joined. Etc. Formed a caravan on the water via VHF.

Ended up with seven boats all with kids cruising Prince William Sound for two weeks. Every night was potluck. Every day while cruising a different boat was the designated kid boat. Different anchorage every night.

Was a blast, and totally unplanned. So flexibility is part of the mix too. You never know who you will befriend out there. We still talk about that trip.
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Old 26-03-2010, 17:03   #29
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G'Day Livia,

I can't offer specific advice for your cruising grounds (only one time there in 1971 in a 22' trailer sailor), but I do have some thoughts on cruising plans.

Ann and I have found over the years that detailed plans, worked out in the comfort of home port, seldom are actually followed. Or, if you are the compulsive sorts that bust your bums to follow a plan, the plan actually interferes with having the best possible experience. Further, when doing long range plans one often sets unrealistic goals -- too many miles, too many anchorages -- and this too gets in the way of max enjoyment.

One must factor in weather and seasonal patterns to guide a general schedule. For us in the South Pacific this mostly means getting out of the cyclone belt before they start popping up. For your area I guess it revolves around ice and snow and all that stuff!. But beyond those strictures, we now tend to select a general area (say Vanuatu or the Solomons, etc). We sail there in a reasonable part of the season, and then kinda go with the flow. We may wish to visit a particular island or anchorage, but if we get distracted by some different attraction, why, off we go. Or if we get involved with a particular village, we may spend the whole time in one spot... well, it's what works for us! YMMV!

Looking back, in our first full year as cruisers we sailed over 16K sea miles, and we thought we were having fun! Now that seems crazy --- way too many days at sea, way too few enjoying the venues we'd sailed so far to reach. Nowadays we average 5 to 7 K miles a year and have a better time for it.

Every cruiser works out what is best for them if they stick it out long enough, but setting the bar too high at the beginning has sent all too many folks back home, disappointed in the cruising life that we enjoy so very much.

Good luck with it all!

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Church Point, NSW, Oz
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Old 28-03-2010, 17:13   #30
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@Hiracer - It certainly does. And I was purposefully vague I think in my original post just because I was looking for breadth in perspectives and didn't want people to feel limited. This is more "what would YOU do" and these very varied responses are good to help open our thinking to new options. I think "a bit of all 3" is the right way to approach a 13 month section.

@JimCate - Agreed. We are newbies to long term cruising if not newbies to cruising this area so we appreicate your thoughts. In a way, that's exactly the type of planning we are doing. Though we don't get S Pacific hurricanes we do get hurricane strength winds up here in the winter so we need to think through at least that part of it...although we can do that as we go as well.

Lots of good food for thought.
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