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Old 19-02-2019, 10:33   #16
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Re: Inside Passage - "Back Passage" Plus-es & Minus-es?

Thanks Scorpius - we took possession of our boat Raincoast at the Gov't dock in Whisky Slough in 2014. Sadly neglected, we've been dragging her into the 21st century ever since.

We made many friends in Madeira Park and it's always one of the highlights of our cruises!
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Old 19-02-2019, 10:52   #17
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Re: Inside Passage - "Back Passage" Plus-es & Minus-es?

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Planning our summer route up the Inside Passage on these snowy winter days.

We are both inclined to take the back roads whenever on any sort of trip, hence the back passage is drawing both of us: Cordero and Chancellor Channels and then Sunderland Channel back to rejoin Johnstone Strait. By doing this we can avoid Current Passage and Race Passage. I don't mind missing whirlpools.

Two questions - will we miss any "once in a lifetime"s? And what are the anchorages like on the back side? Or am I overthinking this and everyone takes the the back way so it'll be as busy as Johnstone?

We have no time schedule other than we're leaving in May and want to be back by late August.
I've traveled the Cordero-Chancellor-Sunderland Channel route a number of times. There are the Yaculta, Dent, Greene, and Whirlpool Rapids along that route but no problem at slack tide. It's all beautiful. Sunderland can be very windy. Always check your weather and the tides. Last trip we skipped Whirlpool Rapids and went through Current Passaage...no problem. Motored Johnstone Strait up and down due to no wind.

As you like the back roads, consider Laredo, Principe, Petrel, Ogden Channels instead of the narrower Inside Passage where all the cruise liners, ferries, etc. travel. It is off the beaten track and you might see one other boat/day. Use Meyers Passage off Finlayson Channel to enter Laredo Channel.

There are plenty of places to anchor when and if the weather kicks up, just plan each day's route an take plenty of anchor chain and don't be afraid to use it when necessary, I have 300' but have made the trip in a smaller boat with only 200' rope.

You will enjoy every minute of the trip. We are going up ourselves this summer. Use The Waggoner Cruising Guide but don't be afraid to test unlisted sights for anchoring...there are many.

~ ~ _/) ~ ~ MJH
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Old 19-02-2019, 11:02   #18
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Re: Inside Passage - "Back Passage" Plus-es & Minus-es?

I have been both ways inside and outside from States North and outside Vancouver Island back home. Mostly" Solo" sometimes with a lady friend. This was on my 32' Kettenburg Sloop. Whirlpools yes. Huge ones easy if you ride them on the outside where the whirl will throw you out of the vortex. Don't try to go inside as that will draw you in and makes them more exciting.

I will be making the trip this summer if all goes well. Leaving in April-May as weather permits. So far Solo. With my best friend Remi" and my friend "Johnny Walker Red."Getting the boat ready now, I anchor and marina as it fits. No problem. Lot's of nice pubs along the way. Clams, oysters, crab and even fish. Come on sunshine.
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Old 19-02-2019, 11:02   #19
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Re: Inside Passage - "Back Passage" Plus-es & Minus-es?

Suggest you read, ALASKA BLUES, by Joe Upton.

You can get a copy for cheap on ABE.com

Joe describes his trip as a commercial fisherman from Seattle up to SE Alaska in a 32 foot fishing boat. You should be able to get some good tips, plus it a great read with nice photos too.

I guess I am not surprised, but amazon has it too.

https://www.amazon.com/Alaska-Blues-.../dp/0979047099
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Old 19-02-2019, 11:20   #20
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Re: Inside Passage - "Back Passage" Plus-es & Minus-es?

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Originally Posted by redhead View Post
Thanks Scorpius - we took possession of our boat Raincoast at the Gov't dock in Whisky Slough in 2014. Sadly neglected, we've been dragging her into the 21st century ever since.

We made many friends in Madeira Park and it's always one of the highlights of our cruises!

I remember her well. Scorpius was at the same dock at the same time. Small world! I'm glad you are restoring her. Big boat! Big job!


Enjoy your trip north. Everything changes at the rapids. Temperatures drop, crowds drop off, vegetation changes. Tides and currents coming around Vancouver Island from the north and south meet in Desolation Sound - so there's relatively little flushing there and the water warms up nicely for swimming (in August!). South of there is flushed by the relatively warm water coming around the southern end of Vancouver Island - but north of there it's the cold water coming around the northern end - and it REALLY cools things down.


Get a copy of 2019 Ports and Passes and Waggoners to research and plan your passages through the Yulcutas, Greene Point, Dent, and Whirlpool rapids. Broadly, aiming for a period of neap tides (quarter moons) rather than spring tides (full and new moons) will make it a heck of a lot easier. Small whirlpools around slack water will heel you over and spin you around some and are exciting, but not dangerous. There's lots of depth and width so there's no reason to worry about hitting rocks. Just take the current into account when setting a course through the dog legs. You don't go anywhere near where you are pointing! It's a different story if you take the side trip up Jervis inlet and go through Malibu rapids into absolutely spectacular Princess Louisa Inlet. They are similarly dog-legged, but very narrow. However it is possible to hit them right as slack as they stand alone and you don't have to plan for several successive rapids as you do further north. Use government tide tables or Ports and Passes to determine times of slack water. The electronic ones built into say, CPN, don't seem to be sufficiently accurate and can get you into trouble.



Then of course you've got the challenges of Johnson Strait (a violent washing machine when a westerly is blowing - especially when the tide is ebbing. Try to minimize your time there by going around the back of Hardwicke Island and travel in the morning before the afternoon westerlies pipe up), Queen Charlotte Sound (shallow and wide open to the Pacific so the big rollers really steepen up as they come up) and Milbanke Sound (same as Queen Charlotte but much smaller).


However, with a reliable boat and good planning, it's a wonderful trip and not to fear. Lots of us do it regularly without incident. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Take care.
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Old 19-02-2019, 11:43   #21
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Re: Inside Passage - "Back Passage" Plus-es & Minus-es?

Don't be put off by YouTube videos of the rapids. They are taken from high-powered speed boats that can and do go through at full ebb or flood on spring tides. However they are good warnings to time YOUR passages for slack water, preferably on neap tides!
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Old 19-02-2019, 12:04   #22
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Re: Inside Passage - "Back Passage" Plus-es & Minus-es?

There are several different combinations of rapids in the various routes you can choose through the squeeze between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Most are not too sensitive to being exactly on slack current. Often 20 minutes off is fine (or even more) especially during those neap tide periods. Traveling at 6 or 7 knots we have often made two or three of them without any trouble. Make sure you have the correct timing info (Ports and Passes), and watch other boats for confirmation, but don't worry too much.
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Old 19-02-2019, 13:55   #23
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Re: Inside Passage - "Back Passage" Plus-es & Minus-es?

I was in the Broughtons via Inside 3 yrs ago, last 2 weeks of May, 1st week on June. Many facilities not open yet. Donít assume because a marina may say they have gas/diesel/groceries, that they will this early in the season. Check ahead and plan carefully.
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Old 19-02-2019, 14:08   #24
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Re: Inside Passage - "Back Passage" Plus-es & Minus-es?

Im going to follow this as Im planning the same trip
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Old 19-02-2019, 18:11   #25
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Re: Inside Passage - "Back Passage" Plus-es & Minus-es?

Lots of anchorages, and I dont think you'll miss anything by taking the back route - you'll just gain imho. Choice of passes though. Take Surge Narrows or Hole in the Wall to Octopus Islands - great spot. Then Oksillos and around Sonora Island to Cameleon Harbour / Handfield Bay. Or go a bit further to Shoal Bay. Can stop at Blind Channel resort for fuel/water or a restaurant meal if you want. Less than an hour from Shoal Bay and some current in the Channel to deal with. Otherwise two passes - Greene Pt Rapids and Wellbore - with sheltered Forward Harbour just as you exit Wellbore. Then it's down Sunderland Channel and out into Johnstone for a short run. Enjoy the trip. May see you out there !!
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