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Old 14-09-2019, 13:14   #1
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cruising guides Alaska, Mexico, Central America

hi all,

we are currently in French Polynesia and will be going to hawaii for the hurricane season, thereafter Alaska then south along the west coast .

We haven't decided if we are going to turn westward from Mexico and back across the pacific or continue south to panama and then back across the atlantic

So can anyone advise us which cruising guides to buy? Or any that are available electronically (such as soggy paws over the pacific). Particularly over the sea of cortez and central america'

Thanks in advance
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Old 14-09-2019, 17:06   #2
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Re: cruising guides Alaska, Mexico, Central America

Latitude 38 First Timers Guide to Mexico is a free download.
Pacific Mexico: A Cruiser's Guidebook
by Shawn Breeding - good for Mexico
The SV Sarana downloads are good for Pacific Central America.
Bauhaus Panama guide is best for Panama.
For the Puget Sound to SE Alaska the Waggoner Cruising Guide is cost effective.
The Douglas guides for Alaska to San Fran are pretty good, but they are broken up into so many volumes that it gets expensive. I think they are the only ones that cover the west coast of Hadi Gwai.
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Old 14-09-2019, 19:33   #3
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Re: cruising guides Alaska, Mexico, Central America

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Latitude 38 First Timers Guide to Mexico is a free download.
Pacific Mexico: A Cruiser's Guidebook
by Shawn Breeding - good for Mexico
The SV Sarana downloads are good for Pacific Central America.
Bauhaus Panama guide is best for Panama.
For the Puget Sound to SE Alaska the Waggoner Cruising Guide is cost effective.
The Douglas guides for Alaska to San Fran are pretty good, but they are broken up into so many volumes that it gets expensive. I think they are the only ones that cover the west coast of Hadi Gwai.
Hey Carsten,

Good info above.

We found the Douglas guide for SE Alaska (Exploring Southeast Alaska) and Northwest Coast of British Colombia to be invaluable. They Cover almost every nook and cranny you would want to explore.

Charlie's Charts - North to Alaska was good too. Much better (more recently updated) than the South Pacific.

We also used the Inside Passage Route Planning Maps (two products, one for North and one for South) every day.

You will want to purchase "Ports and Passes" which covers all tide information from Puget Sound to SE Alaska. The currents through some of the passes are no joke and you have to plan them down to the minute sometimes.

Northwest Boat Travel covered British Columbia pretty well with mainly information about Marinas.

As mentioned above, Waggoner's Cruising Guide is a great resource which is updated annually and covers from Puget Sound up to Desolation Sound. Especially beneficial once you hit the Salish Sea.

2nd the recommendation on the Mexico guides from Shawn and Heather Breeding. There are two for Mexico, one for Sea of Cortez and one for Pacific Mexico. At first they seemed kinda glossy but they had the best chartlets (Navionics doesn't have the best coverage in the coves there) and also great info on activities on shore.

The Guide from Pat Raines covers Mexico to Cent Am but it was low on our rotation. The Sarana Guides do a much better job in Cent Am.

All for now...if you still have my email, reach out or if not PM me. We plan to be in the area next summer/fall and expect you and Vinnie to visit.

Best,
Wags and Paula
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Old 15-09-2019, 09:45   #4
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Re: cruising guides Alaska, Mexico, Central America

Regarding the portion of your trip from AK to Puget Sound:

I can second the observation about the currents being "no joke". 8-12 knots with 16 knots during full moon and neap tides. I was only offhand about it once (the first time). The majority of the rapids, whirlpools and narrows are between the Broughton Islands and Seymour Narrows.

Most of the guides we had went from marina to marina. We found "Best Anchorages of Inside Passage" by Anne Vipond and William Kelly a great resource for finding harbours where we were the only boat for days at a time.
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Old 15-09-2019, 10:55   #5
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Re: cruising guides Alaska, Mexico, Central America

We sailed from Vancouver, Canada to the Sea of Cortez about 10 years ago. I second all of the recommendations above and emphasize the value of both of the Breeding/Bansmer books. They are without peers for that part of the world.

Navionics charts are good (much better than C-Map) once in Mexico. For the anchorages it is better to have the chartlets from the B/B books, using either in the guides or buying the iNavX versions for display on a tablet/phone. These charts are excellent in an anchorage but do not have many important details outside of the anchorages. Navionics is reasonably dependable. Available paper charts for the Sea are not great in terms of GPS accuracy but Charlie's Charts is now publishing charts for this region.

Good luck with you sailing. Looks like a big trip.
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Old 15-09-2019, 14:12   #6
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Re: cruising guides Alaska, Mexico, Central America

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We sailed from Vancouver, Canada to the Sea of Cortez about 10 years ago. I second all of the recommendations above and emphasize the value of both of the Breeding/Bansmer books. They are without peers for that part of the world.

Navionics charts are good (much better than C-Map) once in Mexico. For the anchorages it is better to have the chartlets from the B/B books, using either in the guides or buying the iNavX versions for display on a tablet/phone. These charts are excellent in an anchorage but do not have many important details outside of the anchorages. Navionics is reasonably dependable. Available paper charts for the Sea are not great in terms of GPS accuracy but Charlie's Charts is now publishing charts for this region.

Good luck with you sailing. Looks like a big trip.
If you are referring to the bootleg old CM93 C-Map charts, then I agree with you. The uptodate Jepperson C-Map charts we used were very good, as good or better than Navionics.
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Old 15-09-2019, 23:08   #7
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Re: cruising guides Alaska, Mexico, Central America

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If you are referring to the bootleg old CM93 C-Map charts, then I agree with you. The uptodate Jepperson C-Map charts we used were very good, as good or better than Navionics.
I should have been more specific with my comment. We use paid for C-Map charts from Jepperson not CM93. The problem that we encountered is the frequent need to adjust chart offset using radar. This seems to happen in Mexico when moving from one chart to another. We did not encounter this problem with the same C-Map SD card in Canada or the US so presumably the problem is one of cartography used in the Mexican charts that does not fit with GPS reality. We use C-Map in our Furuno chart plotter. Using Maptech charts on a laptop produces the same problem.

We use Navionics on an iPad with iNavX. It does not display the same issue as the chart plotter and C-Map card or Maptech on a laptop. We have never needed to adjust chart offset with Navionics on the iPad.
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Old 16-09-2019, 00:19   #8
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Re: cruising guides Alaska, Mexico, Central America

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Originally Posted by Marathon1150 View Post
I should have been more specific with my comment. We use paid for C-Map charts from Jepperson not CM93. The problem that we encountered is the frequent need to adjust chart offset using radar. This seems to happen in Mexico when moving from one chart to another. We did not encounter this problem with the same C-Map SD card in Canada or the US so presumably the problem is one of cartography used in the Mexican charts that does not fit with GPS reality. We use C-Map in our Furuno chart plotter. Using Maptech charts on a laptop produces the same problem.

We use Navionics on an iPad with iNavX. It does not display the same issue as the chart plotter and C-Map card or Maptech on a laptop. We have never needed to adjust chart offset with Navionics on the iPad.
Interesting, we used Maxsea Jepperson C-Map charts on our Furuno Navnet3 and had no real issues in Pacific Mexico, or Central America.
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