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Old 03-10-2020, 17:34   #1
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Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

Are there any cruising areas of the world that are like BC and WA but are not in Canada?

Reason I ask: We've been waiting for 6 months to enter Canada (we missed the border closure by only 2 weeks) - and are about ready to throw in the towel and come up with a plan B for 2021. We're full-time cruisers and BC is the only place we want to cruise (currently in WA). So we're stuck in the position where we can't go north and don't want to go south (we don't like tropical / hot weather sailing - I know that may seem weird and picky, but those who have spent a lot of time in BC will understand).

If the border remains closed past March 2021 we'll miss another year (Mar-Sept) and would rather stop cruising if that's the case (WA is great but not big enough, personally, for 24 months of cruising - we've already done 12 months here), or find a plan B.

I know many think Canada will open in 2021 but I don't think that's a sure thing (and don't really want to get into that here) - let's just say their willingness to keep the border closed has far exceeded my expectations, so I'm betting on worst case scenarios now. The month to month extensions don't give us enough time to plan for alternatives. If we're going to stop cruising or find a plan B we need more than 1-2 months to plan.

Are there any places like BC, not in Canada, that we could perhaps buy or charter in? A BC replacement would have:
  • lots of trees and mountains
  • at least 500 miles of coastline
  • hundreds to thousands of anchorages
  • not too hot (40F to 70F most of the time)
  • short distances between anchorages (20-40nm) in most places

AK meets that but I'm not sure how feasible chartering there is given the shorter season. I hear Maine is popular but I don't think it meets the size requirement - it's only 100-150mi, tiny compared to BC's 600 to 2000+ miles coastline.
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Old 03-10-2020, 17:57   #2
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tessellate View Post
Are there any cruising areas of the world that are like BC and WA but are not in Canada?

Reason I ask: We've been waiting for 6 months to enter Canada (we missed the border closure by only 2 weeks) - and are about ready to throw in the towel and come up with a plan B for 2021. We're full-time cruisers and BC is the only place we want to cruise (currently in WA). So we're stuck in the position where we can't go north and don't want to go south (we don't like tropical / hot weather sailing - I know that may seem weird and picky, but those who have spent a lot of time in BC will understand).

If the border remains closed past March 2021 we'll miss another year (Mar-Sept) and would rather stop cruising if that's the case (WA is great but not big enough, personally, for 24 months of cruising - we've already done 12 months here), or find a plan B.

I know many think Canada will open in 2021 but I don't think that's a sure thing (and don't really want to get into that here) - let's just say their willingness to keep the border closed has far exceeded my expectations, so I'm betting on worst case scenarios now. The month to month extensions don't give us enough time to plan for alternatives. If we're going to stop cruising or find a plan B we need more than 1-2 months to plan.

Are there any places like BC, not in Canada, that we could perhaps buy or charter in? A BC replacement would have:
  • lots of trees and mountains
  • at least 500 miles of coastline
  • hundreds to thousands of anchorages
  • not too hot (40F to 70F most of the time)
  • short distances between anchorages (20-40nm) in most places

AK meets that but I'm not sure how feasible chartering there is given the shorter season. I hear Maine is popular but I don't think it meets the size requirement - it's only 100-150mi, tiny compared to BC's 600 to 2000+ miles coastline.
Sweden. It's on my list now, for many of the reasons you stated. Check out some old videos by Distant Shores or some new ones by Ran Sailing.
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Old 03-10-2020, 17:59   #3
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

I've not cruised there but I've been there many times and sailing is pretty big... have you looked into / considered Sweden?


It's everything you describe minus the mountains.


All that said, it would be a bit of a hike for you to get there from the PNW.
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Old 03-10-2020, 18:18   #4
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

Maine, if staying domestic
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Old 03-10-2020, 19:25   #5
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

Sweden is an interesting idea. I believe it's pretty expensive, higher on price indexes than US or Canada... that could be an issue. Without mountains over 8000' though it sounds similar to Nova Scotia - beautiful, but without the natural grandeur that caused us to fall in love with BC.

I think I have to come to terms with the fact there may be no place that has what we love about BC. Basically I'm looking for places that have mountains and anchorages like the below photos. New Zealand is the one place I think comes closest, but logistically that's quite complicated (and likely to be closed as long as Canada).

Plan B could be some shorter-term cruising though, so Sweden or Maine could still be on the table even though they're not a one-to-one substitute.
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Old 03-10-2020, 19:39   #6
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

The Channels of Southern Chile......very much like BC.....zip down the west coast and plan to be there next Nov or so...
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Old 03-10-2020, 20:37   #7
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

Why not bring your boat to SE Alaska? You can get premission to transit BC enroute to Alaska. Lots of fascinating, unpopulated cruising in SE Alaska, if you can deal with the cold and rain.
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Old 03-10-2020, 21:33   #8
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

Can you not sail from wa to ak? People are allowed to drive through if heading to ak.
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Old 04-10-2020, 01:07   #9
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

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Old 04-10-2020, 01:23   #10
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

Lake Michigan- St Mary River - Lake Superior- Apostle Islands
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Old 04-10-2020, 08:27   #11
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

If you enjoy a drink Sweden is not the place to go as alcohol is very expensive.,
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Old 04-10-2020, 08:41   #12
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Why not bring your boat to SE Alaska? You can get premission to transit BC enroute to Alaska. ..
For various reasons we opted not to use the "Alaska Loophole." The main reason was my impression they want you to transit as quickly as possible, making minimal stops for food/fuel/water. Becoming a motorboat wasn't something we were willing to consider. It takes us 3+ months to sail the length of BC (covering over 2000 nm, with some detours up inlets).

Sailing on a schedule also isn't something we consider very safe. I suppose if we took a straight-line path we might be able to sail it in 3-4 weeks (not doing night transits - there are logs and trees in the water in many places).

It sounds like they've been stricter with cars than with boats though. However there has been boat shaming just as there's been license plate shaming - feeling unwelcomed was another reason not to go.

The outside offshore passage was also a consideration but ruled out for similar reasons.

I think if Canada stays closed over a year I would reconsider these options though, so thank you for suggesting. Part of the reason we didn't do it this year was each month we thought there was a good chance the border would reopen on the 22nd (the date they set for expiration each time they extend it), allowing us to do slow sailing like we prefer. We were also willing to quarantine for 2 weeks or get tested, but surprisingly neither of those options were opened up.
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Old 04-10-2020, 08:53   #13
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

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If you enjoy a drink Sweden is not the place to go as alcohol is very expensive.,
Michigan has a craft brewpub or several in about every harbor town.
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Old 04-10-2020, 09:11   #14
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

I would really strongly consider sailing outside to Alaska if BC doesn't open. You would just need a weather window in May or early June.
Otherwise if you are already thinking about Sweden, you should really think about Norway as well since it has all the mountains and trees and long amounts of coastlines and islands.
But almost every place currently has restrictions on Americans travel although if you have time to do 14 day quarantines here and there more places open up.
Maybe off season in the Adriatic depending on the weather. Croatia and Montenegro have pretty dramatic shorelines and islands and I know some places can get to 50 degrees in winter although inland it can snow like crazy.
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Old 04-10-2020, 09:28   #15
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Re: Covid plan B for Canada staying closed

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Originally Posted by Tessellate View Post
For various reasons we opted not to use the "Alaska Loophole." The main reason was my impression they want you to transit as quickly as possible, making minimal stops for food/fuel/water. Becoming a motorboat wasn't something we were willing to consider. It takes us 3+ months to sail the length of BC (covering over 2000 nm, with some detours up inlets).

Sailing on a schedule also isn't something we consider very safe. I suppose if we took a straight-line path we might be able to sail it in 3-4 weeks (not doing night transits - there are logs and trees in the water in many places).

It sounds like they've been stricter with cars than with boats though. However there has been boat shaming just as there's been license plate shaming - feeling unwelcomed was another reason not to go.

The outside offshore passage was also a consideration but ruled out for similar reasons.

I think if Canada stays closed over a year I would reconsider these options though, so thank you for suggesting. Part of the reason we didn't do it this year was each month we thought there was a good chance the border would reopen on the 22nd (the date they set for expiration each time they extend it), allowing us to do slow sailing like we prefer. We were also willing to quarantine for 2 weeks or get tested, but surprisingly neither of those options were opened up.
If you are moving from the Puget Sound to SE Alaska it would simply be a delivery trip. The distance is only about 550 miles or so. The days are very long during the summer and there are many anchorages to overnight. Sure its a motor boat trip, but without covid season it is primarily a motor boat trip anyway.
When you enter Canadian waters you will be given a timeline to get through that is sufficient to make it. The vast majority of the passage is in protected waters, so weather is not that critical.
Its all a trade off.
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