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Old 27-07-2017, 10:33   #31
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Nanaimo BC
Boat: modified Spray 56' oa
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Re: Pacific NW charter help

Chart data is what you depend on but Eyeball 101 can save your keel. e.g. the tidal rocklets south west corner of D'Arcy Island used to be way off May still be as electronically quilted charts can distort at the edges.Not to worry ,unlit ,submerged ,flooding tide, you can find them. After several trips to Alaska with only a sounder, I finally got Gps,plotter, vhf, radar, the whole shibang. Then I learned why boaters around me kept hitting stuff ,even on clear sunny days

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Old 27-07-2017, 13:07   #32
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Re: Pacific NW charter help

Navionics charts for the area are good. I have them on both my chartplotter and phone app.

The Pacific high settling in has some different effects at times depending where you are in the Strait. It often sees daily afternoon gales in Johnstone Strait that end up as 15-25 knot NW winds in the Discovery Islands off Campbell River. The attached link is for Sentry Shoal on the Canadian Gov't Marine Weather site, the most northerly weather buoy in the Strait;

Strait of Georgia - north of Nanaimo - South Coast - Environment Canada

You can watch it on a daily basis, if you want, and make your own wind assessments. You also have to pay attention to the Johnstone Strait forecasts for this area as it is a boundary area with Georgia Strait North. Or pick another location to suit your plans.

The passes in the northern areas have much stronger currents than most down south - Seymour Narrows at 16knots on a spring flood. But what exists beyond them is worth the extra time navigating them. Any charter boat should have the relevant current and tide tables on them. The gov't ones are in Standard not Daylight Savings Time though

As others have said, pick north or south - don't try to do it all at once. We spent 6 weeks this spring getting as far south as Sydney and Vancouver - and that felt rushed at times.

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Old 27-07-2017, 21:10   #33
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Re: Pacific NW charter help

Lots of great advice being given here. I cruise the San Juans and Gulfs regularly, and this June I did Anacortes to Desolation Sound and back in 9 days flat, but it was anything but a leisurely cruise.

Another vote for San Juan Sailing out of Bellingham. Get a boat with furling main and headsail, as you'll be deploying sails then reeling them back in many times per day as you deal with the flukey winds.

A few little gems:

Shallow Bay on Sucia, unless the wind is from the west

Vendovi Island. Can't overnight there, but great place to stop and explore

Watmough Bay on Lopez Island, sheer cliffs and crazy accoustics

Montague Harbour, catch the Hummingbird Pub bus. Trust me on this

Pirates Cove on DeCourcy Island. Say hi to Brother XII for me

If you do venture way up north, Mittlenatch Island is a treasure

I could go on and on, PM me if you want further advice and suggestions
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Old 06-08-2017, 11:23   #34
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Location: Plano, TX Houston, TX
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Re: Pacific NW charter help

I want to thank everybody so much for all the info and help. This is what makes this site so good.

I am taking everything to heart and will be looking into it after we get back in sept.

One last question for those of you who have spent time there:

Full moon or new moon?

Once again thanks to all
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Old 06-08-2017, 12:29   #35
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Re: Pacific NW charter help

Originally Posted by Emerald Sea View Post
This has been a valuable read for us as we are passaging to Victoria from Hawaii next week to begin cruising this area for some time. From those that have sailed (or motored!) in this region can you comment on the reliability of electronic charts ie Navionics, CM's, etc?

SV Emerald Sea
I've used Navionics from Seattle to Shearwater...all very reliable, no surprises. West coast of Vancouver Island did have a couple uncharted rocks near shore though south of Winter Harbour.
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Old 06-08-2017, 13:19   #36
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Re: Pacific NW charter help

You are welcome Ron.

Does your full/new moon question concern tides? Some great night scenery in places like Desolation Sound under a full moon that's not there on a new moon.

There are some big current differences in the passes depending on whether we have neap or spring tides, notsomuch new/full moon. Seymour Narrows is the great northern gatekeeper around here, and currents in most northern passes are a similar pattern if not quite as strong. This is a useful link for you;

Current table for Seymour Narrows, British Columbia

The new moon currents in Seymour are a bit stronger than full moon, but the big difference is between those and the quarter moon phases. There is a much wider transit window at quarter moons. We keep our boat in Campbell River which is on Discovery Passage - Seymour is in the "middle" of Discovery Passage N of Campbell River. At the southern end of Discovery ( Cape Mudge), currents run at about 60% of Seymour, ie, 14kn at Seymour is approx 8+ at the Cape. You're not bucking that in a sailboat! Nor going with it in any likelihood!

The neap tides make life a lot easier for us leaving or returning to our home base - much less timing involved. Similarly they open up longer windows on most passes. They also make transiting some narrower channels between islands easier, especially here in the Discovery Islands. And there will be less wave action when you encounter wind against tide situations.

The reduced flow is also evident out in the Strait and can make a big difference to your north/south transit times. Currents in the Strait can be 1.5kn - I cruise at 6kn on the motor so the current effect is +/- 25%.

I'm mostly familiar with Georgia Strait N, but there are also currents among the southern islands on both sides of the border - Rosario Strait would be the Canadian current station off Sydney - max about 3kn this month - accessible from the above link. Just enough to stall you, not keep you waiting in port.
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Old 06-08-2017, 19:10   #37
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Re: Pacific NW charter help

Haro Strait, not Rosario

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