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Old 17-02-2021, 10:35   #1
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First trip through inner passage

Hello if anyone has any information on boating the inner passage to Alaska and any tips for inexperienced boaters like dangers or any documentation I might need I’d be grateful I’m planning on going to see some land that’s only accessible by boat and prior have only had my boat in a marina please help
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Old 17-02-2021, 10:52   #2
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Re: First trip through inner passage

Welcome to CF.

The Douglas Guides (Exploring the Inside Passage to Alaska, Exploring Southeast Alaska, a couple of others) are the go-to books for many people in SE and for people hoping to come here (if you elect to get them look around, there are newer and older versions, not positive I have linked to the latest). Expensive, but they offer pretty detailed information on routes and route planning, anchorages, etc. Some of their information on where supplies are available is a little out of date, and there are lots of nice places that are not included, but they will get you there safely and then you can stretch a bit as you become comfortable.

There are also the Waggoner guides, have used them much less so can't comment, and several others.
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Old 17-02-2021, 11:08   #3
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Re: First trip through inner passage

Add to those The Dreamspeakers (Dreamseekers sp?) Guides.

Your boat needs to be self-reliant once you get out of your marina. Power is your biggest challenge.

Food and fuel are usually relatively easy to obtain with proper planning.

Where are you starting out from and where are you heading?
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Old 17-02-2021, 11:11   #4
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Re: First trip through inner passage

My brother did the trip Seattle-Juneau in his J/30. Make sure your engine is in good shape. Summer breezes... aren't often, or often aren't. This book has some good first-hand descriptions of some of the passages you might encounter: https://www.amazon.com/Passage-Junea.../dp/0679776141 It might be easier to fly up to a point near your destination and get someone to give you a ride out to the land you want to check out, (the real estate agent or seller should be able to help) or simply take a float plane and get it done.
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Old 17-02-2021, 12:02   #5
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Re: First trip through inner passage

Hi Rookie,

I would also recommend the Douglass guides.


You might have a look at a preview of my book, written for small boaters who might wish to travel the Inside Passage. It's called "Cruising in a Big Way". On Amazon and on Lulu. Here's the table of contents:


Introduction 5

You could cruise the Inside Passage
How much will it cost?
What sort of a boat are we talking about?
What skills and experience do you need?


1. Choosing and Equipping Your Boat 11

Cabin
Comfort Systems
Propulsion Systems
Electrical Systems
Electronics and Instrumentation
Anchoring Gear
Dock Lines and Fenders
Knots and Splices
Bottom Paint
Dinghy
Safety Gear
Fishing Gear
Clothing and Outerwear


2. Organizing Your Boat 49

A Place for Everything
Checklists


3. Maintenance 53

Preventative Maintenance Beats Repair
Tools and Spare Parts
Get Comfortable With Maintenance Chores
Build Your Own Owner’s Manual
Check Everything Before a Long Trip
Backup Equipment
Trailer


4. Planning Your Cruise 59

Charts
How Much Distance Could You Cover?
Where to Launch
Border Crossings
Food
Crew and Guests
Dogs On Board
Staying in Touch


5. Key Cruising Skills 69

Anchoring
Wind and Waves
Weather Forecasts
Tidal Currents
Wood, Deadheads, Kelp, Nets


6. Cruising Areas 79

The San Juan and Gulf Islands
The Sunshine Coast
Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands
The Rapids
The Broughton Islands & Queen Charlotte Strait
Vancouver Island’s West Coast
Crossing the Queen
BC North Coast
Crossing the Dixon
Southeast Alaska
Glacier Bay
Whales

Conclusion 95

Books and References 97

Books and Cruising Guides
Maps and Charts
Customs
Weather, Tides and Currents
Small Cruiser Examples
Fishing Regulations/Licenses
Other Links
Contact Information


Happy to discuss further,

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Old 17-02-2021, 16:39   #6
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Re: First trip through inner passage

While the Douglass books are really the only guides covering the whole of the BC North Coast, do be aware that they DO contain errors. Occasionally the errors are very serious (e.g., compare their 2002 and 2017 editions chartlet for what they call "Emily Carr Inlet Cove" with the current CHS chart, issued 2018: very very wrong). The 2017 "3rd Edition" contains relatively few updates, even though charts have been significantly revised (and new charts issued) between 2002 and 2017.

Nevertheless, taken with a grain of salt, the Douglass' books remain the best and most complete.
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Old 17-02-2021, 17:08   #7
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Re: First trip through inner passage

Prepare for a lot of motoring
Prepare for a lot of rain
Prepare for quiet and desolation.
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Old 18-02-2021, 09:37   #8
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Re: First trip through inner passage

Also recommend you check out Slowboat.com. They run flotilla groups up to AK from the San Juan’s. But they’ve put together many videos on their YouTube channel about running north. Highly recommend.
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Old 18-02-2021, 09:37   #9
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Re: First trip through inner passage

Get a copy of Alaska Blues, by Joe Upton. Should be able to find it on abe.com

Good read, Joe was a salmon troller and gillnetter. Lots of descriptions of the weather and remote stops.
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Old 18-02-2021, 09:41   #10
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Re: First trip through inner passage

On the other hand, on one trip on the Inside Passage we met a family in a 18 foot open skiff with a big engine. They had 10 days to make it up there and back and were hell bent to do it. Must have been quite a trip but they seemed a happy group so we did not try to dissuade them from their adventure.

We met them at Bishop Hot Springs and they spend about half and hour getting all cleaned up and off they went. It was inspiring.
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Old 18-02-2021, 09:44   #11
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Re: First trip through inner passage

Quote:
Originally Posted by sv_pelagia View Post
e.g., compare their 2002 and 2017 editions chartlet for what they call "Emily Carr Inlet Cove" with the current CHS chart, issued 2018: very very wrong.
Oops: CHS chart issued 2010 (NOT 2018)!
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Old 18-02-2021, 09:44   #12
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Re: First trip through inner passage

I’m a commercial fisherman from Wrangell and have made the voyage from Seattle to SE Alaska several dozen times on my fishing boat. Feel free to email me in you wish. siberiansea@hotmail.com
Overall expect SE winds much of the voyage however there can be days of Westerlies. Only two places you venture into waters exposed to open oceans and both these can be made in one days travel.
Watch for floating logs and use extreme caution traveling after dark. Anchorages can be deep, bottom is often rocky.
Rains a lot so bring good weather gear">foul weather gear with rubber boots. Nice to have heat on your boat.
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Old 18-02-2021, 10:37   #13
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Re: First trip through inner passage

I live on the BC coast and sail it all the time - Vancouver to Prince Rupert. Where will you be starting from? Note that these days, due to Covid, American boats better have a REALLY good reason for coming into Canada or they will be turned back at the border - or if they do get in and misbehave (touristing en route for example), the fines are hefty. These restrictions MAY extend through this summer as our vaccination rate is falling behind the US's.

North of Desolation Sound, and particularly north of the northern end of Vancouver Island, you need to be REALLY self-sufficient. Your boat and equipment needs to be in great shape and you need to be able fix stuff when it does go wrong. Plan your fuel and provisioning stops. It can be a long way between. Personally I like my home village of Madeira Park (Pender Harbour) and Port McNeill for provisioning (they both have good-sized grocery stores within easy walking and carting distance of the docks) and Westview, Blind Channel, Port McNeill, and Shearwater for fuel. I try to avoid small fuel docks as they sell less and I think you might run a greater risk of getting bad or dirty fuel. There are some small stores elsewhere en route but supplies are generally quite limited - although Dawson's Landing in Rivers Inlet is not to be missed.

I've met a number of people who are on the Central Coast (Great Bear Rainforest for you tree-huggers) for the first time - and they almost all express how beautiful, remote, and isolated it is. This is NOT a coast for inexperienced boaters. The rapids alone require planning and skills that need to be developed and honed - and Queen Charlotte Sound is no place for rookies.

Oh, and it's generally referred to as the INSIDE Passage, not the Inner Passage.
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Old 18-02-2021, 10:40   #14
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Re: First trip through inner passage

If you are thinking about doing the trip this summer and the land you want to look at is in BC, you're going to have to very carefully check out the rules in British Columbia. You might not be allowed to leave your boat at all except to get fuel. We were planning on doing the trip from Seattle up, but have decided to barge our boat to Seward instead.
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Old 18-02-2021, 10:42   #15
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Re: First trip through inner passage

OP: "and prior have only had my boat in a marina"

You must become proficient and confident in your anchoring skills. There aren't many "marinas" North of Vancouver Island -- you'll be anchoring lots!

Might be premature to head North so soon.
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