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Old 02-22-2015, 12:30 AM   #21
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The three-leg Mother Goose cruises conducted by Northwest Explorations to SE Alaska and back require more time than the 10 to 14 day window Andy says he'll have. They are also very expensive if that's a consideration. But if one has the time and the funds, it's a smart way to see the Inside Passage or SE Alaska, whichever leg one finds most appealing.
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:46 AM   #22
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Oh, by the way which is the best month for cruising in the PNW
That's a two-part question. Best month for weather or best month for cruising?

Best period for weather is generally from the middle of July through the end of August.

Best period for cruising is when the unwashed masses aren't. So October through May-ish

The intersection can often be September as bshanafelt stated. All the yard apes are back in school so family vacation time tends to be over. Business folks tend to be back at work beaten into submission by their non-boating bosses. So what's left tend to be retirees and boaters with the freedom to name their own vacation times.

September can also have very nice boating weather. The photos I put up earlier were all taken during September cruises. October can be pretty good, too, but the storm gods are very often starting to do their sound checks for their winter concert.

Photo is underway in Desolation in mid-September.
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Old 02-22-2015, 03:59 PM   #23
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We chartered for 2 weeks from Desolation Sound Yacht Charters the summer before last.
As stated they are in Comox. We flew to Vancouver then small plane to Comox.
Excellent experience and think we were totally mislead as to PNW weather-was spectacular end of July-early August.

As a first exposure to PNW type cruising-10' tides, currents, anchoring stern to, 1000' depths almost to the shore line, etc it was great.
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Old 02-22-2015, 04:11 PM   #24
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Mother Goose north, Ketchikan to Juneau is 10 days and south bound is also 10 days.
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:47 AM   #25
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Sorry I'm late to the party, ended up painting the whole upstairs of my house (and some walls twice with a different color...) A lot of questions have been answered.

Add Cooper Boating to your charter list, they are likely the biggest in the area. Their Desolation Sound charters are out of Powell River, I think they have 15 boats here now. A friend of mine has a very well maintained CHB34 at ambercharters.com out of PR as well. Desolation Sound Yacht Charters runs a good business, I know owners that have boats with them as well. Getting across the straight from Comox to Desolation Sound can be a challenge if the wind is up.

Best time to come? Last week of August, first two weeks of September. The swimming holes are warmest in September. Always seems cool and maybe a bit rainy the last week of June, first week of July, but the daylight is long.

Your dollar will go further in Canada.
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:02 AM   #26
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Excellent experience and think we were totally mislead as to PNW weather-was spectacular end of July-early August.
Second half of July and the month of August is typically the best weather window for this area. BUT..... global warming is having its effects on this area now, too. Last summer was very wet and ironically this winter is very dry and warm (for here). We are in real danger of severe water shortages this summer as the snowpack in the Cascade and Olympic mountains is the smallest I've seen in 36 years of living here.

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As a first exposure to PNW type cruising-10' tides, currents, anchoring stern to, 1000' depths almost to the shore line, etc it was great.
The tidal range is pretty impressive here. The farther north you go the greater it gets. We can get 12' feet or more here-- -up north 17' is often considered the norm and it can get greater than that. As for deep water, when I took the photo in my previous post, the depth sounder was showing a thousand-something feet. The Ice Age glaciers had quite the field day along this coast. Makes for challenging anchoring sometimes......
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Old 03-01-2015, 07:56 PM   #27
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Marin wrote "As for deep water, when I took the photo in my previous post, the depth sounder was showing a thousand-something feet." From your photo, it looks like you might have been in Homfray Channel, DS. Homfray Channel is supposed to have the greatest difference, from mountain to deep water on the west coast of North America: the channel is 726 m at its deepest ~2400 feet and Mount Addenbrook on East Redonda Island is 1600 m ~5200 feet.


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Old 03-02-2015, 02:19 AM   #28
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Marin wrote "As for deep water, when I took the photo in my previous post, the depth sounder was showing a thousand-something feet." From your photo, it looks like you might have been in Homfray Channel, DS.
Lewis Channel.
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Old 03-02-2015, 12:23 PM   #29
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Old 03-02-2015, 12:25 PM   #30
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I would recommend this as a good start.

Best Anchorages of the Inside Passage -2nd Edition (Ocean Cruise Guides): Anne Vipond, William Kelly: 9781927747018: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 03-02-2015, 01:42 PM   #31
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Another cruising guide series I have ignored for a number of years is the Dreamspeaker series. I glanced though one once and didn't care for it. But last week I was in Capains Nautical Supply in Seattle, THE best store in the Puget Sound area for books, charts, charting supplies, clocks, binoculars, you name it, for professional and recreational operatos alike, and I looked more careful,y at the Deamspeaker guides.

They are actually quite unique books and offer a perspective on anchorages and harbors that is different from the typical guidebook. So I bought a copy of the guide that covers the area we are planning on for our Fall cruise to use in our planning, along with the other guides we already have including the one mentioned above by Sea-Duction, which is excellent.

So a Dreamspeaker guide is worth having, I think, as one plans a cruise in this area. They cover the cruising grounds in BC. I did not see one for the San Juan Islands or Puget Sound in the US.
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Old 03-02-2015, 06:43 PM   #32
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The best "Cruising Guide" is a buddy boat to tag along with. When you are ready to go, post your arrival and departure dates and teh location of your boat at the start and finish. There are sure to be members of this group who will be going roughly where you want to go during your stay, who would be happy to introduce you to "the best place on earth".
My personal favorite for a 3 week trip is to go as quickly as my 8 knot boat will go to a very private anchorage in DS, sit there until the prawns run out, using the dinghy to tour around, go to lakes for fresh water swimming, hiking, collecting oysters, kayaking, then move to another very private anchorage and do it all again. I can usually average 3 or more nights in each anchorage. Docks are only for refilling the water tanks and off loading garbage. My wife like to swim in the warm water of DS, so we don't go through any of the rapids, as they all lead to water that is too cold for swimming. Also, the cold water attracts fog or low cloud, and who needs that?
Since first boating in the DS area in 1971, we have been going back as often as we can, and are not close to being bored by any of the beautiful anchorages. We usually add a "favorite" or two every year.
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:03 PM   #33
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The best "Cruising Guide" is a buddy boat to tag along with.
The problem with a buddy boat is that there is another boat tagging along with you.

Every boater wants something different from their boating. I guess a lot of boaters enjoy going out with other boats--- we've done it a couple of times and it was okay. But I'm around other people all over the place all bloody year and my wife is always being pulled hither and yon by her friends.

It's not that we don't like what we do during the year but the wonderful thing about going out on the boat is that we can get away from it all. That's why we do most of our boating in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. Summer we reserve for boat projects and when we go out we usually go to an anchorage where the general public never goes because the shore access is all private.

We prefer planning a trip and then exploring an area on our own, be it here or in Europe. Adds to the sense of adventure, I guess, even though about the only way to truly get away from everybody these days is schlep your tent out into the middle of Antarctica.

Boating with other boaters who are familiar with an area is certainly a great way to get introduced to a new area with minimum risk. But one certainly doesn't have to do that to have a terrific time boating in this area and on up the coast to SE Alaska. Most of the boaters we know go it alone. Perhaps for the same reasons we do, I don't know.

So a boater who in Australia likes to get away from it all on their own can do the same thing here if they want to even if they've never been here before. There are tons of information about the area in guidebooks in all shapes, sizes, and styles. And Active Captain, if one subscribes to that and has a charting program that supports it, has a huge amount of current information on anchorages and harbors in this region.

We find that half the fun of a trip--- any trip--- is in the planning. And today between all the books, maps, charts, and Al Gore's internet, there are almost too many resources available. The challenge is to pick the ones you like.
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