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Old 04-09-2015, 02:45 PM   #21
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In a Westerly and with tides, Juan De Fuca Straight, when you come out of Puget Sound and cross over to the Gulf Islands can be quite challenging too. You also did not mention Customs clearance. Factor that in too, I doubt if it's legal to make your first landfall in Nanaimo.
Would we hit that coming out of Friday Harbor too? I was thinking that if we came behind Speiden and Stuart it wouldn't be as bad.

We intend to clear customs at Bedwell Harbor just to make sure that we can make landfall anywhere along the route to Nanaimo.
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Old 04-09-2015, 02:46 PM   #22
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If you are interested in books, there is a place in Friday Harbor called the Serendipity Used Book store. Even if you aren't interested in buying a book, the man who runs the store is very knowledgeable. The building is an old house filled to the ceilings with books. The selection is great and the books are quite cheap.

https://plus.google.com/101639034983...16/about?hl=en
Yes that sounds like a great place to check out! Thanks.
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Old 04-09-2015, 02:49 PM   #23
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I really have been hoping to get the chance to cross, but it just might not be in the cards.
Other than the fact we're crossing a large body of water (for this area, anyway), crossing Georgia Strait is actually very boring in our opinions. If it's calm it's just a long slog across flat water. If it's rough it's an even longer slog across uncomfortable water. Either way it's not anything we look forward to, it's just something that has to be done. Like driving through west Texas to get to the interesting places in New Mexico.

There's nothing particularly challenging about it. You just drive in a straight line until you don't have to anymore. If we could put the boat on the ferry and spend the crossing hanging out in the lounge upstairs we'd do it.
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Old 04-09-2015, 02:57 PM   #24
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We had a relatively snow free winter. Princess Louisa will be just trickle by June of this year. If that is a factor for you.
So that is a factor actually. Not alone, but combined with all of the other great feedback that has been given here, it really makes me question whether that travel is worth it.

We spent time last year cruising the San Juan's, and while we clearly barely scratched the surface, we'd like to expand past that since we have 8 days. There have been a lot of great suggestions around places in the Gulf Islands to check out. Desolation Sound seemed to far to me, but I'll definitely look at it again for options - it seems beautiful!

We want to have a mix of remote anchoring, mooring, anchoring with neighbors, and even marina docks. We're trying to figure out what's right for us. These suggestions certainly give us plenty to look into, but if anyone has more specific anchorages or marinas that you recommend, we're appreciative of the tips!

Thanks,
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:08 PM   #25
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The places I listed in the Gulf Islands are a mix of very nice and somewhat funky marinas, marine parks with mooring buoys, and anchorages.

If you have not already done so I suggest you get one or more of the cruising guides for the Gulf Islands. We use the Douglass Guide, the Dreamspeaker Guide, Best Anchorages of the Inside Passages, the Waggoner Guide and the BC Sailing Directions.

To us the Gulf Islands make for far more enjoyable cruising than the San Juan's. Sort of like comparing Victoria, BC to LA.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:15 PM   #26
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Other than the fact we're crossing a large body of water (for this area, anyway), crossing Georgia Strait is actually very boring in our opinions. If it's calm it's just a long slog across flat water. If it's rough it's an even longer slog across uncomfortable water. Either way it's not anything we look forward to, it's just something that has to be done. Like driving through west Texas to get to the interesting places in New Mexico.

There's nothing particularly challenging about it. You just drive in a straight line until you don't have to anymore. If we could put the boat on the ferry and spend the crossing hanging out in the lounge upstairs we'd do it.
It reminds me of folks here in MN that like wilderness canoeing. People come from all over the country to canoe in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness here. But I know people from here who wouldn't dream of canoeing there - they need to get up to Canada before they get "real" wilderness. BWCAW is just too familiar to them.

I think my fixation on it is driven by the fact that it's an experience that i'm not going to encounter here in fresh water. While I wouldn't dream of doing it in bad weather, there is definitely something intriguing about the idea of engaging swells, currents, ferries, logs, whales, etc. Perhaps it's just a romantic dream and the reality is quite less engaging.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:19 PM   #27
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BD-
We understand the desire to get the most out of your "Training Passage". Just remember that being on the go all the time can induce a lot of stress on everyone. There's a lot more to boating than being underway all day to get to that next spot. The crew has to work with the Captain, but the Captain also has to work with the crew.
When the crew (and the Captain) has to learn as much as possible in a short time, such as how to set anchor, dock, use the Davit, engine checks, power consumption and so on, it will take its toll on everyone. You need time to relax occasionally and debrief. As well as try and enjoy the surroundings, make a few nice meals or enjoy an adult beverage at Sunset.
Just my 2 cents worth mostly from past experience.
Best of luck, John
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:20 PM   #28
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The places I listed in the Gulf Islands are a mix of very nice and somewhat funky marinas, marine parks with mooring buoys, and anchorages.

If you have not already done so I suggest you get one or more of the cruising guides for the Gulf Islands. We use the Douglass Guide, the Dreamspeaker Guide, Best Anchorages of the Inside Passages, the Waggoner Guide and the BC Sailing Directions.

To us the Gulf Islands make for far more enjoyable cruising than the San Juan's. Sort of like comparing Victoria, BC to LA.
We have Waggoner but have not looked at the others. I'll definitely look into it.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:23 PM   #29
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We want to have a mix of remote anchoring, mooring, anchoring with neighbors, and even marina docks.
That would be Desolation.

If the goal is to boat in BC, then it would make sense to charter in BC, would it not? Probably too late, but the slog up the Strait of Georgia is indeed a slog. If I were to charter in the San Juans/Gulf Islands, I would stay in the immediate vicinity.

If I wanted to boat in Desolation or to Princess Louisa, I would charter in BC. There is a Californian 39 for charter at Desolation Sound Yacht Charters for a considerable lower cost and 20% off once you figure in exchange. Cooper has boats in Powell River for charter that would be a few hours to Desolation and a with a faster boat, a day trip to Princess Louisa.

Maybe next time.

As Marin has said the crossing can be a complete bore. It's been like a millpond out there for the last 4 days, but supposed to blow a gale tomorrow.

That said, I've done Sidney to Nanaimo in a day with no issue, had to get up early to time Dodd Narrows correctly. Nanaimo to Sarah Point or Cortes Bay, is about the same as Nanaimo to Princess Louisa, but with weather and bailout options enroute.

The key thing is to be flexible with your dates and weather windows.

The last week of June always seems a tad fickle weather wise as well.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:24 PM   #30
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BD-
We understand the desire to get the most out of your "Training Passage". Just remember that being on the go all the time can induce a lot of stress on everyone. There's a lot more to boating than being underway all day to get to that next spot. The crew has to work with the Captain, but the Captain also has to work with the crew.
When the crew (and the Captain) has to learn as much as possible in a short time, such as how to set anchor, dock, use the Davit, engine checks, power consumption and so on, it will take its toll on everyone. You need time to relax occasionally and debrief. As well as try and enjoy the surroundings, make a few nice meals or enjoy an adult beverage at Sunset.
Just my 2 cents worth mostly from past experience.
Best of luck, John
That is a very important reminder. On our last trip it was just the two of us, and we spent a TON of time just checking systems, practicing anchoring, learning about the autopilot (which we don't have). We learned a lot from that, and it's part of why I'm so excited to do it again.

I don't want it to be a 12 hour death march every day. I want it to be a positive learning experience. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:28 PM   #31
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If I wanted to boat in Desolation or to Princess Louisa, I would charter in BC. There is a Californian 39 for charter at Desolation Sound Yacht Charters for a considerable lower cost and 20% off once you figure in exchange. Cooper has boats in Powell River for charter that would be a few hours to Desolation and a with a faster boat, a day trip to Princess Louisa.

Maybe next time.
OKAY! Now I have to come back. I'm losing money by not doing it!!
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:29 PM   #32
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Oh, and get familiar with the Environment Canada Marine site for the Georgia Basin.

It is the same report you will hear on the VHF weather channel.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:30 PM   #33
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BD-
We understand the desire to get the most out of your "Training Passage". Just remember that being on the go all the time can induce a lot of stress on everyone. There's a lot more to boating than being underway all day to get to that next spot. The crew has to work with the Captain, but the Captain also has to work with the crew.
When the crew (and the Captain) has to learn as much as possible in a short time, such as how to set anchor, dock, use the Davit, engine checks, power consumption and so on, it will take its toll on everyone. You need time to relax occasionally and debrief. As well as try and enjoy the surroundings, make a few nice meals or enjoy an adult beverage at Sunset.
Just my 2 cents worth mostly from past experience.
Best of luck, John
Great advice!! Sometimes you've just got to stop and smell the roses.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:34 PM   #34
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I think my fixation on it is driven by the fact that it's an experience that i'm not going to encounter here in fresh water. While I wouldn't dream of doing it in bad weather, there is definitely something intriguing about the idea of engaging swells, currents, ferries, logs, whales, etc. Perhaps it's just a romantic dream and the reality is quite less engaging.
Some of the Great Lakes are pretty darn big. I've crossed from Copper Harbor to Isle Royale and that was a haul and a half.

Not really any swells on Georgia Strait, at least not in the ocean sense. It's all just wind waves, although these can get very big very fast when the wind kicks up. In this respect it's like a big lake. Flat one minute and rolling the crap out of you the next.

I think Spy's post is well worth thinking about. He lives in Powell River and so is probably more intimately knowledgeable about the whole Georgia Strait basin than most of the rest of us on this forum.
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:19 PM   #35
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Would we hit that coming out of Friday Harbor too? I was thinking that if we came behind Speiden and Stuart it wouldn't be as bad.

We intend to clear customs at Bedwell Harbor just to make sure that we can make landfall anywhere along the route to Nanaimo.
No, you will not hit that. You will need to cross Boundry Pass though, but I see more whales than swells there.

For future reference - from Pender Harbour to Malibu Rapids is almost exactly the same distance as it is from Pender Harbour to Sarah Point (the entrance to Desolation Sound). When people think that Desolation Sound is farther than PLI, they probably just looked at a map and never bothered to actually plot it.
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:20 PM   #36
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Actually, now that I think about it, I'm glad they think it's farther!
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:25 PM   #37
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The eternal question of new cruisers. Do I go everywhere and see nothing but water or stop and explore. In my experience time spent exploring new places is what cruising is all about. The ladies especially will enjoy exploring and if the ladies are happy everyone is happy.
The stories that will be remembered wont be the long passage but the neat little bits of local life found by just wandering around.
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:55 PM   #38
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We intend to clear customs at Bedwell Harbor just to make sure that we can make landfall anywhere along the route to Nanaimo.
Bedwell is a convenient place to clear. Be aware that it can be very windy in there and getting onto or off of the customs dock can be a challenge. The last four or five times we've cleared there the wind was just howling down that bay and it took a bit of planning to figure out how to get on the dock in such a way that we could off of it easily, too.

Like Georgia Strait, if you can get into Bedwell early in the day the chances of encountering strong winds is reduced. Mind you, it's not always like that in there, but from our experience it seems a more common situation than we would have thought. In wind, we tend to give more thought to how we're going to get off than how we're going to get on.

One can also clear in the harbor at Sidney if one is going over in that direction.
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Old 04-09-2015, 08:06 PM   #39
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The eternal question of new cruisers. Do I go everywhere and see nothing but water or stop and explore. In my experience time spent exploring new places is what cruising is all about..

Really, really excellent point.

A few years ago we took some friends we boat with here on a narrowboat cruise in the UK. Two weeks on the boat. Now my wife and I are very experienced narrowboaters and we've been on most of the canals in the northern half of the system. So it's sort of a second boating "home" to us.

We decided on a very ambitious route that included five different canals and some 200 locks. Our goal was to give our friends as broad a view of canalling as we could. In order to complete the circuit we needed to run almost every day for a good five to eight hours. (Keep in mind that boat speed is max 3 mph by law.)

Now this was great for me, because for the most part I was driving the boat which I love to do. But it was not quite as great for our friends. They loved the trip, but we realized later that they would have enjoyed shorter runs each day and had more time to explore the villages and whatnot that we passed through, relax in a canalside pub for a long lunch, and so on.

We are in the planning stages for our next narrowboat cruise which we will take in the company of our director of videography and his wife. Like our boating friends, they have never been canalboating at all although my co-worker has been to canals with me when we've shot in the UK and seen how the locks work and so forth.

This time, we will plan an interesting but not nearly so ambitious of a route as we did last time, and we will allow for spending days in the more interesting places we pass through as well as more "chill out" time.

I suspect the experience will be a lot more enjoyable overall, particularly for our guests.
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:37 PM   #40
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Sounds like a great and ambitious trip and at that speed you will burn tons of fuel!

In about three weeks we are chartering out of Bellingham for eight days in the Gulf Islands. This will be our third charter in the PNW. First trip we stayed in the San Juan's and last trip in the Gulf Islands. Here is where we have been and plan to revisit:
- Ganges with a stop in Bedwell to clear customs
- Sidney and visit Sidney Spit
- Anchor in Genoa Bay and dinghy to Cowichan Bay
- Montague Harbour - Moor in the harbor, at the Humingbird!
- Return via Roche or Friday, haven't decided yet

New places we are contemplating for this trip, (comments/suggestions welcome):
- Ladysmith - looks interesting in the guidebooks. Want to see a log barge dump its load!
- Naniamo - It has been suggested to moor across in Mark Bay and dinghy across?
- Chemainus - Option to Ladysmith

Hope you enjoy!
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