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Old 06-05-2014, 06:06 PM   #1
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Go north young man! (Heading to Alaska)

I'm taking my first trip to Alaska the first week in July. Everett to Ketchikan and then spending a week in and about Craig for some fishing. I have read a lot online, have most the recommend books. But can't seem to find a recommended route.

Now for the bad news.

I have a schedule and am taking wife, family, and kids on this trip (at least to Ketchikan.). I want to make the trip in 9 days to Ketchikan.

I realize there will be long days ahead but want the family to see some of the major places and remember it fondly.


My ask is this, can any share their routes, travel time, stops, and such with me. This is the one thing I can't seem to find. I'm looking for evening spots with wild life, a few providing spots, neat waterfalls and scenery.

I use Nobletec for my software, so if you can even export your routes, that would be cool, but any and all advice is welcome .



Details: travel people: 3 women, 4 men, 5 kids (ages: 4,5,8,10,13).

68' vessel, would like to travel at 10-12 knots (capable of 18).





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Old 06-05-2014, 06:27 PM   #2
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We're doing it soon but as we're not stopping between Bellingham and Ketchikan can't help you much with anything in between. We expect to average 13-15 knots and take 40-46 hours. We're first timers on this route so hopefully someone who has taken it many times will pop up with info.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:53 PM   #3
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Are you nervous about driving during the dark? Are you going outside of Vancouver Island or inside through the channels just asking because of the rapids?


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Old 06-05-2014, 08:00 PM   #4
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We're doing it soon but as we're not stopping between Bellingham and Ketchikan can't help you much with anything in between. We expect to average 13-15 knots and take 40-46 hours. We're first timers on this route so hopefully someone who has taken it many times will pop up with info.
You clearly do not want to stop in Canada. No other reason to go direct from Bellingham to Ketchikan. No need to clear customs that way.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:08 PM   #5
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You clearly do not want to stop in Canada. No other reason to go direct from Bellingham to Ketchikan. No need to clear customs that way.
You guessed it. Going to do Alaska. Return to Port Angeles. Then go to Canada. Just felt it was easier this way plus did it based on guests at various times of our trip. So easy to just cross from Port Angeles to Victoria and then enjoy Canada. Return from Vancouver to Port Angeles. The other reality is that even in two months you can't see all you'd like to.

As to route, we're going up on the inside, returning on the outside. Prefer daylight but feel like we're well equipped both from the captain side and the equipment side for it. We'll go slower at night. Plus dark is rather on the short side. Sunrise today in Ketchikan was 4:09 AM and sunset was 9:22 PM. Taking a half hour before and half hour after for light, that only leaves you with 6 1/2 hours or so of darkness. We will not take chances. We'd change the plans in an instant if circumstances warranted. Fog is a far greater concern than dark to us.

Yes, odd route. Not what we'd necessarily recommend for others.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:18 PM   #6
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There's always a gotcha, and you're going to potentially face one.

Even though the night time is short, and even though it doesn't get as dark as the lower 48 during that short dark time it still makes night navigation full of risk.

The logs through Canada can be horrendous. You cannot see them on Radar. You cannot see them on forward looking sonar. The logs live in that magic few feet just at the surface.

The big commercial ships just push through them. The logs must not get pushed under the boat into the props.

You're going to be in a pretty large boat I beleive. How will it do when you smack a log you cannot see? Your boat might be large enough to deflect the logs. I'm afraid mine is not.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:24 PM   #7
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You guessed it. Going to do Alaska. Return to Port Angeles. Then go to Canada. Just felt it was easier this way plus did it based on guests at various times of our trip. So easy to just cross from Port Angeles to Victoria and then enjoy Canada. Return from Vancouver to Port Angeles. The other reality is that even in two months you can't see all you'd like to.

As to route, we're going up on the inside, returning on the outside. Prefer daylight but feel like we're well equipped both from the captain side and the equipment side for it. We'll go slower at night. Plus dark is rather on the short side. Sunrise today in Ketchikan was 4:09 AM and sunset was 9:22 PM. Taking a half hour before and half hour after for light, that only leaves you with 6 1/2 hours or so of darkness. We will not take chances. We'd change the plans in an instant if circumstances warranted. Fog is a far greater concern than dark to us.

Yes, odd route. Not what we'd necessarily recommend for others.
Logs had better be at the top of your list of concerns as well as they'll probably be your biggest danger at night. They'll ruin your trip in an instant. Take it seriously and be afraid, very afraid, and you should be alright.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:28 PM   #8
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Kasanders, I second that. I usually need to make course changes every few minutes on this trip. I guess you just run over those 40 foot logs when you can't see them in the dark. I wouldn't even ride with someone planning on running after dark in BC.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:30 PM   #9
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There's always a gotcha, and you're going to potentially face one.

Even though the night time is short, and even though it doesn't get as dark as the lower 48 during that short dark time it still makes night navigation full of risk.

The logs through Canada can be horrendous. You cannot see them on Radar. You cannot see them on forward looking sonar. The logs live in that magic few feet just at the surface.

The big commercial ships just push through them. The logs must not get pushed under the boat into the props.

You're going to be in a pretty large boat I beleive. How will it do when you smack a log you cannot see? Your boat might be large enough to deflect the logs. I'm afraid mine is not.
Not thrilled with the logs day or night. We will go much slower during dark hours, see what we can with radar, sonar, night vision and a very much oversized search light. Also, listening and communicating with some of the commercial boats in regards to areas they do encounter them. And if we get an indication conditions warrant, we'll find a nice resting spot. If it means idling in place for 7 hours we'll do it. Proceeding with caution but of course no guarantees nothing will be lurking beneath the surface ready to attack us.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:37 PM   #10
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Kasanders, I second that. I usually need to make course changes every few minutes on this trip. I guess you just run over those 40 foot logs when you can't see them in the dark. I wouldn't even ride with someone planning on running after dark in BC.
Agreed. No way I'm out there at night, unless it's an emergency. Even during daylight, if there's a decent chop you can't even see some of them until you're right on top of them.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:38 PM   #11
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We do have an alternate plan as well. Still gets us to Ketchikan the same day. No plans set in stone until the time arrives.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:50 PM   #12
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Ok, ok, night travel will be difficult for a lot of us, logs are definitely a danger BandB seems to have a mission and a plan, . now back to my question...surely there are a lot of folks on here that have done this trip. Looking for advice, routes, tips, don't miss locations.


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Old 06-05-2014, 10:59 PM   #13
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Ok, ok, night travel will be difficult for a lot of us, logs are definitely a danger BandB seems to have a mission and a plan, . now back to my question...surely there are a lot of folks on here that have done this trip. Looking for advice, routes, tips, don't miss locations.


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Yes, I'd like to hear too. What are the can't miss areas of coastal British Columbia?

And while you're at it, entry and re-entry issues with food?
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:17 PM   #14
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... If it means idling in place for 7 hours we'll do it. Proceeding with caution but of course no guarantees nothing will be lurking beneath the surface ready to attack us.
Gee, at idle speed I'm going just half as fast as full speed! Wouldn't look forward to hitting a log even at 3.5 knots, even with a steel hull. Is night-time drifting a good option?
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:18 PM   #15
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The AK ferries take the best route for speed. Take it but stop at night. Get "Exploring Southeast Alaska .. Dixon Entrance to Skagway". That's the best book for identifying anchorages. With a vessel as large as 68' you'll need to identify tidal currents and anchorages suitable for such a large boat. Even well thought out a bit of bad weather will ruin your timing for all the following legs of the trip. Even if your favorite chosen anchorages seem perfect there may be too many boats (commercial and pleasure) to anchor safely. It would be an asset to be fully capable to anchor fore and aft. You can easily plan your passage through Seymour Narrows. You must catch the tide right there. Be prepared to alter your plans anytime slightly or extensively.

If the seas are relatively calm you could run at night at slow bell and save time. If your hull is steel just go straight through.

My wife and I lived in Thorne Bay on POW island. Moved to W WA 2 years ago. PM me for local knowledge.

In the archives I have a trip story basically taken from our log book. With a much smaller boat and a 6 knot speed it took us 22 days. The thread was called "A long way home". We lived in Thorne Bay at the time. You may get some scope about the places along the way in the story.

I couldn't find it on TF but it's still on my Facebook page. Click on "more" and at the bottom of the list click on "notes". The story is "Boat Trip North".
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:50 PM   #16
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Yes, I'd like to hear too. What are the can't miss areas of coastal British Columbia?

And while you're at it, entry and re-entry issues with food?
BandB

If you're not stopping you do not need to clear customs. Therefore you do not have food issues.

If you are going to clear customs then neither side likes you to bring fruit into their country.

As far as places to stop, and routs, I've made the trip twice but both trips were basically delivery trips, so we didn't get to explore. I'll never do that again. Next time we take our time and explore.

The route we took is basically the ferry route. The scenery is great, but after a while its all the same. We'd see a otter and fight for position to get a good photo.

Remember that I live here so I've got decades of experience in a temperate rain forest. First timers probably ooh and awe at everything in Alaska.

Cool things in BC are lighthouses, and the scenery.

Towns I've stopped in and enjoyed are:

Nanaimo (great food and town)
Port Hardy (small, but nice fishing town)
Port Mcneill (even smaller nice fishing town)
Bella Bella (stayed at Shearwater)
Prince Rupert (nice dining options, nice little Japanese fishing memorial)
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:52 AM   #17
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BandB

If you're not stopping you do not need to clear customs. Therefore you do not have food issues.

If you are going to clear customs then neither side likes you to bring fruit into their country.

As far as places to stop, and routs, I've made the trip twice but both trips were basically delivery trips, so we didn't get to explore. I'll never do that again. Next time we take our time and explore.

The route we took is basically the ferry route. The scenery is great, but after a while its all the same. We'd see a otter and fight for position to get a good photo.

Remember that I live here so I've got decades of experience in a temperate rain forest. First timers probably ooh and awe at everything in Alaska.

Cool things in BC are lighthouses, and the scenery.

Towns I've stopped in and enjoyed are:

Nanaimo (great food and town)
Port Hardy (small, but nice fishing town)
Port Mcneill (even smaller nice fishing town)
Bella Bella (stayed at Shearwater)
Prince Rupert (nice dining options, nice little Japanese fishing memorial)

I know no food issues not stopping, was wondering what people had experienced back and forth as that was one of the contributing factors in our preference.

For the OP, I might suggest as routing to look at some of the rallies, like the just cancelled Salty Dog. They have some details for some of the stops.

salty dog rally alaska, se ak cruising, se ak fishing, gsi boat, fishing wrangell AK, Fishing Petersburg AK,

Also the Waggoner Cruising Guide is excellent.

And a Sunshine Coast travel guide:

http://www.sunshinecoast.worldweb.com/

At least the mad cow scare is past.
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:33 AM   #18
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Here are possible stops on our list from Vancouver to Ketchikan. Now recognize our list is slanted toward marinas and predominantly those able to accommodate larger boats.

Pender Harbour
Saltery Bay
Powell River
Desolation Sound
Cortes Island
Campbell River
Port McNeill
Port Hardy
Bella Bella
Prince Rupert

You'll notice also that the majority of those have ferry routes to them. To us that is a positive factor as those are likely to be very navigable routes.
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:54 AM   #19
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...I have a trip story basically taken from our log book...
Seeing the posts above, you`d need to log logs in the log.
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Old 06-06-2014, 02:11 AM   #20
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Clearing customs not a big deal. Making tidal changes at many places is a big deal, especially Seymour Narrows. Places to visit include Dent Is Resort, Sullivan Bay and Shearwater.

Without good weather at Cape Caution and Dixon Entrance your trip will be tight. 100 footers wait out big seas at both these places. Plan on easy 18 hour days this time of the year.

You have gotten some good advice, enjoy the trip. I just did a non stop from Bellingham to Ketchikan, it took about 36 hours on the Kennicott.
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