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Old 12-15-2014, 01:11 AM   #1
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Pacific Northwest 2015

Hello group,

We are a cruising family (Me and the wife + our 12 year old son) currently wintering in San Francisco Bay with plans to head to the PNW for the 2015 cruising season. We just returned from a year in Mexico so we thought we'd try some cold water for a change of pace.

We have plans to hit as many of the popular places as possible and extend the season as long as possible while in the northwest. Our ultimate goal is Alaska but we're more concerned with the adventure, not the destination so that is still written in pencil.

I'd like to hear from those who plan on cruising the area with kids and if cruising this area is conducive to meeting other families to hang with. We had a great group of kid boats in Mexico and are looking to recreate that in the PNW.

Hope to see you out there!

Randy
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Old 12-15-2014, 03:10 AM   #2
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Some of the best places to meet other families in both the San Juans and Gulf Islands are the marine parks. They're popular with families because there's easy access to shore, often beaches to play on, hiking trails, and so on.

You might want to get a copy of one or more of the popular guidebooks for Puget Sound and the BC coast. A good one to start with is the Waggoner Guide, published annually. I believe there is an on-line version or an app, I haven't looked into it. If one is more interested in anchorages and navigation info, we prefer the Douglass Guides. We have both types of guides plus others on the boat, along with both the US and Canadian government sailing directions for the region.
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Old 12-15-2014, 08:02 AM   #3
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None of your phones and Pads will pull up economical data in Canada. Most kids today cannot survive without being connected. If this is an issue for those aboard, get a plan for the devices suitable for North of the border. Alaska can prove challenging too in this regard.

Does the young one like isolation and rain? We have noted for years the absence of young ones on vessels when doing the trip North once past Vancouver, fewer families and more grandparents.
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Old 12-15-2014, 08:46 AM   #4
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Rsysol

Welcome to TF you came to the right place for the resources your looking for

looking forward to following you on your adventure
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Old 12-15-2014, 09:31 AM   #5
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You can cruise year round in the PNW. Here's a picture from Friday Harbor yesterday evening.

The further north you go the fewer kids you'll likely see. Desolation Sound is a pretty popular family spot, since it's accessible on a two week holiday, the water is warm enough for swimming during summer, and there are lots of lakes. Oh yeah, the scenery is beautiful, but it's not very desolate during peak summer season (July and August).

North of Desolation Sound I don't see many families cruising...most folks seem to be older and retired. I cruised SE Alaska in 2012 and 2014 and only remember meeting a couple of families cruising with younger kids. I had a 6 and 9 year old on the boat between Sitka and Juneau last summer. They did fine, enjoyed seeing bears and whales and kayaking among ice at the face of glaciers, but it was a lot of work keeping them entertained. In 10 days we didn't see anyone else their age, had very little cell phone service, and they could rarely get to shore because of terrain and wildlife. Having some movies loaded onto an iPad for them was a lifesaver.
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Old 12-15-2014, 09:59 AM   #6
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The last two summers in SE Alaska I had our now 10-year-old grand nephew with me for 6-7 weeks, and for two weeks the year before. Had his 8th, 9th, and 10th birthdays on board our small cruiser. He absolutely loved every minute of it, and would stay all summer if it were practical. Loved the scenery, the critters, learning the craft of boating, and especially the fishing (and eating the fish/crab/shrimp). Blew us all away by catching a 50lb King mooching near Craig last summer, and also a 60lb halibut.

Never missed being connected to the net, but he doesn't get to spend a lot of time doing that here at home either. BTW, in SE AK access to the net via cell service is pretty good in many locations - unlike much of north coast BC.
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Old 12-15-2014, 10:23 AM   #7
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Hi, welcome aboard

This is only a guess, but my hunch is that most "cruisers" north of Vancouver Island stick to the Inside Passage on their way to Alaska. The people who live up here, and boat with kids, tend to be exploring off the beaten path.

Our experience so far is that people up here don't socialize much at anchorages...a polite wave for sure, but rarely does anybody "drop by for a visit". Maybe it's because as northerners, we like and appreciate our space. One thing is for sure, there is tons of room to spread out because we can go days without seeing another boat.

This can be good for a kid...space to think, space to be independent, space to become confident doing new things and having responsibilities, space to learn how to slow down and become thoughtful.

We have dogs (two Yorkies and a Pyrenees/Lab cross bush dog) as well as our 13 year old daughter and go to shore at least twice a day...but we keep seasonal bear habitats in mind and all three of us have pepper spray.

I work full time so don't have much time to "hang" out there, but give me a private message as you head into north coast BC and I'll give you some hints for places to visit,

Murray
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Old 12-15-2014, 12:33 PM   #8
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If there are kids we find them on beeches and marine parks or messing with the small boats at protected anchorages less so the farther northwest one goes. Kids aside it is a great boating area and one does not have to go too far North to appreciate that. Stay below the rapids above desolation sound and there will be plenty of kids and dogs.
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Old 12-15-2014, 01:11 PM   #9
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Rsysol, welcome to TF. There are a lot of PNW boaters here so you should a lot of good information.

When you're heading up the coast, consider a side trip up the Columbia River and on up the Snake River. You'll encounter some very different, very beautiful, scenery from what you see along the coast. Instead of the tree covered mountains you'll see lots of desert country, rugged hills and some of the tallest locks in the world.

Here's a link to my Photobucket account that will give you some peeks into what you'll encounter up here.....

Beachcomber Coming Home Photos by gofirstclass | Photobucket

In the summer of 2013 I had the pleasure of helping a boater take his boat from Seattle to Stockton, CA. The scenery is beautiful along the coastal areas but much different from what you'll see here. It's also much warmer and sunnier up in this part of the PNW.
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Old 12-15-2014, 02:05 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the great information so far. We spent the last cruising season in Mexico so we are aware of the issues with dealing with the lack of connectivity and self entertainment. In my opinion, a great thing but my 12 year old would disagree! We spent a lot of our time swimming so we may need to find another activity up north.

We've chartered in the San Juans and Gulf Islands so we have some limited experience with the area. Really looking forward to exploring further north. I have several of the guidebooks mentioned and the Waggoner Guide for 2014 is already downloaded onto the iPad.

Sounds like we'll be in good company up to Desolation Sound with families, we've scheduled a lot of time there before heading to the Broughtons and SE Alaska.

Thanks again for the info!
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Old 12-15-2014, 09:06 PM   #11
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I posted a thread twice on my trips to and from Alaska. We moved there and then back again and have no input on kids afloat other than probably needing to provide something to occupy their minds and perhaps bodies.

The thread on our trip north was "A Long way Home II". A Long way Home I is no longer available ... I think. My pictures will probably prepare you significantly as to where you will be going. What kind of land and sea is it up there.

A Long way Home is on page 6 of Voyagers and other Boaters on the go with 209 posts with lots of feedback from other TF members and lots of pictures. If you find the first "Long way Home" please let me know where it is.
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:11 PM   #12
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Also check out the Dreamspeaker cruising guides by Anne and Laurence Yeadon-Jones. Lots of information and beautiful illustrations.
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Old 12-20-2014, 05:30 AM   #13
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Pacific Northwest 2015

Families cruising are out here. We have a 15, 13 and 11 year old. And cruise all Summer. July in Desolation and August in the Broughtons. We've met some other families and cruise yearly with them into those areas. It's great having the kids around and watching them experience BC. Hopefully we will see you next Summer.
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Old 12-20-2014, 01:47 PM   #14
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We cruised S.E. Alaska extensively when our kids were young. The small communities have play grounds were the kids played with other kids. Also we found kids at the local library s, some just a shack with book shelves. Many of the commercial fishing boats have kids aboard that love to play in row boats and inflatables with other kids. As an aside, you probably know that Coast Pilot #8 is a must for S.E. There are numerous hazards and it is the best book for safety.
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Old 12-20-2014, 01:54 PM   #15
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Old deckhand,
You've got my favorite boat and you live in one of my favorite places.
We just reciently left SE (Thorne Bay) but we almost went to Sitka or Juneau.
Welcome to the forum and don't hold back.
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Old 12-20-2014, 03:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigsalmonfish View Post
Families cruising are out here. We have a 15, 13 and 11 year old. And cruise all Summer. July in Desolation and August in the Broughtons. We've met some other families and cruise yearly with them into those areas. It's great having the kids around and watching them experience BC. Hopefully we will see you next Summer.
Bigsalmonfish,

Thanks for the info, sounds like we may cross paths, hope to meet you up there.
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Old 01-04-2015, 05:39 PM   #17
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As mentioned above, I'll bet the average age of the boater goes up 20 years above Desolation. Still we saw several kids in all the areas we stopped. Places like Port McNeil and some of the docks in the Broughtons such as Pierre's have kids around. Desolation sound has the warmest water in the PNW, as the tidal current meet, mid Vancouver Island trapping the warm surface later. Temps reach almost 80 F.

We will be heading to Hakai Pass and beyond this summer. New territory for us too!


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Old 01-04-2015, 06:03 PM   #18
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We will be heading to Hakai Pass and beyond this summer. New territory for us too!
Be sure to wave as you go past
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Old 01-05-2015, 05:46 PM   #19
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We start April 2016.......
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:24 PM   #20
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Eric, We like Thorn Bay and eventually bought a nice beach lot in
Port Saint Nick on the other side of POW. Held the lot for 20 years thinking we would build a cabin, eventually sold the lot. Sitka is a special place and not many folks make it there compared to those running the inside. Also the west coast of POW is special too. Thanks for the kind words on the Eagle (our sea going RV).
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