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Old 11-22-2016, 01:02 PM   #61
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Depending on how that goes in the first week or so, (as well as what the weather patterns are), we'll either keep our cruise more local to Puget Sound and the San Juans/Gulf Islands, or take a leap up into BC. We will definitely want to get the boat out into some weather and sea conditions during this phase. Testing the boat's capabilities, pushing her a little to get out of comfort zones, learning how she handles different sea conditions (and how to handle her in said conditions), getting a sense of the pros and cons of different cruising speeds, developing shipboard patterns and customs will all be priorities, and how far afield we go sooner or later in the cruise will all grow out of the results of the emerging experience.
Lots of opportunity to try things out. If you went North up the Swinnomish you can then cross Rosario Strait to the San Juans. Not a big crossing at all, but depending on wind and current conditions it can be rough. If you choose to head South from the San Juans to Port Townsend, you can cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It can be glass smooth or it can dangerous as hell. Not the place I would look for rough weather experience.

South of Port Townsend, Admiralty Inlet can get rough depending on wind and current conditions as it is a big stretch of water, exposed to the prevailing Southerlies if the wind gets up. As I found out, even in the South Sound the seas can surprise you. I would rather explore the handling in waters that are close to help, provisioning, and repair as needed in a new boat.

I may sound unnecessarily cautious, and if there weren't a lot of great cruising opportunities close in it would be different. But for a shakedown, why not stay close?
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Old 11-23-2016, 10:26 AM   #62
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In my experience I'd go in April when you will be the only boat you see in an anchorage. In the summer, the wind often blows at night and since everybody thinks they can anchor with 3:1 scope, you wind up having to dodge dragging boats.

But seriously, you can't see everything in the San Juans inside of a time measured in years, and do expect that you will often be the only cruising boat you see in anything than perfect weather that time of year.
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Old 11-24-2016, 05:52 AM   #63
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You are going to have so much fun! Based on some of your other posts I have a few recommendations that are different from the excellent advice you have already received. Having cruised the PNW for six years now, here's what my wife and I would do.

First, join a PNW yacht club with reciprocal privileges. There are a few "virtual" clubs that will cost you less than $100 for your first year. This will get you an average of two nights per reciprocal at $5 per night including power. Figure your boat will typically cost $40-50 per night at most public docks.

LaConner is a great little town. Head south and visit Langley, then Everett (several recipes in Everett). Mosey down to Edmonds and use our recip. Great restaurants and the dog park is a short walk to the south end of the marina. If your dogs are good with other dogs they will have a ball. Get in touch with me to arrange drinks and dinner with us.

Head south and go through the locks. You must do this! Recips abound. Definitely visit Seattle Yacht Club (recip) for a night or two. Take a slow cruise through the "cut" and go to Bellevue (recip). More great restaurants and shopping.

Come back through the cut and spend two nights at Tyee YC (recip) and watch the boats cruise by. Go back through the locks and go to Bell Harbor in Seattle (no recip there). Fantastic city views and you are in the heart of the city.

Head south to Tacoma (recips) and visit the Chihuly glass museum and the car museum (name escapes me). It is a beautiful run to Olympia (recip). Coming back, stop at Gig Harbor (recip), Bremerton (recip), Poulsbo (recip and one of our favorite weekend destinations). Then Kingston, Port Ludlow, and Port Townsend (all recips).

From Port Townsend we would visit Victoria, then spend a week in the Gulf Islands and cross back to the San Juans and stop at Roche Harbor to clear customs, then Friday Harbor, Lopez Island and back to LaConner.

When you don't want to stay at a marina there are anchorages just about everywhere. I would save a long run North for later in the summer with the beautiful August weather. If you want to get together feel free to email me at rob dot meldrum at gmail dot com.
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Old 11-24-2016, 11:15 AM   #64
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LaConner is a great little town.

Yes, it is! We had dinner at the "Oyster and Thistle" and it was quite possibly the finest meal we've had out in the past 10 years. We still talk about it. Moorage was $45 for the night including power. The cheapest fuel in the north sound is in Oak Harbour and they give complementary moorage for the night with a fill.
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Old 11-24-2016, 09:40 PM   #65
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I am spending Thanksgiving on the boat at Poulsbo. Of course the weather is a bit typical, South wind 15-20, rain, and temps in the low 40's. Perfect PNW day.
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Old 11-24-2016, 10:27 PM   #66
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Great photo. With a little chop on the water these become invisible.
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Old 11-25-2016, 09:34 AM   #67
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There is a new blog called slow boat.com that one may find useful in the PNW.
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Old 11-25-2016, 09:18 PM   #68
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There is a new blog called slow boat.com that one may find useful in the PNW.
Funny that you mention this. I knew about showboat.com, but haven't really looked at it. Checked again, with your link, and realized that I had run into these folks before, because we too have an Airstream, and Laura & Kevin have the blog Riveted featuring photography from their Airstreaming adventures. Small world, good resources! Thank you for the reminder.
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Old 11-25-2016, 09:20 PM   #69
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I am spending Thanksgiving on the boat at Poulsbo. Of course the weather is a bit typical, South wind 15-20, rain, and temps in the low 40's. Perfect PNW day.
That's the weather we are anticipating and preparing for!
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Old 11-25-2016, 09:21 PM   #70
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Yes, it is! We had dinner at the "Oyster and Thistle" and it was quite possibly the finest meal we've had out in the past 10 years. We still talk about it. Moorage was $45 for the night including power. The cheapest fuel in the north sound is in Oak Harbour and they give complementary moorage for the night with a fill.
Nice tips!
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Old 11-25-2016, 09:25 PM   #71
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YES ......

Oyster and Thistle is wonderful.
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Old 11-26-2016, 02:34 AM   #72
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Oyster and Thistle is our favorite restaurant in LaConner. Nothing else comes close. Drinks and lunch in the pub-style bar, summertime on their patio, and dinner upstairs is soooo good. Big thumbs-up!
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Old 11-26-2016, 12:04 PM   #73
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Oyster and Thistle is our favorite restaurant in LaConner. Nothing else comes close. Drinks and lunch in the pub-style bar, summertime on their patio, and dinner upstairs is soooo good. Big thumbs-up!

Oh yes! Great minds think alike!
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Old 11-26-2016, 09:36 PM   #74
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The Wild West.
I'm going to give you a completely different point of view: forget about the San Juans, they are populated with airports, post offices, banks and street lights etc. - you might as well go to Annapolis. The topography is flat and uninteresting. If you want to experience west coast adventure boating, head north. Go to Princess Louisa inlet and see the Chatterbox Falls surrounded by 5000 ft granite walls. You have to go through Malibu Rapids to get there, which run at about 12 knots through a channel that's crooked as a dog's hind leg. It's an adventure.

Go stay at the Backeddy Marina and hike to the Skookemchuck tidal rapids that run over 20 knots and are a favourite destination for white water kayakers from around the world.

There's lots more adventure to be had north of there too. You won't have time to go north of Cape Caution, but you won't be bored in Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands.

Have fun.

Cheers.
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Old 11-27-2016, 11:34 AM   #75
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Oh yes! Great minds think alike!
Great info!
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Old 11-27-2016, 11:36 AM   #76
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The Wild West.
I'm going to give you a completely different point of view: forget about the San Juans, they are populated with airports, post offices, banks and street lights etc. - you might as well go to Annapolis. The topography is flat and uninteresting. If you want to experience west coast adventure boating, head north. Go to Princess Louisa inlet and see the Chatterbox Falls surrounded by 5000 ft granite walls. You have to go through Malibu Rapids to get there, which run at about 12 knots through a channel that's crooked as a dog's hind leg. It's an adventure.

Go stay at the Backeddy Marina and hike to the Skookemchuck tidal rapids that run over 20 knots and are a favourite destination for white water kayakers from around the world.

There's lots more adventure to be had north of there too. You won't have time to go north of Cape Caution, but you won't be bored in Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands.

Have fun.

Cheers.
I really hope we will be able to get up to Princess Louisa Inlet. I suspect it will depend on shakedown, weather, and timing. Fingers crossed. And thanks for the other great info.
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Old 11-27-2016, 06:56 PM   #77
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Sorry but I did not have the patience to read all the posts(bad on me) Did you say early April? Did anybody mention the weather issue. Maybe the locals can deal with April but after 20 years in the NW I would still avoid long exposure on the water. Think wet very wet,cold and possible high wind. Most locals prefer July August and September. If you go in April you will have most places to yourself.
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Old 11-27-2016, 07:30 PM   #78
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eyshulman,
No. The fishermen will be heading north. But they aren't going for fun and are highly motivated to get there. Most should move to Alaska IMO.
But it's 1000 miles up (and back) so starting early is good for the cruiser too. And 1000 miles just gets one to the very southern tip of Alaska. Most want to go to Glacier Bay and Skagway. Then it's a 3000 mile trip. So starting early has merit.
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Old 11-27-2016, 08:11 PM   #79
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eyshulman,
No. The fishermen will be heading north. But they aren't going for fun and are highly motivated to get there. Most should move to Alaska IMO.
But it's 1000 miles up (and back) so starting early is good for the cruiser too. And 1000 miles just gets one to the very southern tip of Alaska. Most want to go to Glacier Bay and Skagway. Then it's a 3000 mile trip. So starting early has merit.
Huh... Alaska is big but SE isn't that far, from Gig Harbor to Ketchikan is less 750 nm. Another 250 or so to Juneau, and from Auke Bay to Skagway is less than 100 nm Glacier Bay to Auke Bay probably 50nm
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Old 11-30-2016, 09:57 PM   #80
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AT and Airstream? You should check out our blog (Riveted - link in my signature line). We've done extensive cruising in the area you're looking at - Puget Sound through the top of SE Alaska - 500+ nights aboard the past two years - bunches of posts on destinations. (Also tons of Airstreaming in there.)

EDIT: Oh, I just noticed earlier in the thread you already found us.

I agree that I would not venture far north in April on your timeframe. There is an incredible amount to see in the San Juans and Puget Sound. I personally wouldn't do SE Alaska from there with less than about 2.5 months, and I'd start in May or June. April weather is too iffy for the Cape Caution and Dixon Entrance crossings, as well as some of the sometimes-nastier straights. You need time to wait for your weather windows.

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