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Old 11-30-2016, 10:34 PM   #81
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Hi Dorsey and Bruce!

We'll be heading back up to SE AK (leading a flotilla) in May, but we'll be around in April and would love to meet up with you guys when you're here! (Super convenient is that little RV park right next to the AT factory!) LaConner is great, and we second/third the Oyster and Thistle recommendation. If you're up for a splurge, check out The Willows Inn on Lummi Island. Highly recommended!!

There's so much to see in the San Juans/Puget Sound/Gulf Islands...I really don't expect you'll get bored. We cruise this area from October through April, and it's lovely. Even in crappy weather (now that you don't have a sailboat, that will be more true). You'll have a brand new boat to play with, and some great areas to explore...I think you'll love it!

Hope to see you in April! Congrats on the new AT!
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Old 12-01-2016, 06:59 AM   #82
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Hope to see you in April! Congrats on the new AT!
Hi Laura and Kevin,

We actually stumbled across your Riveted blog some time ago and picked up on the Airstream-Tug connection back then. Nice to connect here!

Yes indeed, we are looking forward to the tug. I'm gradually working through my angst at leaving sailing behind, but that should not be confused with any lack of enthusiasm for the new AT. Certainly as I watch weather patterns in the PNW I'm quite pleased that we won't be sailing!

Speaking of weather patterns... it has been interesting reading the diverse opinions on this thread about what we should do with our 3-4 weeks in April. If I'm to be truly honest, I'd have to confess that I suspect the realities of the time of year, shakedown priority, weather and amount of time available all point towards a Puget Sound/San Juans/Gulf Islands cruise, with a possible hit in Vancouver. As much as I'd really like to get up into Princess Louisa, I'm guessing that would be too much of a stretch given every thing else we'll be fussing with. We are going to try to keep our options open as much as possible and make decisions on the fly (that's pretty much how we roll anyway), but we need to be realistic about grasping for too much. It's is frustrating not being able to "do it all", but that can't be helped. I'm comforted by comments such as yours that indicate we can have a great time even staying in Puget and the San Juans.

And yes, how about that little campground right at the marina in La Conner? Talk about convenient! When I saw that as I poked around looking for a place for us to stay when we arrive in the Airstream, it seemed too good to be true.

Hope to see you when we get there. We'll certainly be posting here, but you can also keep up with us via our new website, www.brucebeard.com (which we have just put together to replace our defunct/decrepit website www.esmeralde.net).

Thanks for your advice...
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Old 12-01-2016, 11:59 AM   #83
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Yes indeed, we are looking forward to the tug. I'm gradually working through my angst at leaving sailing behind, but that should not be confused with any lack of enthusiasm for the new AT. Certainly as I watch weather patterns in the PNW I'm quite pleased that we won't be sailing!
One of the things you can do if you wish, is choose incredible sailing destinations to charter a sailboat for a day here and there while cruising in your AT. You can enjoy the best of sailing while getting there in the luxury and comfort of your AT. We're not sailors but do enjoy a day here and there on a sailboat. Now we enjoy it with someone else doing all the work You'd enjoy the work. We've had incredible experiences sailing in San Francisco, Cancun, Annapolis, Cape Cod, Virgin Islands, and various other places along the way. We only sail three or four times a year typically, but have the best of it, only on great days and in great sailing waters. Wind always perfect.

We're the same with fishing, do it with about the same frequency.
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Old 12-01-2016, 12:10 PM   #84
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Weather Patterns and diverse opinions

I was thinking the same thing (about the diverse opinions). It bummed me out to hear people saying you'd be bored in the San Juans and that you might as well go to Annapolis. First of all, isn't this your first time exploring this area? There are SO many great spots in the San Juans alone...and to be exploring with a new boat...I don't know...maybe it depends on your outlook, but I have a feeling you'll enjoy it all. Little towns like Roche Harbor are charming, places like Sucia Island have some gorgeous hiking trails, and when it's clear, the view of Mount Baker is stunning. Yeah, heading more north into BC and Alaska...the scenery does get more dramatic, but you'll have a blast even if you're slumming it in the San Juans. Save BC and SEAK for when you have more time. Also, you never know about Princess Louisa. The weather might be perfect for it, and you might get all the shakes out so you feel comfortable enough to head up there....winging it is great!

I'll keep up with the new website, and we'll be in touch!
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Old 12-01-2016, 12:24 PM   #85
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. It bummed me out to hear people saying you'd be bored in the San Juans and that you might as well go to Annapolis.
Wifey B: I don't know how people get bored exploring on the water. It's not the area that's boring, it's the person. I've not yet explored any area I found to be boring. Now, some I move on from quicker than others but almost all I look forward to returning to one day. We love Annapolis, by the way, one of our faves. But I do so look forward to returning to the PNW. The islands are all so cool, but then we had Alaska to see, and then the coast and just not enough time in a year or life. If you're getting bored, I'd suggest looking a little harder. I haven't been anywhere that didn't have something unique and special. Even if returning you'll see something for the first time. Getting bored is an attitude. I find ways to keep myself amused.

Oh my, it's so beautiful today. 80 degrees, breeze as we cruise at 20 knots, hitting us gently on the bridge. Water so peaceful and calm with 2' at 5 seconds. Thinking of all we'll do tonight and tomorrow. Looking out at the beauty of the sea.
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Old 12-01-2016, 12:36 PM   #86
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Agreed on all fronts! (And regarding Annapolis, I was just quoting the previous poster who seemed to dislike it, but if they're putting Annapolis in the same category as the San Juan Islands...well, then by default I'd probably like Annapolis too! But then I like most places I can go by boat! I'm easy like that.)
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Old 12-02-2016, 01:09 AM   #87
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We're a pretty diverse and fun bunch around here so whatever you choose to do if you want some company just ask!

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Old 12-02-2016, 04:30 AM   #88
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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
Ka,
Your milage I think is as the crow flies. Sea To Ket is 800 and change but as a straight line. By the time you go like a snake up the coast and out of the way to get to anchorages and points of interest Sea to Ket could be 1200 to 1500 mi. And running about in SE could easily run up 1500.

I admit it's possible my memory is bad and I'm basing this all on the 800 or so miles to Ketchikan. Took us 23 days on our 6 knot Willard LaConner to Ketchikan. And we were not sight seeing. Whatever the number it's a long way even if only one way.

Wifey B writes;
"Oh my, it's so beautiful today. 80 degrees, breeze as we cruise at 20 knots, hitting us gently on the bridge. Water so peaceful and calm with 2' at 5 seconds. Thinking of all we'll do tonight and tomorrow. Looking out at the beauty of the sea." With her along it may only be a few hundred miles.
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Old 12-02-2016, 07:09 AM   #89
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Eric

Yes, meandering around can well stretch the distance to SEAlaska by quite a lot. When headed north we are watching the weather and tides a few days ahead to judge required distances traveled so the run up to Ketchikan is as speedy as possible. So we'll tend to straight line it.

On our way south a few months later, once past Prince Rupert we enjoy the BC summer and fall as decent Alaska weather shuts down behind us. We've found it amazing how the line between wet and dry weather changes south of Prnce Rupert.

I'm headed up now to enjoy the Gulf Is. Gale force winds in Haro Strait and temperatures dropping to near freezing. I bet you will be seeing snow in Concrete.
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Old 12-02-2016, 11:10 AM   #90
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Sunchaser,
Indeed, and I'm about to check the weather report now. We have no heat backup (at home) and am thinking of getting a generator that will fire our pellet stove. Could be useful on the boat too. Got the flu now so not good for anything but reduced posting.

That's interesting about the weather line at Rupert. Never noticed that but always been very fond of northern BC. Especially Cape Caution to Shearwater. My love for Canada and having lived there a bit in the 70's has to do w it. Wanna get back.

Glad your out. I'm still not ready to get underway. Fixes to get done. Got a better moorage spot in the south basin now.
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Old 12-02-2016, 11:12 AM   #91
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Ka,
Your milage I think is as the crow flies. Sea To Ket is 800 and change but as a straight line. By the time you go like a snake up the coast and out of the way to get to anchorages and points of interest Sea to Ket could be 1200 to 1500 mi. And running about in SE could easily run up 1500.

I admit it's possible my memory is bad and I'm basing this all on the 800 or so miles to Ketchikan. Took us 23 days on our 6 knot Willard LaConner to Ketchikan. And we were not sight seeing. Whatever the number it's a long way even if only one way.
More than a few years ago, we left GH at noon in a 33ft Grady. Spent the first night in Campbell River... The second night North of Shearwater, The third night in Dundas Island, the 4th night in Wrangell... We stopped to fish along the way and had to wait for the wind to die down in Dixon else we would have been in Ketchikan in 2 and a half days... We stop and enjoy the areas along the way, now it's 2 and half weeks to get up there...
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Old 12-04-2016, 07:08 PM   #92
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We will be traveling most of April to see grand kids on their spring brakes. Hopefully we can meet you at La Conner or on the water at one end of your trip to the NW.

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Old 12-06-2016, 07:48 PM   #93
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Wifey B: I don't know how people get bored exploring on the water. It's not the area that's boring, it's the person. I've not yet explored any area I found to be boring. Now, some I move on from quicker than others but almost all I look forward to returning to one day. We love Annapolis, by the way, one of our faves. But I do so look forward to returning to the PNW. The islands are all so cool, but then we had Alaska to see, and then the coast and just not enough time in a year or life. If you're getting bored, I'd suggest looking a little harder.
I totally agree that getting bored is more about the person than the place, almost any place! Bruce is fond of telling folks that as long as I'm on the water, I'm happy. There's a lot of truth to that.

One of the challenges of cruising is to do "the right amount of stuff" for whoever you are, wherever you are. Some folks like a fast paced hit-and-run approach, while others are far more leisurely, and tend to find a happy place just to hang. I always feel the tension between enjoying where I am while simultaneously not wanting to miss something else I'd love, or like, or find memorable, or just want to visit for the sake of the visit...whatever. I'm certain we could enjoy poking around the San Juans for weeks or months or more, but I always worry about the opportunity cost of hanging in a small area, and thus not experiencing a larger or different area. Choices, choices! Part of the great fun of cruising.

We love the varied input from a diverse group of folks, and then in the end, we have to make choices.
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Old 12-06-2016, 07:52 PM   #94
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We will be traveling most of April to see grand kids on their spring brakes. Hopefully we can meet you at La Conner or on the water at one end of your trip to the NW.

Fred P..................
Yes! Thank you!
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Old 12-06-2016, 08:29 PM   #95
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The advice to shake-down locally is excellent, but your advisors are actually geographically challenged. Get a small-scale (or is it large-scale, I can never keep that straight!); large-area anyway, chart and note that much of the best part of Canada is nearer than Olympia or even Seattle.

While you're learning the boat, equipping, provisioning, breaking/repairing, I'd base in Anacortes, near your starting point at LaConner, which has the best services and facilities, good moorage rates (there is no cheap moorage), and radiate from there:

1. State marine parks at Sucia, Stuart, Jones Islands, a short days drive each way

2. Victoria BC, a longer day each way.

3. Canadian parks in the Gulf Islands; include the town of Ganges, maybe ending in Nanaimo (dont miss Newcastle Island park and the floating pub).

4. Vancouver. I know its a big city, but it is the most beautiful and engaging city in the Americas, and you can moor right in the heart of it.

Then you'll be ready to strike out, either more Canada or south. In Puget Sound, you'll actually find few of those isolated anchorages, but there are nice waterfront towns like Poulsbo, Gig Harbor, Winslow.

It is quite possible your insurance will have a geographic restriction; "inland waters south of 50N" is a common limit, especally for a new boat. 50N is Cape Scott, the north end of Vancouver Island. That will still leave you with several months of wonderful cruising.

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Old 12-06-2016, 08:51 PM   #96
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Not sure of the insurance requirement, but 50N only gets you to Campbell River on the island and not even in to Desolation Sound.

Other than that I agree with the post. Canadian Gulf Islands have a different vibe then the San Juans.
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:39 PM   #97
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"
It is quite possible your insurance will have a geographic restriction; "inland waters south of 50N" is a common limit, especally for a new boat. 50N is Cape Scott, the north end of Vancouver Island. That will still leave you with several months of wonderful cruising."

I think you mean 51N.
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Old 12-06-2016, 10:07 PM   #98
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"
It is quite possible your insurance will have a geographic restriction; "inland waters south of 50N" is a common limit, especally for a new boat. 50N is Cape Scott, the north end of Vancouver Island. That will still leave you with several months of wonderful cruising."

I think you mean 51N.
I would definitely hope to go further north. I think so many settle for just SE Alaska. There's so much more beauty to see within relatively easy reach. At the minimum, I'd want to get to Glacier Bay. Ideally to Valdez, Seward, Kodiak.
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Old 12-06-2016, 10:37 PM   #99
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"
It is quite possible your insurance will have a geographic restriction; "inland waters south of 50N" is a common limit, especally for a new boat. 50N is Cape Scott, the north end of Vancouver Island. That will still leave you with several months of wonderful cruising."

I think you mean 51N.
Yes. I was working from memory; just checked and Port Hardy is 50d 43m North.
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Old 12-06-2016, 10:43 PM   #100
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Fwiw, my insurance limits me to to inside the entrance to the Juan de Fuca strait and North to the tip of Vancouver Island. I would need to change my insurance to head to Alaska or to the West side of Vancouver Island.
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