When it comes to boaters and bucket lists, these are cruising grounds that, once checked off, prompt an immediate urge to return. So, before you head north to Alaska, here are some simple tips that my wife, Christine, and I have developed, after completing this passage from Bellingham, Washington, all the way to southeast Alaska every charter season for several years aboard our converted foot wood cannery tug. This is hardly a full-time job, but someone to answer your texts or other communications, receive packages and ship them on to you, or occasionally pass on a weather report, is invaluable.
Mostly, it's nice to know you have a contact person, and it may only cost you flowers and a bottle of wine. There isn't cellphone coverage for much of the Inside Passage, so these little devices allow you to send and receive a short text message from anywhere.
Not only can you contact people, you can have it track you so others can see where you are and know you're OK. More than once, my sister has checked in on us because we hadn't moved for a day or two. We were fine.
We now carry two and use the other in our skiff for exploring and shore excursions. In some of the high-sided fjords, VHF is useless, but the inReach comes through. This little detail can save you tons of hassle. Alaska Airlines has a fantastic air-cargo system called Goldstreak that you can use to get parts or almost anything else shipped in case of a breakdown.
Even if you have to hire a local to do the repair, being able to get the parts can mean the difference between being stuck at a dock for days or continuing on.
Boating Alaska's Inside Passage
We've even done this via the inReach. She takes it to the airport, and we get it later the next day. You may never need this, but it only takes a few minutes to sign up , although it takes a while to get approved. In the southern half of the British Columbia coast, Kenmore Air offers floatplane passenger service to a number of locations.
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It's also able to transport boat parts, so if you're broken down in that area, the company can help. Because of the international border, there are some simple requirements: It can only transport "emergency boat parts to U. Make sure your shoreside person can provide Kenmore with a receipt or invoice showing its value, too, because Canadian Customs CBSA will require it for all items, new or refurbished. Before you go, visit BoatUS. The tidal rapids in the southern section of the Inside Passage can cause anxiety among first-time cruisers, but they're surprisingly easy if you show up at the right time, at slack water.
And while most electronic navigation programs will have the times of slack and max, the paper guide will confirm it for you, and give you peace of mind. There are lots of choices for a paper guide. Once you know the time of slack water, plan so you arrive a little early and you can go right through. If you're going in the direction of the tide, that's the perfect accelerator; use it to your advantage by positioning yourself at the right time. People fret a lot about what to buy. There are so many choices of cruising guides.
There are numerous guides for sections of the trip, the San Juans, the Broughtons, the Secret Coast, and so on. But the guides that cover the most area with the most information are the "Exploring" books: Exploring the South Coast of B. They also offer the best picture of cruising in this area. Trying to figure out what to bring for spares stresses out a lot of first-time Inside Passage cruisers.
Alaska and the B. Focus on parts that break or clog or wear out, like rubber impellers, fuel filters, and engine belts. Things you could fix by yourself in a remote wilderness anchorage are useful. A box of oil filters takes up precious space, even if they are cheaper in the lower Most people know about softwood plugs or TruPlug that you can use to stop a leak in an emergency.
But my kit contains a few other items that have been helpful at times. Shrink Tape is amazing stuff that sticks to absolutely everything and can make a quick patch of a crack in your topsides or a leaky skylight or hatch. It may not be pretty, but it will allow you to continue cruising in comfort. A product called Through the Roof is a great sealant that works even in the rain we've even used it underwater. A can of spray foam and a couple tubes of 3M get the toothpaste- tube style are also worth carrying. Also, add some super glue to the list.
Most boat insurance policies have limits for where you can take your boat and still be insured. Insurance through BoatUS covers people with a U. You typically need to ask for an extension, and sometimes there's an additional charge. The last time I counted 80 tents lashed together with duct tape and bungee cords, and everybody seemed perfectly content with the accommodations.
Oasis: Gunkholing The Inside Passage
A lesser-known route is with B. Ferries bcferries. The route covers some of the most spectacular scenery on the B. The daytime ferry sailing from Port Hardy takes 16 hours, including stops at either the tiny First Nations villages of Bella Bella or Klemtu. Kayaks are available for rent, or adventure travel companies offer guided short or days-long tours from B.
Or just strap your own kayak to your car top, head north and launch yourself. As those hardy Race to Alaska sailors and paddlers will attest, the Inside Passage is best seen from sea level. Election Share story. By Ross Anderson. They share just one common characteristic: No engines. No motors. Get details on the race and its bold participants at r2ak. In the late s gold-seekers thronged a Seattle dock to board steamships heading north to Alaska and the Klondike via the Inside Passage.
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2018 Waggoner Guide Flotilla, Part 1
An Alaska-bound cruise ship departing Vancouver, B. Then we saw one of the most welcome sights of our lives, an anchored sailboat just inside the narrow bay. It guided us in to safety. We pulled up near it, anchored, and slept an exhausted sleep. The next morning we proceeded across Dixon Entrance into Alaska. We stopped at Metlakatla, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, and Juneau on our way north, visiting schools and sharing Susan's books. The weather was glorious.
Small Ship Alaska Cruises
We anchored in hidden coves and hiked along beaches at low tide. Once while underway we saw splashes in the distance. Hundreds upon hundreds of Dall porpoise were swimming right toward us. Another time porpoises chased the boat and swam along with us, right under the hull!
We explored fjords and went through Ford's Terror, the mouth of a fjord that is so narrow and shallow that when the tide changes the current can be as fast as 17 knots with overflows photo to the left!
The story is that an explorer named Ford went through it during a tide change and was terrified when he returned to the mother ship. It is whitewater during a tide change. We entered at high slack tide and found a private wilderness with sheer rock cliffs towering thousands of feet above the water. We left at a.
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