Cruising Plans

Summer 2016 – Alaska and circumnavigation of Prince of Wales Island.

Did you know that four of the largest islands in the USA are in Southeast Alaska?  So I’m dreaming PoWABC. We’ve done parts of the ABCs – Admiralty, Baranof and Chicagof – and pretty much been around PoW – Prince of Wales – but without exploring its endless coastline.  By not venturing too far north, we can spend some time in Ketchikan, at the finish line of the Race to Alaska.

Summer 2015 – The BC Coast south of Cape Caution

We hurried down the BC Coast without lingering enough.  Finished only 10 of 15 books last summer.  This year we’re going to hang out more, spending three or four days on the hook for every one at dock at nice marine resort like Pierre and Tove Landry’s Echo Bay in the Broughtons or George Harbour on Cortes Island.  We plan to leave mid May and return end July.  Let us know if you’d like to meet and join the crew.

Summer 2014 – Inside Passage to Sitka (Complete)

With Jack recovered from his broken ankle and ready for the helm again, we’ll finally get to do the Baranof Island trip.  We hope that Cruz Chourré can join us part of the way. Others welcome to meet us en route.  Possibility to add on ferry crossing of Gulf of Alaska to visit Kodiak.

Summer 2013 – Inside Passage to Alaska, Kenai and Denali (Complete but by ferry and not on Aurora)   

Add on side trips may include Alaska State Ferry trip to Kenai Penninsula and Prince William Sound and Denali road trip.   We loved our 2010 northbound trip on the Alaska Marine Highway  to meet Aurora in Hoonah and want to do it again. (Captioned slideshow here)   The Alaska State Ferry is your federal transporation tax dollars at work – a cheap, easy-to-do trip.  For friends meeting us from the lower 48 it leaves Bellingham WA every Friday and takes a route through the Inside Passage which is too tight for the large cruise ships.  Dates not fixed but we’ll catch the long days on either side of the summer solstice, leaving the Denali road trip for after the summer thaws.  Watch this space and get in touch if you are interested in joining us.

Summer 2012  – Inside Passage to Sitka, Alaska and return (complete)

Well we did it! We caught the ebb out into Juan de Fuca Strait and the flood into the San Juan Islands.  Cruz Chourré, Jack’s cousin and a trained sailor with dreams of crossing oceans, crewed northbound.  Good sailor, good cook, good company.

Our itinerary?  In the end it really deviated from what’s written here.  But this is a basic template so we’re leaving it for reference.

May 15 – June 15: Port Townsend to Ketchikan    (Docks and anchorages of 1 or more nights are in bold.)  Deer HarborOrcas Island. Montague Harbour. For Canadian Customs in Bedwell. Nanaimo.  Comox. The populated Comox Valley starts with a glacier and features amazing paleontology. Nice museum.  Campbell River. Shoal Bay. Arrive via Seymour Narrows See Mark’s website.  He’s one of 2 year round Shoal Bay inhabitants and organizes events.  Forward Harbour. Arriving via Greene and Whirlpool Rapids.  Lagoon Cove.  Echo Bay.  Sullivan Bay. Blunden Harbour. Fish Egg Inlet. (via Cape Caution, lots of humpbacks and bears.) Shearwater. Klemtu. Hartley Bay. Isolated First Nations village. threatened by tar sands pipeline. Klewnuggit Inlet. On Grenville Channel. Prince Rupert. Dundas Island. Take-off point for Dixon Entrance & SE Alaska.

Skipper’s Notes:  1) Many alternative ports and anchorages are possible. Those selected above provide a reasonable time frame for the entire passage. 2) We should arrive in Ketchikan o/a June 15 if we leave PT on May 15. The math: the 18 listed passage days, plus an extra13 days for rest, recreation, repairs, or waiting for weather.

June 15-July 15: South East Alaska  Ketchikan* (clear Customs) Meyers Chuck. Enroute to Wrangell (one day) Wrangell* interesting fishing town with russian, British and Native history museum Petersburg * Enroute to Sitka (at least two days) Sitka * Enroute from Sitka (at least two days) Petersburg*,  Wrangell*,  Prince of Wales (about three days), Ketchikan*, Misty Fiords (about three days),

Skipper’s Notes: * Indicates easy crew pick-up or drop-off point – accessible by air and ferry Itinerary will be fleshed out more when have access to Alaska cruising books on boat. Sitka is isolated; requires some dead-ending to get there and back. Suggest we not go to Juneau or Glacier Bay. The above schedule shows about 19 passage days, which allows about 12 rest/weather wait days. One possibility: Leave our boat (say, in Petersburg) and take Alaska ferry to/from Sitka

July 15-August 15: Ketchikan to Port Townsend  Same approximate passages as northbound route until Shoal Bay, then Desolation Sound, via Dent, Gillard and Yaculta Rapids, Powell River, Pender Harbour, Vancouver, Bedwell, Friday Harbor (Customs clearance), and Port Townsend.

First Mate’s Notes: I can’t wait to go back to some the spots we discovered on our 2009 cruise as well as ones we missed.  (Pictures here but narrative is in various 2009 blog posts and some from 2010).  We hope to do the Inside Passage every few years.

Summer 2011  –  Circumnavigation of Vancouver Island   (Complete)
 As of July we’re well on our way, having rounded both Cape Scott and the Brooks Penisnsula without additional hands on deck.  And NO seasickness!  Now we’re on our way along the West Coast where mid month we’ll meet our trusted friends Tom, Terri and Midori.  Canada will be the fourth country where we have sailed together, including from before Midori was born.

By about June 25 we expect to be in the area of Port Hardy and Port McNeil.  The principal towns of northern Vancouver Island, they are served by road and lie about 20 miles apart.  The period of June 25-July 5 would be a very good time  to take on crew.  Since the place where we’ll meet is limited to these cities, there also should be time for a visit to the U’mista Cultural Center at Alert Bay on Comorant Island, between Malcolm and Vancouver Islands.  This historic center of the Kwak’wala speaking tribes is a day trip by ferry from Port McNeil.  Check our Resources page for info on how to get to Ports McNeil and Hardy by public transportation.  Port Hardy is about a 6 hour drive from Victoria on Route 19; and a well-maintained gravel road connects it to Holberg and to Winter Harbour, the northernmost town on the west coast.

First Half of July:  When conditions permit we’ll make the passage over the tip of Vancouver Island, through Goletas Channel and thew 16 mile run from Cape Sutil to Cape Scott.    Sailing south along the west coast will give us a taste of open ocean combined with exploration of the many long fjords carved into the Island.  The first of the major fjords is Quatsino Sound, where Winter Harbour is.   Next is Kyuquot Sound which is not a good choice for crew pickups because there’s no road and no public transportation.  However, Walters Cove served by charter planes and boats bringing guests to various fishing lodges.

The nearby Esperanza Inlet is better for crew pickup or drop off.  The town of Zeballos is, according to the Waggoner Cruising Guide, “the most interesting and unexpected town on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.”   It’s served by highway 19 coming from Campbell River.

On Nootka Sound, the town of Tahsis is served by highway 28 from Campbell River. The next sound we’ll visit is Clayoquot for a stop at Tofino, by far the most active transportation hub on the West Coast with scheduled airlines and buses.

We’ll spend up to a week exploring the large Barkley Sound.   Ucluelet is served by highway 4, going inland, and also by a short road to the northwest linking it with the Tofino transportation hub.  South of Barkley Sound, Port Albernihas excellent road connections to destinations on the south tip of Vancouver Island.

First half of June 2011:    We expect to pull out of Port Townsend the week of June 6th, when we’ll cross Juan de Fuca into the San Juans.  After passing Canadian customs – probably at Poets Cove on South Pender Island, we’ll cross Georgia Strait to Vancouver.  There we’ll spend a few days docked among the skyscrapers of Coal Harbor visiting friends and enjoying this great city.

Next we’ll head up the Inside Passage.   (The blog has accounts of our cruises in 2009, and 2010: use a keyword search to find posts on particular destinations.)   We’ll spend time tying up in old haunts like Fisherman’s Marina in Pender Harbor and unexplored destinations in Desolation Sound  like Squirrel Cove.

Second half of June:   Next we head back into the wilderness of the fjord-riddled British Columbia mainland.  We have barely begun to explore the isolated Broughtons and so we’ll follow our noses.By Canada Day and Independence Day we should have crossed Queen Charlotte Strait and picked up from fresh fruits and vegetables in Port McNeil or Port Hardy.  At this time, we’ll leave the Inside Passage to head up and around the northing tip of the Island and south west along the coast.  (See crew call above.)

Summer 2010  – Offshore Adventure  Sitka, Alaska to Washington State

Okay, so our engine was kaput and we had no choice.  A wonderful transformative experience with Captain Peter Frost.

Summer 2009 – Inside Passage northbound to Glacier Bay and Hoonah


6 thoughts on “Cruising Plans”

  1. Jack and Carol,
    We hope to meet up this weekend – maybe the 29th to talk about being crew at some point in your journey.
    We are out of town July 2 to 10.
    Tom, Terri and Midori

  2. When you are in the Broughtons out Mamalilaculla (Indian village). It is a wonderful site to explore. We were there with friends in August 2008 on their sailboat. We left Port McNeill and passed through there on the way to Knight Inlet.
    Have a wonderful trip! I’m looking forward to following your updates.

  3. Darn, wished I’d have known about this sooner.. I would have jumped on this.. I hope some fabulous crew can come and visit the wonderful Aurora and her marvelous Skipper and First Mate… I look forward to reading your blog on your journey.. you are a fabulous writer – Carol… love it.

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