Pacific Northwest -- Inland Passage & South to Ensenada
The Pacific Northwest is cold, green, and beautiful. Our lengthy stays in the Puget Sound area were made possible with help from cruising friends in Gig Harbor and a very OLD Dartmouth buddy on Lake Washington. Locking up to the lake was a big adventure for the new sailing barge... where we really enjoyed fresh water sailing and a short stay at the Seattle Yacht Club. We finally pried out way out of the Sound in June, enjoying Friday Harbor's only sports bar for the America's Cup. We zoomed through the Gulf Islands on our way north, but thoroughly enjoyed & appreciated the secure & beautiful anchorages.
Fishing, for us, was a bit slow. We hooked this beautiful (and expensive) Coho with the expert help of the Morgan's at Dent Island. Fortunately, we made up for some of the lack of fish... shrimping with the Peter's "crab pot".
There's plenty to do and see on the inland Passage, on the water and off. A HUGE bonus for us was having friends & family visit us by seaplane in remote anchorages. Provisions were plentiful & easily accessed at all the major towns along the way -- Ganges, Nainamo, Campbell River, and Comox -- with the latter being our favorite. Weather predictions were easy to get, and accurate when important. We hadn't commissioned the watermaker, and water was only available in the "big" marinas. Fortunately, it rained enough to keep the boat spotless... and even allowed us to top up the tanks with the "sun" awning on occasion.
While our plan was to get up to Alaska, we fell many hundred miles short. As noted above, the PacNW is beautiful & COLD. In Desolation Sound, we found a couple anchorages where the lack of tidal exchange allowed the water temperature to rise to as high as 72 degrees F. Having a nice swim after an exhilarating hike was a nice surprise for us. After a week in Desolation Sound, we enjoyed an exciting ride through the rapids... and into Johnstone Strait. Not long after we saw our first gust to 35K with wind & water temperature at 53 degrees... we quickly decided to return to Prideaux Haven & surrounds for more swimming. And besides... for us, the best sailing conditions in the Pac NW were between Campbell River and the Gulf Islands. No regrets for a couple wimpy tropical sailors...
Shorter days, and commitments down the road forced us to turn south long before we were ready. We had an unventful trip out the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and enjoyed a quiet night or two in Neah Bay. We had to duck in to Astoria, for what turned out to be a couple weeks, as the gale warnings were up from Southern Oregon to Cape Mendocino. We got in some critical reefing "practice" while on the Columbia... and enjoyed a few quiet getaways off the main river. Heading south, we had brief stops in Port Orford (on the hook), Crescent City, Drake's Bay, Alameda, Half Moon Bay, Port San Luis, and whew... Santa Barbara. We saw > 30K of breeze coming around Pt. Conception, and boat speeds consistently in the low 20's. The big travelift at Ventura Harbor allowed us to haul for a few days for bottom paint and to quiet the dagger boards. We enjoyed a few weeks in Long Beach and Newport Beach... before heading off to Ensenada.
Fresh adventures with new friends powered by old dreams...