Cruising the Baja Coast on a Nordhavn 40

“Interested in helping take a Nordhavn 40 from San Diego to La Paz in November?” Escaping Seattle in November sounded good. Spending time on a Nordhavn 40 seemed like a great way to learn first-hand about a potential next boat. And cruising down the Baja Peninsula sounded challenging, exciting, and rewarding. “Where and when do I show up?” I asked. Cruising down the Baja coast is far different from cruising … Read more

Safe Harbour | Two Nights at Blake Island

“Why am I doing this?” I occasionally think to myself about the whole boating thing. I usually think about this during a project, when I’m upside down in a cramped place, head bruised, arms scratched, knuckles bleeding (bank account bleeding too). Over the last several weeks, as I’ve wrestled with the generator and the windshield wipers and the watermaker and the logistics of some big winter projects, I’ve had lots … Read more

Safe Harbour | Northern Lights Cooling System Maintenance

With the generator cooling system disassembled to troubleshoot an electrical problem, now was as good a time as any to tackle some basic cooling system maintenance. Northern Lights recommends the cooling system be serviced every two years, regardless of hours. Mine was last serviced three years ago, and it was giving a few indications that it was time to do it again. At high loads, the temperature crept up a … Read more

Safe Harbour | The Generator Mystery

I’ve been tied to the dock—the same dock!—for three weeks now, the longest I’ve sat still for more than a year. I’m working through a long list of maintenance tasks, and as most boaters know, seemingly simple tasks have a way of quickly escalating into something much more involved. A good example: my recent generator problems. My first task was figuring out why the generator wouldn’t run. The symptoms were … Read more

West Coast Vancouver Island | Wrap Up

Few Pacific Northwest boating trips capture the imagination of cruisers like circumnavigating Vancouver Island. It’s ambitious. It’s technical. Cruisers must deal with all the gates of the inside route—the Strait of Georgia, the rapids north of Desolation Sound, and Johnstone Strait—in addition to the more challenging spots on the outside of the island: Cape Scott, Brooks Peninsula, Estevan Point, as well as the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This is … Read more

Safe Harbour | Winter Projects

Summer 2017 was one for the record books in Southeast Alaska. In a place known for rain, this was the rainiest summer ever. More than 45 inches fell in Ketchikan in June, July, and August. That’s nearly double their average and more rain than typically falls on Seattle in an entire year. All this rain exposed a few leaks aboard Safe Harbour. At 17-years-old and with more than 5000 hours underway, … Read more

The Strait of Juan de Fuca | West Side of Vancouver Island

We’ve written about many of the weather trouble spots on the west side of Vancouver Island already: Cape Scott, Brooks Peninsula, and Estevan Point. For southbound travelers, the Strait of Juan de Fuca is the final hurdle. The challenges are many: ocean swells at the west entrance, strong currents throughout, traffic, and the 100nm distance. There are at least seven weather forecasts to digest for this leg of the trip: … Read more

Bamfield | West Side of Vancouver Island

Bamfield is a tiny town separated into two halves that border Bamfield Inlet. The east side is connected by road to the rest of Vancouver Island. The west side is on Mills Peninsula and is accessible only by boat. All the buildings on the west side are accessed via boardwalks. It’s a charming little town! We tied to the government dock on the west side and took off on foot … Read more