Day 18 | Alaska Flotilla Leg 4 | Frederick Arm to Von Donop Inlet

We didn’t care much about timing Whirlpool Rapids and Greene Point Rapids yesterday, but we do care about the timing at Dent Rapids, Gillard Pass, and Yuculta Rapids. Thankfully, getting to the rapids at slack isn’t that hard. Frederick Arm to Dent Rapids is about 6.5nm (we’ll call it an hour) and Dent was predicted to be slack at at 7:01 a.m. So we left at 6:00 a.m., and as … Read more

Day 6 | Alaska Flotilla Leg 4 | Foggy Bay to Prince Rupert

Goodbye Alaska! We’ve had a great couple months wandering around Southeast—the best weather we can remember (except for that one week of smoke), excellent bear and whale watching, and just a few boat gremlins—but in order to have a leisurely trip down the outside of Vancouver Island with decent weather, it’s time to head south. NOAA predicted 10 knot winds and Environment Canada said wind light. Windy showed single digit … Read more

Day 9 | Flotilla to Alaska | Blunden Harbour to Fury Cove

Around Cape Caution! When we fell asleep last night, Environment Canada (Central Coast zone) was calling for “wind light” and seas one meter all day. Windy (ECMWF model) was showing this: Forecasts don’t get much better than that, but forecasts aren’t always right. So when we woke up at 4:30 a.m. we checked West Sea Otter buoy, where the wind was gusting to 4 knots and the seas were a … Read more

Building a Weather Picture

One of the most important skills for successful cruising is understanding the weather and how it impacts your plans. This doesn’t mean being a meteorologist, making your own forecasts, or interpreting esoteric weather charts. Rather, it means selecting the right forecast from professional meteorologists (NOAA, Environment Canada, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts), utilizing real-time weather data from the multitude of weather reporting sites along the coast, and adjusting cruise … Read more

Crossing Queen Charlotte Sound to Cape Scott

For the last several days, we’ve been closely monitoring the weather forecasts, looking for a window to cross Queen Charlotte Sound and round Cape Scott to the west side of Vancouver Island. Environment Canada had been calling for 20-30 knot southerly winds today, diminishing to 5-15 knots tomorrow, then increasing to 15-25 the next day. But yesterday afternoon they revised the forecast. Suddenly today looked decent, with 15-25 knot winds … Read more

Crossing Dixon Entrance

Getting out of Ketchikan was an exercise in patience. Storm after storm, packing lots of southerly wind and buckets of rain, pummeled the area. Even in a town that receives more than 160 inches of rainfall annually, this was exceptional. Streets flooded and locals complained about the worst summer ever. Fishing guides canceled charters. Twice we recorded more than four inches of rain in a single day. Fishermen commiserated via … Read more

Day 17 | Flotilla to Alaska | Crossing Dixon Entrance

We fell asleep feeling optimistic about the weather. Environment Canada forecast winds from the southeast at 15-25 knots – windier than we’d prefer, but the best forecast in a week. The day before they’d said 20-30, and it was calm. And conditions would be right behind us, the most comfortable angle. Windy.com looked better. Light and variable winds. Windfinder, too. And the observations all looked good. The breeze was dying, … Read more

Day 16 | Flotilla to Alaska | Kelp Passage Cove to Prince Rupert

After a breezy night at anchor and with Environment Canada still predicting 20-30 knot southeasterly winds, we were expecting a bumpy ride over to Prince Rupert. But as departure neared the wind died. Somehow we lucked into a calm trip across Chatham Sound and into Cow Bay Marina. Several of us caught a glimpse of the humpback hanging out in Bloxam Passage on our way out (awww, no photos), and … Read more