Greetings…… from the Magnificent Pacific Northwest. We cruised from San Francisco directly to Seattle and it was a dream with glassy calm waters and bright sunny days. Seattle is a great destination and we were fortunate to find dock space downtown at Bell Harbor Marina. We could walk to Pikes Market, the Space Needle, downtown stores and Safeco Park for yet another baseball game. We met Scott and Terri Strickland on the Nordhavn Strictly For Fun and made plans to travel north together. They are very familiar with British Columbia and made sure we experienced all the best ports of call.
The cruising here in BC is so different than anything we have seen before. There are tall snow capped mountains, lush green forests, and the calmest waters we have ever cruised. It looks and feels like we are on a small lake without a ripple in the water on most days. The tides are huge and many passages can only be made at Slack Tide because a narrow rapid can run as fast as 14 kts. Tide Tables have become our friends because we do not want to hit these rapids at flood or ebb when we have only 220hp to work with. With the exception of Vancouver the marinas are small and are run by warm, friendly and helpful people who understand cruising and are so happy to have your business. We have learned something from each one of them. The cool and often damp weather is the only issue we have and I think we are exceptionally sensitive to the cold after almost three years in the tropics.
We have been in 18 ports since leaving Seattle and there are some fabulous pictures in our gallery. The further north we go the provisioning becomes marginal at best. We are early in the season so many restaurants are closed and the stores have last years can goods etc. I don’t think we will get a good opportunity to shop until Prince Rupert Sound or Ketchikan, Alaska a few weeks from now. This was somewhat of a surprise but luckily we did some good shopping in Friday Harbor and Vancouver.
The highlights to date have been:
Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands: Beautiful resort islands with spectacular homes, shops and restaurants all with in walking distance from the marina.
Tod Inlet and Butchart Gardens: This is an anchorage with access to the world famous and breathtaking Butchart Gardens. The grounds have 8 separate and gorgeous planted gardens that change every season and at night they are lighted for an entirely different experience than in the day.
Princess Louisa Sound and Chatterbox Falls: There are no words to accurately describe the power and beauty of the huge granite wall that is host to the cascading chatterbox falls. The challenging trip through the Malibu Rapids is well worth the effort once you arrive at the falls. We also did the 2 hr hike to the Trappers Cabin (which is now a pile of wood) that is very demanding especially after a heavy rainfall along a barely marked trail.
Dent Lodge: A treat to ourselves at this exclusive lodge that has a wonderful restaurant and hot tub that we all enjoyed. There were 6 of us that really had the entire lodge to ourselves as we were early in the season. We helped take the Dungeness Crab for our dinner out of the trap. Talk about fresh!!!
Lagoon Cove and Marina: This spot is at the other end of the spectrum from Dent Lodge but still qualifies as a favorite because of the great atmosphere created by the owners Bill and Jean Barber. Happy Hour at 5pm in mandatory and they provide fresh caught prawns and everyone brings a dish and their favorite beverage. It is an opportunity to meet others that are traveling or have traveled up to Alaska and if you are lucky Bill will share his Bear Stories. We enjoyed this stop and the people that work there so much we stayed and extra night.
As I write this we are docked in Sullivan Bay in the Broughtons awaiting a seaplane to deliver a part for our Northern Lights generator. Once we have made the repair we will continue north and expect to be in Ketchikan by June 17, 2008 where we will be joined by my sister Tina and her two boys. We can’t wait to share the beautiful scenery and exciting wildlife with them.