Cruising the Pacific Northwest Passage
The Inside Passage is one of the best cruising grounds in the world. The distance from Olympia, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska is about 600 miles as the crow flies. On a yacht, meandering through fjords and between islands, the distance multiplies. Most of these waters are protected; open water passages are relatively short, and anchorages are plentiful.
Wildlife is outstanding. Whales, orcas, humpbacks, grays and more are regularly spotted. Bald eagles are everywhere,. Bears snatch salmon from seaside rivers or forage on the beach. Porpoises, seals, sea lion, sea otters and myriad other life call the Inside Passage home.
Natural beauty overwhelms. The great volcanoes of the Cascade mountains are visible throughout Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. Sandstone in the Gulf Islands, eroded by wind and water, forms fascinating patterns and shapes. Magnificent, glacier carved fjords run deep into British Columbia interior. Waterfalls plunge thousands of feet from snow-covered peaks all the way to the waters’ edge.
We have impressive cities, too. Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver are easily visited by yacht with every amenity imaginable. Smaller cities like La Conner, Anacortes, Sideny, Cowichan Bay, Ladysmith, Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Prince Rupert and Ketchikan farther north roll out the red carpet for visiting boats. They have restaurants, shops and museums to explore or enjoy.
Small resorts and marinas, many family run, dot the coast. Some are as simple as local logs felled, milled and lashed together to form a dock for a small boat. Others have spas and high-end restaurants. Potluck dinners and happy hours are common at the smaller marinas.
You won’t go hungry cruising this area. Bigger towns have grocery stores. Many marinas stock the essentials for the guests. Farmers markets, local bakers, artisan cheese makers, and craft wineries, breweries and how a few distilleries operate along the Inside Passage. Seafood, of course, is plentiful. Cruisers catch salmon, halibut, ling-cod, prawns and crab. They pick oysters and harvest sea asparagus. Our concierge department can take care of all yacht provisioning all the way up the coast to Alaska.
The history is rich. Yaculta and Alert Bay have superb museums detailing the history of Native cultures. In Ketchikan, Totem Bight State Park has a remarkable collection of totems. Cruisers can follow in the footsteps of Capt. George Vancouver’s 1790s expedition and the early expeditions of the Spanish explorers, during which may of the waterways and land masses in this area were named. Opportunities to enjoy the arts are readily available; in this book we describe the full range of museums at destinations along the way.
The variety of experiences, the majesty of vistas, and the splendor of the wildlife and the variety of attractions in the towns and cities on the water keep the vessels cruising.