Sailors in the Pacific Northwest often say that you can cruise this region your whole life and never see it all. It seems like we’ve caught the bug because we’re on our way north again with the return of spring and sailing season.
We left Port Angeles, Washington on a lovely sunny day in late April for the first in a series of day trips up the Inside Passage. In years past, we’ve headed west out the Strait of Juan de Fuca and made passages up the west (ocean) side of Vancouver Island, so this time we decided to do something different. So far it’s been a great trip with a little bit of everything: flying the spinnaker, reefing down, puttering in calms, sweeping along with tidal currents, bucking headwinds, tucking into idyllic empty coves, visiting towns, and – as always – watching wildlife. Here are some photos from Port Angeles up the inside of Vancouver Island:
North of Vancouver Island, we made a two-night passage to a lovely cove in northern British Columbia where we tested out our new-to-us stacking dinghy – which we really like! – and then made an overnight passage to Ketchikan, Alaska. That passage started beautifully, with a glorious sunset and full rainbow at the same time, but then got a bit frustrating at night with the wind building, dying, then backing and building again, and with a tug and barge and then a cruise ship rather closer than is comfortable. Here are some pictures of the pleasanter parts of the passages:
Once in Alaska, we day-sailed again – a rollicking fast downwind run and then a couple of sunny days drifting along watching wildlife. We had a beautiful afternoon transiting Wrangell Narrows with the tide. In the clear skies, the snow-capped peaks of the mainland beyond were stunning.
The weather held for one more day, allowing us to hike up Mt Petersburg, although the snow at the top of the mountain stopped us just short of the summit. It wasn’t so much trudging through the snow that was the issue, but the fact that it got dangerously steep and wet near the top and we judged it quite capable of sliding. We’re not exactly keen to play with avalanches, so we built a snowman instead and turned back.
Since then, we’ve been in Petersburg, waiting for parts for a problem with our engine. Once those arrive we hope to be off north again.