Sunday, December 31, 2017


Trip Summary and Lessons learned, Alaska 2017

At anchor in Tracy Arm. (Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness)
This was during a day cruise in the Arm to Sawyer Glacier.
We launched the dingy to get up close and personal.

We set anchor outside the Arm at No Name Cove for the night.

We have just finished our second extended cruise that started from our homeport of Salpare Bay Marina in Portland, Oregon. After traveling west on the Columbia River, we traveled north 15 miles off the Washington coast, through Pugent Sound, up through the inside passage of Canada, as far north as you can go in SE Alaska before turning around and heading south, ultimately returning to our homeport 166 days later.


.....and during a calving event.
We got the trawler tender in reverse immediately!
You can read all the books, tech manuals, instruction books, discussions on forums and picking the brains of all those that have done extended cruises before, however, until you do a cruise of this distance and time, you have no idea what it takes.   Yet, we met so many people that do this type of cruise year after year.   

Our 62 pound halibut, caught in Icy Strait of Sisters Islands.

We would like to send a BIG THANK YOU to all the people we met who impacted our adventure. If your name and/or boat are not listed below, please let us know, because without you, this trip would not have been so enjoyable.

     Tom and Kay Teseniar, M/V Alaskan Sea-Duction, Camarge 48, 
     Al and Carol Johnson, (Ketchican AL)
     Jeff Merrill, our broker and good friend,
     Larry and Marcia Crass, M/V Hale Kia, Nordhavn 43,
     Bill and Wendy Brown, Sea Badger, Selene 4314,
     Eric and Kim Rimkus, S/V Gladiator, Beneteau 46
     John and Cindy Hanson, M/V Lucky Girl, Selene 37
     Russ and Missie Low, M/V Melissa Lynn, Selene 53
     Dean and Teresa Klein, M/V Salt Heart, Selene 62 
     Rick and Pam Panowcz, M/V Jean Marie ,Selene 47 
     Kevin and Alison Jefferies, M/V Red Rover, Nordhavn 55 
     Walt and Joan Vennemeyers, M/V Manatee
     Vaughan and Rita Balaam, S/V Baraka Bashad
     Ken, M/V Hat Trick, Hatteras  
     Tom and Nita Sitterly, M/V Cygnus Argent, Ocean Alexender
     Jerry and Suhwa Tompsett, S/V Calypso

          Days we traveled                      166
          Number of ports visited              71
          Nautical miles traveled          3,452
          Statue miles                            3,953
          Gallons of diesel fuel             1,854
          Fuel burn rate gallons             3.06 includes generator and heater
          Main engine hours                   606
          Generator hours                      565
          Days at anchor                          53
          Days in moorage                     113
          Days buddy boating                116 


We used several publications in order to plan, track and gather information throughout this trip. I’m sure that other publications are available, however these were the ones we focused on to help insure a favorable experience. By far the Waggoner Guide was the publication that we used the most for Canada and Exploring S.E. Alaska for navigating Alaska. We purchased many publications to help us.  The ones listed below were used most often. 

   - Waggoner Cruising Guide by Burrows Bay Associates,
   - The Inside Passage, Route Planning Maps, North and South Portion by Fine Edge
   - Broughton Islands Cruising Guide by Peter Vassilopoulos
   - Exploring Southeast Alaska by Don Douglass and Reanne Hemingway-Douglas


The primary navigation that we used was Navionics on an IPAD. For $50 a year you have a very nice, user friendly, chart program. This became our primary navigation tool.  All you need is an IPAD which has built in GPS so as to track your boat.  If you choose to go this route, get an IPAD with as much memory as possible! You can store so many charts without internet access. After learning that there was a magnetic disturbance in our compass, causing the auto pilot to fail, we removed the 20 inch monitor mounted on the dash in the pilot house. John built a bracket for our IPAD (out of black starboard) and mounted it where the monitor was. This offered a much more favorable instrument for our charts. FYI, we found we had to cover the IPAD and most other instrumentation with a dish towel or tape to run after dark in order to preserve our night vision.

Our first overnight run underway 15 miles off shore in the Pacific.

A most welcomed sunrise, 24 hours later,  in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.


Locating moorage in Alaska was much the same as Canada, however, private docks were few and far between.  Most of our time in Alaska was at anchor or in a public harbor. When possible, we sent an email in advance to reserve a spot. We relied on the VHF to radio ahead most of the time.

Alaskan Sea-Duction rafted to Pairadice at the free Government dock at Hartley Bay

There are both state and city entities running the marinas. Some give you slip assignment, others provide transient moorage on a first come first serve basis. Wrangel, AK is an example of that. State run docks, such as Swanson Harbor, are available, but primarily established for the commercial fishermen.  We found that as long as your willing to raft to one another, you can use the docks.

Rafted at anchor.
Our Alaska marinas and docks...

ASD and Pairadice moored in Ketchikan

     Ketchikan - South Bar Marina
     Juneau - Harris Harbor
     Swanson Harbor - Government dock
     Hoonah Harbor - Marina
     Wrangell - Reliance Harbor
     Warm Springs Bay - Government dock
     Coffman Cove

A few of our  Canadian favorites that we returned to...

The floating community of Sullivan Bay.
The fuel dock is located next to a private residence.

Mariners gather for Happy Hour at Lagoon Cove.

     Hartley Bay / Gigat't First Nation
     Shoal Bay
     Port McNeill (Steve Jackson’s) 
     Sullivan Bay
     Lagoon Cove
     Port Neville
     Gorge Harbor
     Shearwater Marina
     Comox Valley Harbor Authority


Below are a few of our favorite anchorages;

     Vixen Inlet
     Thomas Bay
     Snug Cove in Gambier Bay
     Ell Cove
     Red Bluff Bay
     Portage Bay
     Cannery Cove, in Pybus Bay
     Shoal Pass Bay
     Walker Cove in Fitzgibbon Bay
     Shrimp Bay

     Lowe Inlet
     Pruth Bay
     Shoal Bay
     Kwatsi Bay / North Broughton
     Khutze Inlet / Northern British Columbia
     Bottleneck Inlet / Northern British Columbia
     Montague Harbor

Pairadice at anchor in Shrimp Bay, Misty Fiords, Alaska

Internet and Cell Phone’s

In regards to "staying in touch", "while off the grid" we did much better this year.  We changed carriers to Verizon from AT&T. Rates and coverage are so much better and we think Internet access along the BC coast improved since last year. We also had our portable hotspot from Telus and as long as we were close to cell towers, we had internet coverage. We installed a cell phone booster and life was so much nicer and it really extended coverage no matter what device. AT&T is the main player in S.E. Alaska and so once we were away from the main cities internet was pretty much non existent. But we still had Cell and text service. If we were to do Alaska again, we would probably get a temporary AT&T hot spot.  

John was the early bird securing wi-fi service
at the happy hour tent of Sullivan Bay.

We were again disappointed by the marinas that advertised free Wi-Fi, as a general rule, the internet service was at best terrible.  For planning purposes, plan on no Internet coverage, If you get it, feel privileged. If you are used to high speed internet service at home, your going be lost with any service you get, just saying. 

Stores and Supplies

For the most part, once you travel north of the Georgia Strait, large towns or communities are non existing. Two cities that are on the north end of Vancouver Island are Port McNeill and Port Hardy and they are your last chance for major shopping. Once you head north of Vancouver Island around Cape Caution the population thins out considerable. One exception is Shearwater/ New Bella Bella where you will find small groceries and a chandlery. This is your last chance before Prince Rupert unless you include Kitimat. Again, the key here is preparation. If we didn’t have the Freezer, food storage would have been tough. We did bring the Food Saver and used it extensively. The marinas that have small stores have to ship the supplies in and that can be costly.  Also, the locals in these areas know when the shipments are coming in, so fresh produce and perishables go fast. One last note, Alcohol is very expensive in Canada. In some places it is 2-3 times higher than even Washington State. Just be prepared for a bit of sticker shock. Supplies are readily available in Ketchikan, Juneau and Wrangell for S.E. Alaska. Smaller communities such as Hoonah and Coffman Cove are somewhat limited and a bit pricier, but we enjoyed them none the less.

If you need anything shipped into Alaska, we found that Frontier Shipping & Copyworks in Ketchikan was by far the best service.  The address is 2417 Tongass ave., Ketchikan AK. 99901 They charge $1.00 per package, and after losing a few packages at USPS in Ketch we decided the “buck” was well worth it. This is where Tom, on Alaskan Sea-Duction, and we on Pairadice had our new windless shipped to. 


After checking in with customs... sunset docked at Bedwell Harbor off Pender Island, B.C.

Our experience with Canadian customs was a pleasant one. We checked in via phone at Bedwell on South Pender Island and Prince Rupert. Be honest and upfront with them and you shouldn’t have any problems. Customs was a bit more  involved for the states. We were boarded both in Ketchikan and Friday Harbor after contacting them via phone and although a delay, the inspectors verify your paperwork and a face to face of all persons onboard.  

In Closing

John and Tracey on our wedding anniversary, Wednesday November 22, 2017

We are now, back in Las Vegas where we will spend the winter. The to do list is rather lengthy, with both personal and boat related projects. Our current plans are to cruise the Columbia and Snake River next summer, and prepare Pairadice for our southbound trip to Mexico in 2019.

Although we have been rather tardy on Blog updates, we are attempting to get caught up. We don't get very much feedback on the blog, and Tracey started a Facebook page which gets a bit more attention. Lack of high speed internet caused us to fall behind on updates.

We are already homesick for the boat and look forward to next summer. 

Thank you all for following along, Cheers, All the Best for 2018!

Saturday, December 23, 2017


I did get very behind with blog entries, didn't I. This is an attempt to catch up :-)
We left Ketchikan August 18th in a bit of a rush. The weather reports had changed.
It was time to go if we were to make Foggy Bay for anchorage tonight.

Green Island Light Station off of Dundas Island

Heading south, we planned on staying the night anchored in a place called Foggy Bay, which is the only hide out between Ketchikan and Prince Rupert. However, as we passed by the bay entrance the radio traffic informed us that it was pretty full, so we pushed on to Prince Rupert.

Cruise ship docking in Prince Ruppert

Pairadice and Manatee after the dockmaster asked us to move in order to make room for larger yachts.

The Cow Bay Cafe

Prince Rupert Courthouse

Another mega yacht parking for the evening.

Leaving Prince Rupert, heading south through the trench.

More waterfalls along the trench.

Determining where to set anchor in Lowe Inlet, B.C.

The waterfall at Lowe Inlet was a very nice anchorage.

Another critter showed up to greet us!

Walt and Joan on Manatee, joined us in Lowe Inlet for the night. 
Later we enjoyed happy hour on their boat.

Welcome to the "trench", Grenville Channel heading south.

Manatee joined us at this way point.

Arriving at Hartley Bay the small village of the Gitga'at First Nation.
The Gigat't Big House

Community Curch

Free moorage at the government dock. 

One of the many smoke houses used to provide for the First Nations people.

Joan and I hiked along the river past the salmon fish hatchery.

Tuesday August 22nd 2017 (day 131) leaving Hartley Bay, heading for anchorage in Bottleneck Inlet. 

More light stations along the way.

Arrived in Shearwater, B.C.

More Humpback Whales to brighten a foggy day.

The wave a a tail.

The Hiaku Institute in Pruth Bay

Another beautiful sunset at anchor.

This whale was very lively...

We found this guy towing his mothership with his dink and gave him a hand.

Arriving at Sullivan Bay Marina, a small floating community.

Trying some bottom fishing.

You can usually get some wifi when you are the early bird.

ASD rejoined us at Sullivan Bay

The guys head out fishing again. No such thing as too much fish.

A comfortable residence next to the fuel dock.

John cleaning todays catch.

The coming and going of sea planes.

Sunset off our bow at our moorage.

Thursday August 31st (day 139) returning to a favorite spot, Kwatzi Bay

We woke to Mama and Baby Black Bears before heading for our next stop...

Lagoon Cove! Another favorite in B.C.

All the various yacht club flags that visit Lagoon Cove.
This is where all the food is set up for happy hour each day.

Fuel tanks which supply the visiting boats at the marina.

Exercise station #4... wood chopping!

Another exercise station, lawn mowing, behind an American totem pole.

View during a walk about.

Our moorage at Lagoon Cove.

32 mariners gather for happy hour outside the old workshop.

Another chance to go fishing!

The manager of the marina is boiling prawns for tonights happy hour feast.

We estimated the marina supplies appx 12 - 15 lbs of fresh caught prawns per day!

The workshop awaiting it's happy hour guests.

The girls went hiking while the boys fished.

It was a beautiful day!

On to Shoal Bay for the night.

The docks were full, so we  anchored out.

But first, happy hour at the pub.

We enjoyed grilled tuna for dinner at anchor, Shoal Bay.

The following day, we welcomed a nice push through
Dent Rapids, Devils Hole and Yuculta Rapids.
The guys timed our departure just right!

There must be a "bait ball" under there.

Going ashore at Gorge Harbor.

Returning to the boats, Alaskan Sea-Duction and Pairadice at anchor.

Downtown Nanaimo, B.C.

Dinner at the Dingy Dock Pub.

ASD at anchor at New Castle Marine Park, Nanaimo, B.C.

We went ashore of refreshments

Our tenders parked behind ASD for dinner.

Saturday, September 9th day 148
At anchor in Montague Harbor, our last night in Canada.
Tomorrow we check into Customs at Friday Harbor, San Juan Island.