Now that we've seen at least a portion of this coast, we're happy to say it was worth the trip. At several points, we had to skip places we really wanted to see just in order to get to Alaska at some point this summer. We found ourselves often saying "we'll catch that on the way back down next year". Here's hoping we have time to see everything we want to the next time around.
june 15th - lowe inlet
Once you hit the central B.C. you are presented with all sorts of routing options. The most interesting options usually takes you to the outer islands. These routes are full of remote islands and beautiful sand beaches. These routes are also exposed to the swell and weather in Hecate Straight which means these routes make for rolly, windy and uncomfortable travel.
If that's not your cup of tea, you can follow the cruise ship route which usually means long, narrow channels protected from whatever nastiness is brewing out in Hecate Straight.
Our initial impression was of course, we were going to run the outside route. We're all about the remote islands and beautiful sand beaches. However, after a few days of traveling on the outside, we were reminded that we're also all about traveling in comfort. And these routes were not proving comfortable with the weather we were getting. So we made a game time choice to go back to the inside route and follow the cruise ships north.
The central and north B.C. coast (click on the image to see a larger version). The large stretch of water between the coast and the Queen Charlotte islands is Hecate Straight.
Grenville Channel is the longest, narrowest channel and known locally as "the ditch". We didn't have high hopes for our run up Grenville. However, as it turns out, it was really beautiful. And? Flat calm. We're all about that.
We anchored in Lowe Inlet to wait out a 40 knot gale brewing in Hecate Straight. During our stay, we were visited by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) boat. They were incredibly polite while they interviewed us to make sure we were on the up and up. Either we were on the up and up, or they couldn't be bothered to arrest us.
june 18th - prince rupertAfter a few days of working our way up Grenville Channel and the surrounding area, we finally arrived at our last stop in British Columbia. Prince Rupert is a pretty cool city (well, it has a population of 12,000 so maybe city is overstating things but compared to where we'd been, Prince Rupert is a veritable Singapore). We spent a few days dealing with boat parts, buying an inflatable paddle board so Christy can get off the boat and excercise without getting eaten by a bear, and getting caught up on interwebs.
Apparently, Prince Rupert is not only one of the few ice-free deep water ports in North America that can handle every type of ship you can throw at her, it's also 2 days closer to Asia (via the great circle route) than other west coast ports. We saw a lot of commercial traffic coming in and out while we were there.
After we had all our chores done, we started looking for a weather window to cross Dixon Entrance and into Alaska.
54° 19.206'N 130° 19.121'W