A trip to south-east Alaska via the Inside Passage has been a dream of ours – well, the Captain’s anyway – for many years. After a couple of year of planning, we finally pushed off from Point Roberts on June 17th, with plans to return by mid-August.
This trip – approximately 2500 miles in length – will likely be our most challenging voyage so far. Although we will be travelling when the weather is at its best, windy conditions and very rough seas can occur anytime, especially in the open water sections at the northern end of Vancouver Island and across Dixon Entrance from Prince Rupert to Alaska. As always, we plan to be cautious, and not push forward when the conditions are not right for a safe and comfortable passage. Fortunately, His Idea is capable of much tougher sea conditions than the crew can tolerate, and our desire for comfort should ensure a good margin of safety as far as sea conditions are concerned. There are other potential challenges of course – fog (the crew has a strong dislike for fog, even with a chartplotter, radar and new AIS tool that identifies ships and their movement), narrow passages and strong currents, and very large tides that complicate anchoring.
Despite these risks, our voyage to Prince Rupert has generally been in comfortable conditions, with good visibility, more sunny days than not, and little rain. Only during our first attempt to round Cape Caution were we turned back by rough seas. That’s pretty good for B.C’s west coast at any time.
One of the main attractions of this trip will be the opportunity to view abundant wildlife. So far we’ve spotted humpback whales, orcas, Pacific White Sided dolphins, a mink swimming to get his supper, and plenty of eagles, ospreys and other waterfowl. To date the views of what’s in the water have been fleeting; our expectations are for better luck when we reach Alaska.
We hope the following pictures will provide the right flavour of this spectacular area of B.C., not just of the scenery, but some of its diverse and interesting past and present as well.