Summer Plans: Seattle to Broughtons and Back

In 2 weeks we take off on our 3 months of cruising. I promised some more details on where we’re going. One thing we’ve been realizing in telling our friends and family about our summer destinations is most people have never heard of these places and have no idea where they are or what they’re like. So in this itinerary I’m including some background info on the locations.

The itinerary is not exact – when cruising we try not to sail to a schedule. All the dates are +/- 2-3 days, and the variance gets higher the later in the trip we get (+/- 5-7 days) – we also might add or eliminate destinations especially in the later half. If any fellow cruisers are going to be in these locations on nearby dates, send us an email (use the Contact link at the top) so we can try to meet up in an anchorage.

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Itinerary (Approx)

June 11 – June 13 – Seattle to San Juans – potentially stopping in Mats Mats bay and Port Townsend.

June 14-19 – San Juans – We’ve been here a good deal, but there are still anchorages we haven’t explored, and a restaurant we have to try in Friday Harbor (Backdoor Kitchen).

June 20-22 – Gulf Islands – stopping in Nanaimo, and Montague Harbor is on our TODO list.

June 23-28  – Sunshine Coast, including Princess Louisa.

Princess Louisa is an inlet with towering mountain walls and pristine water down to 600 feet deep. For many cruisers it’s a dream destination. Waggoner’s Guide has this to say about it (quoting Erle Stanley Gardner):

“It is one of the most awesome destinations on the coast. What words can describe this place? All the superlatives have been used up on lesser subjects.“

June 29-July 4 – Desolation Sound

The famous aspect of Desolation Sound is its warm water – because the sound has a large amount of water that doesn’t get completely flushed out to the ocean, it warms up much more than Puget Sound and other local waters. It’s often called the warmest (salt) water north of Mexico.

July 5-9 – Desolation Sound to Broughtons in transit. There are some rapids through narrow passes here that require careful planning. We’ll probably take our time and stop overnight at a few places along the way.

July 10-22 – Broughtons

The Broughtons are northwest of Desolation Sound, and are much more remote and less populated. Everything we’ve heard about the solitude, awe inspiring nature, and wildlife of this region makes us think it will be the highlight of our trip. We hope to visit Glendale Cove in Knight Inlet where it’s often possible to see grizzlies.

The Broughtons are a huge cruising area, and getting to them is relatively difficult – so we’ll probably spend several weeks there and use this as our turnaround point.

July 23 – Sept 3 – Return trip to Seattle. Going back south we’ll pass through many of the same areas again – the Sunshine Coast, Gulf Islands, San Juans. But we’ll visit a few cities that we passed up on the way north – like Vancouver and Victoria, and spend more time in the Gulfs and San Juans.

A Difficult Decision

Our itinerary might seem short to some people – in 3 months some sailors go all the way to Alaska, and some people do a Vancouver Island circumnavigation in only a month or two. But we learned last year we like cruising slow – doing short hops so that we can sail instead of motoring, and exploring all the secluded anchorages inside the sounds that many people skip over because they’re sailing to a schedule.

We may face a tough decision when we get done in the Broughtons and are ready to turn around for home. We’ve been planning all along to take the inside route of Vancouver Island back – retracing our steps past Desolation Sound, the Gulfs and the San Juans. This is the easier route and would give us more time to explore places that we passed up on the way north.

But the Broughtons are close to the north end of Vancouver Island, where people doing a Van Isle circumnavigation turn left to go around the top of the island and head down the west coast. If we wanted to, we could come down that way. But we know that route is much more difficult – we’d have to face Cape Scott and deal with the short-stacking ocean waves that we didn’t like last summer in our partial foray up the bottom southwest corner of Van Isle. So we will probably not go that way. But a lot can change in a month and a half – if our boat is doing perfectly and we’re handling the sailing challenges well, maybe we’d decide to get the circumnavigation under our belts.

Making Progress on Cruise Preparations

This weekend we’re packing up our condo and moving onto the boat. It’s amazing how much stuff we have that we no longer used – tons of old clothes (which are going to donations), books, kitchenwares, papers, etc. We’re selling stuff on craigslist, donating to Good Will, and throwing out junk that has no value to anyone. It feels good to get down to just the bare essentials. It’s a time of reminder that we don’t really need all the things that we think we need.

Lots of stuff waiting to go to the boat

Yet lots of stuff waiting to go to the boat

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