West Sea Otter Online Again

West Sea Otter weather buoy provides critical weather data when deciding whether or not to cross Queen Charlotte Sound. We don’t like to go when it’s reporting seas in excess of 1.5 meters. Unfortunately, West Sea Otter was inoperable beginning May 11, 2014. Environment Canada operates the buoy and did not know why it stopped…


UPDATE: Swinomish Channel Buoyage Changes

The U.S. Coast Guard changed the buoyage in Swinomish Channel as of October 31st. The “change point,” noting the return to sea (Red Right Returning), was moved to the center of La Conner. It previously was about 2 miles north of La Conner. Old charts do not reflect this change. Buoy R22 has been changed…


UPDATE: Port McNeill Fuel Dock & Marina now North Island Marina

Port McNeill Fuel Dock & Marina, a fixture on northern Vancouver Island, has been renamed North Island Marina. The name change should make it easier for boaters to distinguish the private North Island Marina from the public Port McNeill docks. North Island Marina sent us this press release: Over the last 28 years, the Port…


Coastal Explorer Gets $99 Canadian Charts

A few weeks ago I ran into Garth Hitchens in Ganges. Garth is a developer at Rose Point Navigation, the maker of popular Coastal Explorer software. I’ve been using Coastal Explorer all summer and have been impressed with its stability, ease of use, and speed, even running on basic hardware. But what I’ve most enjoyed…


Sam Landsman’s Cruise Report: South from Cape Caution

In the wee hours of the morning my alarm clock burst to life. Sunrise was still an hour away. I hit snooze once, then stood up and turned on the weather radio. Queen Charlotte Sound isn’t to be trifled with, and I wanted as smooth a crossing as possible. Hence the early hour. The weather…


Mark Bunzel’s Cruise Report: Gulf Islands

The Pacific high continued bringing foggy mornings to the Washington coast and extreme sun to the Gulf Islands. The boating community responded and is out in full force. Many marinas are full—I’ve heard many turn visitors away on VHF 66A. Favorite spots like Ladysmith, Telegraph Harbour, and Nanaimo were struggling to find enough room. Many…


Swinomish Channel Dredging

Dredging in the southern portion of Swinomish Channel will begin in late September and continue through the end of the year.  Sections of the channel have been dredged several times in recent years. This dredging project will focus on several shallow areas at the south end of Swinomish Channel. Active dredging work will not interfere…


Deception Pass Marina Open Again

Deception Pass Marina’s fuel dock and store have reopened. The facility was closed for several months for a major rebuild and toxic waste was clean up. The marina installed a new bulkhead, replaced the store, and removed and replaced contaminated soil.

For complete information, call Deception Pass Marina at (360) 675-5411.

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NEWS FLASH: Explosion in Port McNeill

On the afternoon of August 5th, a 45′ gas powered wooden boat exploded shortly after leaving the dock. The concussion broke windows throughout the marina. A child was thrown into the water. The owner of the boat was burned and hospitalized. The boat quickly sunk. This accident is being investigated by the Canadian authorities and…


Mark Bunzel’s Cruise Report: Ketchikan to Smuggler’s Cove

July 6—Crossing Dixon Entrance. We formed up with Mike and Lynette’s boat, Black Pearl, a 50’ Skookum, in Tongass Narrows for our 3:30 a.m. departure. An early departure gives the best opportunity for light winds during the open water crossing. The strategy paid off with a flat water crossing. In Prince Rupert we cleared Canadian…


2015 Waggoner Flotillas

Last summer we lead three groups (23 boats total) on a 3 week trip from Anacortes to Ketchikan. All arrived safe and sound, and most importantly more knowledgeable about cruising the Inside Passage. We had a lot of fun, too. Potlucks, bear sightings, whales breaching—we saw it all. Our enroute destinations included many favorites of…


Book Review: Adventures in Solitude

Adventures in Solitude  What Not to Wear to a Nude Potluck… And other stories from Desolation Sound By Grant Lawrence I’ve avoided this book for the last four years. I’d see it everywhere in B.C.— stacked in book stores, stocked on the ferries. The cover seemed over the top. What Not to Wear to a…