Last year was my busiest ever on the boat. I covered more than 4,300 nautical miles from Olympia, WA to Juneau, AK, accumulating 600 engine hours. When I opened my well-worn Waggoner Guide in September to begin updating the book for 2015, I was struck by just how many notes I had scribbled in the margins.
Some changes are relatively minor—a new phone number or email address, Wi-Fi added or removed, different business hours. Other changes are more significant.
In South Puget Sound, both Boston Harbor Marina and Lakebay Marina have new owners who have brought fresh enthusiasm to these older facilities. Both marinas have a quaint, funky charm reminiscent of the mom-and-pop marinas in the Broughtons. At Lakebay, the owners regularly host live music and beer and wine tastings. Boston Harbor Marina is a gathering spot not just for boaters, but also neighbors. Weekend group breakfasts and dinners are common.
Brothers Mike and Dan Byzyna purchased Montague Harbour Marina and are busy updating the facilities. They’ve renovated the bathrooms and improved the grocery selection. Boaters who anchor or tie to mooring buoys are now able to land dinghies at the marina, a welcome change.
In Nanaimo, Waterfront Suites and Marina, with transient moorage, opened in October. This is an important development since moorage is becoming scarcer at Nanaimo Port Authority.
In the Broughtons, much-loved Allyson Major will return to Jennis Bay next summer. She’s replacing her sister and Kim’s husband Kent as the manager at this family-owned resort.
Quarterdeck Marina, in Port Hardy, was sold last summer. The new owners abruptly shuttered the boatyard and parked the Travelift. For cruisers on this part of the coast, the nearest haulout, aside from the commercial ways in Sointula, is now more than 100 miles south in Campbell River or Lund, or 95 miles north in Shearwater.
Further north, the store at Bella Bella, which burned down in 2013, has been rebuilt. It will be open for the 2015 season.
Pete and Rene Darwin, known from their many years at Namu, moved their floats to Lizzie Cove in 2014, then had to move them across the cove a few months later. Now settled, they’ll be welcoming visitors in 2015. Without Pete and Rene on-site, Namu’s decay has accelerated.
We’ve also added new sidebars to the 2015 Waggoner Cruising Guide. After traveling from Craig, AK to Alert Bay, B.C.—a distance of more than 300 nautical miles, almost entirely in pea soup fog—I realized we needed a sidebar with tips for navigating in fog. And by popular demand, another new sidebar focuses on boating-accessible pools.
If you haven’t purchased a Waggoner Guide for a few years you’ll notice even more changes. In 2013 we added Local Knowledge, a feature that calls out important navigational information. In 2014 Things to Do debuted, highlighting popular activities at several major destinations.
Facilities along the coast are constantly changing. Check our website, www.WaggonerGuide.com, to stay abreast of these changes. And if you find an update, please let us know.