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Preparing for Alaska

This is what we've been doing for the past three days (and why it's been so quiet on the blog) — a seminar in preparation for cruising the Inside Passage to Southeast Alaska (and beyond):

Class

We'll be joining the first flotilla of about 7 boats or so — led by Mark Bunzel of the Waggoner Cruising Guide. Our friend Sam Landsman will be leading the second flotilla, and hopefully we'll run into him up there sometime as well. The flotilla takes three weeks to travel 760 miles from Anacortes, WA to Ketchikan, AK (more info here if you're interested). After we arrive in Ketchikan, the flotilla will be officially over and Kevin and I (along with others, I'm sure) will continue on up further into Southeast Alaska (after Kevin takes a quick business trip from Ketchikan), making stops at Petersburg, Juneau, Sitka, and many (many!) other cool spots we learned about over the weekend.

This seminar was fantastic — an intense amount of information covering SO much: mechanical issues, weather, tides and currents, navigation, culture, attractions, safety, provisioning, technology and communication, medical emergencies, cooking, photography, fishing, crabbing, and other "what ifs", delivered by some very knowledgeable people. We are super excited (and somewhat nervous, of course, because everyone is) about setting out on this incredible trip. 

From now until mid-May we'll be planning and researching and provisioning and making sure we have everything we think we might need for three months traveling by boat to Alaska and back. One of our friends asked me recently "How do you pack for a trip like that??" and I told her "I'll let you know!" (Hi Kathy!) 🙂

Yesterday we picked up an extra handheld VHF radio that floats, has a water-activated strobe light, built-in GPS (so it knows your position), and Digital Select Calling (so you can hail another boat directly), as well as PLB (personal locator beacon). We also got ourselves a collapsible crab trap (because…Crab! Alaska!) We have a few more items on our "Get Before Alaska" list (stuff like an outdoor collapsible propane burner and big stock pot (because…Crab! Alaska!), some miscellaneous spare parts, enough oil and supplies for two oil changes, longer chain and rode combination for our anchor/ground tackle because we'll be anchoring in deeper anchorages….stuff like that.  

Anyway, we'll of course be keeping you posted and blogging about our adventures. We've upped our connectivity arsenal and will be reporting on that as well, while trying to run our business from crazy remote locations. 

I guess that's it for now. Here's what it looks like at Cap Sante this evening:

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Yesterday after class finished we headed over to Black Rock Seafood and picked up some fresh halibut and a whole Dungeness crab, and last night we grilled the halibut outside and I served it with a side of asparagus, topped with a crab meat hollandaise. It was SO. GOOD.

Today we got up a little late (too late for real breakfast to be made by me, anyway) so at our lunch break we headed to Dad's Diner (a Go Go) for some tasty brunch. 

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We love the decor in this place — lots of great (vintage) globes (and the food is killer).

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Kevin's reflection in the polished wood table:

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Tomorrow, our plan is to head over to Sidney, BC to do the whole "customs thing" so we (a) know how to do it, and (2) know that we haven't forgotten that one crucial document we totally need. I printed out a list of all the meat/produce/alcohol we have on board (along with all our other important info like passport numbers and stuff) so we should be good go to. We'll explore the Sidney area and nearby islands for a couple days and then brave the "re-entry" into the U.S. via Roche Harbor or Friday Harbor or Anacortes (which we hear are not the most, um, friendly re-entry experiences. We'll see, and let you know.)

  • scott simmons

    Maybe you will get to come back on a sunny day. Glad you managed to find some Salt Spring Cheese. If you come back again I can tour you around the island. Thanks for the great shots and positive promotion of our island. Cheers Scott Simmons Salt Spring.

    • Hi Scott! Thanks so much for your reply (and for your offer…that’s so generous!) We’ll definitely get back here on a sunny day sometime…it’s a great spot and we’d love to see more of the island next time. Cheers!

  • Miss Chevious

    We love cabbage tumbo…great spot and the crabbing can be good there too!