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  #1  
Old 02-20-2008
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Inside Passage to Alaska

Greetings:

We are planning to cruise this summer from our current base at Pleasant Harbor Marina on the Hood Canal in Washington to southeast Alaska via the Inside Passage. We hope to leave in mid-May. We have reviewed the usual suspects of cruising guides, Douglas, Charlie's Charts etc, but would like some experienced, "local" knowledge/tips from anyone who has done this trip.

All input would be appreciated and if any forum members are making similar plans we would like to stay in touch and maybe rendevous on the way north.

Let us hear from you. Thanks.

Spirit
David and Jo
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Old 02-20-2008
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1. The books are right when they say to pay attention to the currents. The places with rapids are no joke -- pass only at or near slack water. You'll also find that it helps a lot to plan your daily runs so the currents working for you.

2. There's more to see than you'll ever have time for, so read up and decide what you want to see in the time you have available. You won't be disappointed where ever you go.

3. Fishing licenses are expensive and unless you have local knowledge they are probably a waste of money -- you can buy fresh fish cheaper than you can catch it (Now, if you know what your doing, it's a different story. I bought licenses in both BC and AK and caught one fish). Exception is crabbing -- we had really good luck with the "double hoop" type of trap and salmon heads, halibut body parts, or chicken bones as bait. Caught lots of dungies everywhere.

4. Be careful about how much booze you take into Canada -- they seem to be grumpy with people who have too much. Signing the customs document with only "Normal ships stores for 90 days" didn't cut it -- and when I told them I still had 8 or 10 bottles of rum left over from the Caribbean, a couple of cases of wine in the bilge and two cases of beer, they didn't think it was funny, or normal.

5. Be careful of the bears. I tend to take my cues from the locals and I saw more than one family out walking with a gun. I also saw lots of people who only carried bells. (Do you know how you can tell brown bear poo from black bear poo? Grizzley poo has little bells in it.) Where the salmon are running you'll probably find bears -- and most will run away, but.....well, do read up on bear behavior and take appropriate precautions. We heard of a woman killed near one of the bear observatories in '06 -- she was walking back to the boat by herself.

6. My vote for the one place not to miss -- the Punchbowl on the south side of the Behm Canal near Ketchikan.

Have fun. It's a great trip, one you'll remember for a lifetime.
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Old 02-20-2008
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Get Licenses!

It depends on when you're there, but when the salmon are running, you can't miss them. Some days you'll get nothing, some days you'll limit out.

Halibut are easier, but you need to know what bottom to look for.

Black Cod in Chatham Strait used to be pretty easy, but you need to go DEEP!

Red snapper? Can't miss. Ling cod? Pretty easy.

Crab? The seasons are pretty short these days, but they're easy to come across when legal. Salmon heads, cod, and chicken work well. Halibut isn't quite oily enough. Add some chopped herring, too. You'll get tanner, king and dungeoness. I was raised there, and worked as a commercial fisherman for a few years. Lemme know if you want some tips.
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Old 02-21-2008
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Aasem,

Where were you when I needed you! How bad is it when your catch is called a "double ugly" and it's smaller than the halibut jib? Next time I'll support the local fishermen rather than the governments. $250 (in AK + BC) buys a lot of fish!
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Old 02-23-2008
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I can't seem to catch anything in Sitka... just another cursed rag-bagger
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Old 02-23-2008
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Spirit, check out this other recent related thread too:
Alaskan inside passage Cruising guide ?
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