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Old 12-09-2012
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Sailing in Alaska

My family is going on a Holland America cruise in June 2013 and I was wondering if anyone has a contact in any of the following ports to potentially go for a sail:

Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, or Victoria

It will depend on the amount of time at each port, but I think this would be a great way to see Alaska outside of the cruise excursions. Thanks!
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Old 12-09-2012
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Re: Sailing in Alaska

Well, Victoria is in BC.. so you won't see much of Alaska there. In June there may well be day trips available from the Victoria waterfront, I'd expect their tourism sites would be of some help.

My impression is that these stopovers on cruises are not all that long.. but again, some internet searching might turn something up in the Alaskan stops as well. Realistically a 2-4 hour daysail is really only going to give you a harbour or immediate inlet tour on a sailboat...

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Old 12-09-2012
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Re: Sailing in Alaska

Originally Posted by KattyC View Post
I think this would be a great way to see Alaska outside of the cruise excursions. Thanks!
Probably the best way to "see" Alaska other than from the deck of a ship/boat is to take one of the float plane excursions. They're expensive, but if the weather is good you'll see a lot in a short flight around Juneau or Ketchikan.

As for "sailing" in the Inside Passage the sailing is not great. In my experience, there is usually either no wind or wind coming directly from where you're trying to go.
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Old 12-09-2012
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Re: Sailing in Alaska

We took a Holland-America cruise out of Seattle to Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, and Victoria. It was fantastic. My brother lives in Juneau. He has a J/30 that he enjoys sailing to places like Glacier Bay. The problem is that the distances are so big, there's no way to get anywhere worthwhile in the time you have at any one port. He met us at the dock and took us out to see a wild salmon stream. Then out on a bubble-feeding whale-watch, then a helicopter tour (and landing) on Mendenhall Glacier. After that we went to his house for supper. The ship left that night for the next port. If we had gone sailing, we'd have gotten maybe eight miles down the narrow bay that Juneau lies at the head of ( I think it's some 30 miles long) before having to turn back. We'd have seen the same tree-clad mountains dropping into the sea that we'd already seen from the ship. Summer season wind is notoriously light all along the Alaskan coast. He tells us it takes him days to get anywhere. Sitka, with its surrounding islands might provide more varied cruising grounds, but again the wind was very light when we were there. Getting out on the local water is likely more interesting than the myriad t-shirt and overpriced jewelry stores that cruise ships seem to spawn,. Taking a fishing boat ride (and possibly catching a record-sized halibut, the way my mother did once) might be a better bet than trying to find a berth on a sailboat, given the time and space involved.
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