Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: CT/ Long Island Sound
Thanked 45 Times in 44 Posts
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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.