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TOPIC: Seattle to Vancouver, BC

Seattle to Vancouver, BC 04 Aug 2017 05:50 #1

  • nedporges
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Wife and I planning a week or so to Vancouver. We haven't been able to find anything on-line regarding suggested routing, places to overnight, caveats, etc. Cruising guides only describe the locations. Called a couple Vancouver marinas and both say use extra caution for low depths, logs, fast water. Not very encouraging. We've been to numerous islands, ports, including Victoria so ain't entirely novices. Was thinking going north via La Conner. Hoping someone who has cruised Seattle-Vancouver BC will offer some insight. Thanks.

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Ned Porges / Seattle

Seattle to Vancouver, BC 04 Aug 2017 13:35 #2

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First of all, please complete your profile and signature. That helps all of us provide better answers.

You have a number of ways to do this, depending on how much time you want to spend and the weather.

The most direct route is past the west side of Whidbey Island, between Lopez and San Juan Islands through Cattle Pass, and past the east side of Saturna Island. It exposes you to the east Entrance of the strait of Juan de Fuca and a long stretch on the Strait of Georgia. If the winds are light this is easily doable.

You can come up through LaConner and then northwest following the shoreline. This is a good alternative but you have to watch the winds and tides in the Strait of Georgia, especially west of the Fraser River Delta. If the tide is rising, the tidal current opposes the Frazer River Flow and sometimes creates very uncomfortable seas in the area. A southwesterly wind exacerbates the issue. A way around it is to head further offshore from the Frazer River Delta.

Another way is through the San Juan and Gulf Islands. Once in the Gulf Islands you can cross the Strait of Georgia from Active Pass, Porlier Pass, or Gabriola Passage. As an alternative you can go through Dodd Narrows and cross to Vancouver north of Gabriola Island. Here's a good article on the passes: www.canadianyachting.ca/destinations/can...-of-the-gulf-islands

My wife and I have gone to Vancouver and Howe Sound a few times and have tried most of these routes. Our favorite is to go through the Gulf Islands and cross the strait from Porlier Pass. This gives us the chance to enjoy some places in the San Juan and Gulf Islands on the way up and back.
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Seattle to Vancouver, BC 04 Aug 2017 16:19 #3

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Norton Rider wrote: Another way is through the San Juan and Gulf Islands. Once in the Gulf Islands you can cross the Strait of Georgia from Active Pass, Porlier Pass, or Gabriola Passage. As an alternative you can go through Dodd Narrows and cross to Vancouver north of Gabriola Island. Here's a good article on the passes: www.canadianyachting.ca/destinations/can...-of-the-gulf-islands

That's the way I'd go, lot to see and lots of places to anchor or tie up.

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Seattle to Vancouver, BC 04 Aug 2017 16:48 #4

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Cattle Pass and up Georgia Strait is most direct. Aim for the peak of Bowen Island to clear the shallows of Sandheads that juts into the Strait. Once at the city you can anchor in False Creek for a base. Don't let marina staff give advice. It's doubtful they are boaters.

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Seattle to Vancouver, BC 04 Aug 2017 17:24 #5

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Also take note of the closure of the Swinomish channel:
swinomishchannelclosures.net/

I've found that ActiveCaptainActiveCaptain is a great resource for planning trips like this.

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Seattle to Vancouver, BC 04 Aug 2017 18:22 #6

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I know there's a book that's a cruising guide including routes for these areas but it's on my boat (does someone else know it?) It was very helpful the first time I went from Seattle through the San Juans and to Victoria/Sooke. I like going up the more protected east side of Whidbey but then through Deception Pass instead of the channel (just want to time the Pass well).

I had never seen it before googling it just now, but nwcruising.net has some route info like this - nwcruising.net/routes5/route.0602.html

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Seattle to Vancouver, BC 04 Aug 2017 19:33 #7

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The Waggoner Guide describes the area and routes a bit.

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Seattle to Vancouver, BC 04 Aug 2017 20:36 #8

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Uncle Bob wrote: ... Once at the city you can anchor in False Creek for a base. Don't let marina staff give advice. It's doubtful they are boaters.


We too prefer False Creek over Vancouver Harbor. If you are going to anchor, you will need a permit. It's easy to get online: vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/anchoring.aspx .

If you want to be at a marina I recommend The False Creek Harbour Authority docks, just west of Granville Island. They are a short walk from Granville Island, but they are far enough away from the hustle and bustle.

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Seattle to Vancouver, BC 05 Aug 2017 00:10 #9

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We went to Vancouver once via the east side. Stopped in Bellingham and then Blaine. (there are 2 marinas there)
We asked for advice on how to best transit to Vancouver, and one person said to look at the flag in the morning and if it was limp go straight for Vancouver.
The second person said to head for Nanaimo after going around Point Roberts and then after getting past the Frasier River turn towards Vancouver.
I wish I had taken the second persons advice. It was a minus tide and once we neared the Fraiser River we hit the worse jumbled seas I have ever been in.
Luckily we were able to make it into Steveston. There we found out even the fishing boats weren't going out. We then went up the Fraiser which gets you almost to Vancouver, but it is littered with logs. One traveling companion hit a log and bent a prop. Over all I enjoyed the trip because I have great stories to tell.
Good Luck

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Kevin
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Seattle to Vancouver, BC 05 Aug 2017 00:49 #10

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It's Fraser not Frasier and entering the Fraser to get to Vancouver makes no sense at all. The Fraser has a silt bar that juts way out into the Strait,but you don't need to go to Nanaimo to pass it. A mile off Sandheads will do. Find Sandheads Lightstation for both weather reporting and as a waypoint to identify the extent of the silt. The area is well marked all the way into the city
weather. gc. ca/marine
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Seattle to Vancouver, BC 06 Aug 2017 04:41 #11

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Thank you all for the Seattle/Vancouver tips. Wife is freaked! Logs, silt, rough water, et al. And now, the railroad bridge partial daily closure north of La Conner. Thanks for the tip. Hadn't heard about it. Will be taking a second look and having some second thoughts. for now.

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Ned Porges / Seattle

Seattle to Vancouver, BC 07 Aug 2017 00:31 #12

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Don't miss the trip with imagined difficulties. Do a plan and watch the weather. Evenings are usually calmer than earlier. Taking the long way through the Gulf Islands is pretty. The shortest crossing is Gabriola Pass to Gibsons. Gibsons has a marina and a marine park with buoys. The three weather sites you want are Sandheads, Entrance Island and Point Atkinson. Picking calm water keeps the marriage. Once anchored in False Creek you can dinghy to Granville Island market, stores and restaurants. She'll thank you for the trip.

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1989 26' then 1994 32' now 2001 39'

Seattle to Vancouver, BC 07 Aug 2017 05:44 #13

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My wife is often intimidated by the hazards of the sea. Your trip is not so difficult. If it were so dangerous, thousands of folks would not have done it.
Driving a car in your part of the world scares me horribly.

Three weeks ago, we left False Creek, stayed in Point Roberts, Blaine, Birch Bay, succia Island, Roache Harbor then Friday Harbor. Yes there are logs. Some shallow water near Richmond and currents. Doable adventure. My Raycharts are current but I relied heavily on Navionics and it was my first time with that. Wind, weather, currents and tides are right now if you have compatible android, apple, etc. cell service was almost perfect the entire trip.

The rewards of your completed trip are countless and the hazards, while they exist, are not so bad.

Richard at False Creek Yacht Club is a boater and can help you with a slip, if one is available. Often is. 604-648-2628.

This is written while we are at anchor near Port Graves, Gambier Island, BC.

Learning something new every day!

On day three of the next leg and we are excited to be heading further North in British Columbia.

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Joe
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Seattle to Vancouver, BC 07 Aug 2017 15:16 #14

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We did the trip many times, and always went the Blaine - Pt Roberts - Around the sandheads - False Creek route.
When we had a 2452, we trailered it to Blaine, launched, passed the customs in White Rock (10 min from Blaine), then passed Pt Roberts and went around the sandheads just keeping a mile or two from the shallows.
We always tried to leave early in the morning on a flood tide. The only problem we ever had was very rough seas in Semiahmoo Bay, that day we could not even safely approach the customs dock in White Rock. The wind speed at the Halibut Bank weather station (it was working at that time) was below 10, so we just beat our way around Tsawwassen, and as soon as we turned, it was a beautiful ride all the way to False Creek.
As for the ride North from Puget Sound, I prefer going the inside way around Camano to Deception Pass, then follow the line to Pt Roberts where we usually spend the night and top the fuel tanks.

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Alex
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