Category Archives: 5 Favorites

5 Favorites | Anchorages in Alaska this summer

This is the seventh in our ongoing series called “5 Favorites” in which we’ll explore a range of topics including marina showerscruise-in breweriesparks of the Gulf Islandsthe joys of winter cruising, fun things to do, meals to make aboard and much more. The aim is not to make a list of “bests” or to rank things, but rather to provide an entertaining and insightful look at what we’ve enjoyed while cruising the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. 

Out of all the “5 Favorites” articles I’ve assembled, this one was by far the hardest to put together. How could I choose just five of the many spectacular places we’ve dropped our hook since arriving in Alaska in April? It was an especially arduous task given that we cruised Southeast Alaska, Kodiak Island, the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound, and favorite anchorages seemed to come nearly every time we set the Rocna.

Alas, the five that I decided on aren’t necessarily the most popular, because it would have been far too easy to write again about Reid Inlet in Glacier Bay, the west arm of Ford’s Terror and others. Instead, they are five anchorages that were obscure, not listed in a cruising guide, found due to necessity or simply held fond memories based on what we did there.

Here we go, our 5 favorite anchorages in a Alaska this summer: Continue reading 5 Favorites | Anchorages in Alaska this summer

5 Favorites: Cruising Towns

This is the sixth in our ongoing series called “5 Favorites” in which we’ll explore a range of topics including memorable anchorages, marina showers, cruise-in breweries, parks of the Gulf Islands, the joys of winter cruising, fun things to do, meals to make aboard and much more. The aim is not to make a list of “bests” or to rank things, but rather to provide an entertaining and insightful look at what we’ve enjoyed while cruising the Pacific Northwest. And since every boater has their favorites, we invite you to share yours in the comments below. 

Fuel, water, provisions, a trip to the chandlery, showers and laundry, and the proposition of a hot meal cooked by someone else are some of the many things that boaters look for when stopping during a cruise. Most experienced Pacific Northwest mariners have their favorite marinas and ports of call along the way, and whether they’re utilitarian, charming or both, one of the great things that makes cruising the Salish Sea so special is the immense amount of quality stops we can make. Just like all my 5 Favorites articles, my top five cruising towns were difficult to narrow down. But here goes…

FRIDAY HARBOR 

In a way, San Juan Island’s Friday Harbor has turned into a home base for us while cruising the San Juans over the past three winters. For cruisers who are paying a quicker visit, though, there is U.S. Customs & Immigration, ferry and floatplane service to drop and pickup guests, ample room to anchor, a welcoming marina operated by the port, two grocery stores for provisions, boating services, a fuel dock, a small chandlery, a hardware store and more. Friday Harbor also houses several great restaurants and bars on or near Spring Street, a welcoming library, numerous specialty shops and is home to The Whale Museum, which promotes “stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem through education & research.”

Beyond all of that, we’ve found the town to be particularly welcoming to our family and have met residents during the offseason that befriended us like we are one of their own. For the boys, the Family Resource Center, library story times, A Place to Play and the pool at San Juan Island Fitness are all great entertainment, especially during the wetter and darker days of winter. And joining in the town’s Halloween festivities and Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving have been highlights of our time there.

Our Pumpkins ready for trick-or-treating in Friday Harbor.

Yahtzee’s restaurant of choice: Haley’s Sports Bar & Grill Continue reading 5 Favorites: Cruising Towns

5 Favorites | The joys of winter cruising

This is the fifth in our ongoing series called “5 Favorites” in which we’ll explore a range of topics including memorable anchorages, marina showers, cruise-in breweries, parks of the Gulf Islands, fun things to do, ports, meals to make aboard and much more. The aim is not to make a list of “bests” or to rank things, but rather to provide an entertaining and insightful look at what we’ve enjoyed while cruising the Pacific Northwest. And since every boater has their favorites, we invite you to share yours in the comments below. 

With the full onset of winter, we’re back to our winter cruising grounds of the San Juan and Gulf islands and are hopping from harbor to anchorage to marine park enjoying the splendor that comes with the season.

Cruising the PNW in the winter can be cool and wet, but having proper gear is a huge help.
Cruising the PNW in the winter can be cool and wet, but having proper gear is a huge help.

We love cruising this time of year in the Pacific Northwest and the reasons are many. While some may complain about the cold, the wind, the shorter days and the limited amount of services open to boaters, we embrace all of those challenges and more.

This is our third winter of full-time cruising in the Salish Sea and though there are innumerable things that we love about being underway this time of year, here are five of our favorites. Continue reading 5 Favorites | The joys of winter cruising

5 Favorites | Parks of the Gulf Islands

This is the fourth in an ongoing series called “5 Favorites” in which we’ll explore a range of topics such as memorable anchorages, marina showers, cruise-in breweries, fun things to do, ports, days of sailing, meals to make aboard and much more. The aim is not to make a list of “bests” or to rank things, but rather to provide an entertaining and insightful look at what we’ve enjoyed while cruising the Pacific Northwest. And since every boater has their favorites, we invite you to share yours in the comments below. 

British Columbia’s beautiful Gulf Islands are among our favorite places in the Pacific Northwest to drop the hook, tie a line ashore and head out on foot or by kayak to explore trails and beaches. So it was only natural that the many parks scattered among these islands would make a perfect “5 Favorites.”

But one of the things that guides this particular list is that our cruising time in the Gulf Islands has been heavily skewed towards the winter months. Cruising throughout the islands for many weeks at a time during the solitude of winter has been highly rewarding, but also means that very few boats are around. That being the case, we’ve visited all of these as the lone boat there and I’m not sure many of them would make my 5 Favorites had we been there exclusively in the more crowded times of the summer. Also, they are all great spots for kids, with easy hikes and accesible beaches.

Just like my previous “5 Favorites” topics, though, there are so many great ones to choose from that finalizing this list was extremely difficult. Alas, here are my 5 Favorite parks in the Gulf Islands from north to south.

parks Continue reading 5 Favorites | Parks of the Gulf Islands