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ADVICE NEEDED]- Should we make a 2wk cruise to Desolation sound with our 2&8 yr olds?

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ADVICE NEEDED]- Should we make a 2wk cruise to Desolation sound with our 2&8 yr olds?

Old 08-16-2018, 12:22 PM
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Default ADVICE NEEDED]- Should we make a 2wk cruise to Desolation sound with our 2&8 yr olds?

Apologies for reposting this here but as it is sort of a regional question I was hoping that you might be able to help -

My delima is this:

Should we go on a 2 week cruise to Desolation Sound from Anacortes (Washington State) with our 8 and 2 year olds?

The facts:
  • The boat is sound and considered very seaworthy for the area, shes a 2015 33' Ocean Sport Roamer.
  • I have been driving the boat for 6 months and am reasonably comfortable with docking/mooring the extra power that dual D4s have compared to my old single prop.
  • My wife and I have yet to successfully anchor without dragging on 3 trips locally in the San Juans this summer.
  • My 2 year old is hell on wheels
  • My 8 year old loves boating but hes 8...he also loves reading and video games.
  • Boat has EPIRB, a tender, and we have immersion suits and safety equip for everyone.
  • I've never boated (in this vessel or any other) in anything worse than 15-20mph variable with 2-3ft chop in near coastal waters. I have exactly 4 years of boating experience in the San Juans.
  • We have made several trips to local marinas and lived on the boat (dockside) this summer and all was well but now were talkign anchorages, full marinas and everything that comes with cruising to Desolation (dodd, narrows,the run up the Strait up to Nanaimo, the crossing, malibu rapids for princessa Lousa inlet etc.)

Now...I can change a prop and a fuel filter because I've had someone teach me but beyond that I have little mechanical knowledge of marine engines, though I understand my boat's electrical system as well as I can for its level of complexity (basically I know what all the switches and buttons are and for the most part know how to work them).

Please let me know what you think or if you need addtl. info.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-16-2018, 09:29 PM
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Why? Is it worth ruining the family interest in boating?
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:28 AM
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You'll have two weeks to learn how to anchor your boat. That's a plus.
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Old 08-17-2018, 03:29 PM
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Default Staying closer to home

I wanted to take a second to thank everyone who weighed in and offered advice; it's been much appreciated.

After some hard reflection we've decided to stay in the San Juan's this year and just take it one day at a time. We'll be ~2 hrs at most from our home port (at cruising speed) and should the kids mutiny (or wife), mechanical issues arise etc. being closer to home while gaining experience is bound to be an easier scenario than being 500 NM from home.

Again, Thank you all.

If you have any recommendations on becoming a better skipper I'm open and would love to hear them. I routinely read Bowditch and Chapman's along with the study material for the 25GT Captain's license but specifics about weather, vessel handling, PNW cruising etc. are always welcome. Feel free to message me or just add to this thread if you have advice.
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Old 08-17-2018, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Pez Vela View Post
You'll have two weeks to learn how to anchor your boat. That's a plus.
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Old 09-14-2018, 07:02 PM
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I would consider travelling south clear to Olympia and experiencing the south sound. There is a few things to be seen both in cities and in anchoring situations. Anchoring takes a little practice and a good bottom. You can also spend weeks exploring Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands getting use to the boat and seeing some great sights. Last week we spent 3 nights in Sidney and traveled out to the eastern gulf islands, Poets cove, Ganges. There is also the northern gulf islands and places like Ladysmith and Nanaimo. You need to watch the big water (any straights) very carefully and understand wind and current because the waves can be brutal. We had one of Jim Lindells earlier boats (38 Fly bridge) and the boats are built very strong, they will take more than you will. The Ocean Sport 33 is a great boat. Just put your time in around sheltered waters until you are fairly comfortable and then go for it.
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Old 09-14-2018, 07:08 PM
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ps. A Waggoners or similar cruising guide is very helpful if you don't have one.
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Old 09-19-2018, 01:01 AM
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Yes. absolutely. But not for your first long cruise, so not this fall.
That boat can handle it, for sure, if you watch the weather. Go inside all the way to Naniamo.
Do a successful (including anchoring) trip tothe San Juans first. Sucia echo bay for example. Desolation is about 60 Miles northwest pretty much open water from there (straight of Georgia is about 60 by 20 with lots of changes four times a day current. And wind and ships etc)
If you routinely drag anchor you are doing it wrong. Get a Good anchor and rode, Plenty of scope. Lots of advice here and in Chapman’s waffonners or even in a cruising class. Know how to navigste and read tide and current. Watch weather. Get comfortable before you take the fam that far away from everything.

A cruise south is a good idea for a long fun easier but still challenging warm up. End at Olympia sure but there are lots of state parks and other cool spots along the way. Waggoner is a must and is fun to read on a rainy night, just planning. lots of good practical advice: Anchoring route planning. Weather etc.
do it slowly and right when you are ready and you’ll have two (maybe four) watermen/women by the end of next summer. Good luck!
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by SalishSeeker View Post
I wanted to take a second to thank everyone who weighed in and offered advice; it's been much appreciated.

After some hard reflection we've decided to stay in the San Juan's this year and just take it one day at a time. We'll be ~2 hrs at most from our home port (at cruising speed) and should the kids mutiny (or wife), mechanical issues arise etc. being closer to home while gaining experience is bound to be an easier scenario than being 500 NM from home.

Again, Thank you all.

If you have any recommendations on becoming a better skipper I'm open and would love to hear them. I routinely read Bowditch and Chapman's along with the study material for the 25GT Captain's license but specifics about weather, vessel handling, PNW cruising etc. are always welcome. Feel free to message me or just add to this thread if you have advice.
I think you made the right choice for two reasons:

1. Your inability to successfully anchor. In Desolation Sound, you rarely have options other than anchoring, and the consequences of dragging anchor up there are high, with rocky shores, crowded anchorages, and deep moorages. A year or two of additional experience in the San Juans and Gulf Islands and you'll be all set. You will need to learn to stern-tie, as is the custom in Desolation.

2. As a parent of a two and five year old myself, two weeks up in Desolation, where there aren't a ton of shoreside activities, and mosquitos can be overwhelming, I'm just not sure you would have had much fun.

Next year you should do it, though.
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Old 11-23-2018, 02:42 PM
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Good advice. Learn to drop your hook or I should say hooks. Carry two anchors.
Get some more practice with rougher conditions. Learn to read the tides and tidal rips.
Take your kids on some short trips first.
One step at a time Grasshopper.
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