Kayaking at Sucia

David B Cruises - kayaking in the san Juan Islands
Kayaking at Sucia Island is a great way to find low tide creatures

Low tide is one of the best times to kayak at Sucia Island. One sunshine-y fall day I took several of our guests for a paddle along the wind-and-wave-sculpted sandstone that makes up Sucia. My guests were agreeable to a slow paddle where we could inspect the sea life that lives just below the surface. The easiest animals to find were sea stars:  giant pink stars, purple sea stars, sunflower stars, and leather stars. A few of the purple sea stars and leather stars were exposed on the rocks giving us the opportunity to reach out and feel the difference between the two species.

Below our kayaks we watched several types of small fish including a school of bay pipefish that  look like a straightened sea horse. There must of been many other fish in deeper water even though we couldn’t see them, since we spotted several seals hunting.

We glided along, talking about the creatures hidden in the rocks and seaweed. We discovered many of them by focusing on the slightest movements or a differences in color. We found chitons, sea urchins, sea anemones, crabs, and two kinds of sea cucumbers — the California sea cucumber and  the orange sea cucumber. We could have spent all day looking and watching the intertidal world and not see it all.

Our paddle lasted about two hours. I was a little reluctant to end our time at Sucia, but it was nearing lunchtime and time to return to the David B. Besides we had other adventures awaiting us.

Tides, Currents and Rapids in the Inside Passage

Cruising in the Inside Passage should be on every boater’s Must-Do List. The rewards for making the trip to Alaska are interesting towns and villages to visit, amazing natural beauty and a wild and remote feel you can’t find elsewhere. The southern part of the Inside Passage from Seattle to Desolation Sound is chic with upscale island towns full of art galleries, small wineries and craft breweries. North of Desolation Sound the Inside Passage grows more remote and wild. It’s where you’re most likely to find solitude. All of it is over-the-top beautiful.

Dent Rapids at Slack Water

Cruising through Dent Rapids at slack water.

For the last several weeks I’ve covered many topics about cruising in the Inside Passage from electronics, to charts, to outfitting, to planning your trip. This week, I’m going to focus on the natural aspects of the trip, and how wind, tides and geography affect your voyage, as well as how to take some of the apprehension out of cruising in the Inside Passage.

The Inside Passage gets its dramatic geography from advances of the massive Cordilleran ice sheet that pushed its way south, all the way to Washington State in the late Pleistocene. Evidence of this long ago glaciation is written into the Steep-walled fjords where grooves in the rocks show the slow-motion scraping rock and ice. When you begin to study the charts of the Inside Passage you’ll notice that the long winding deep inlets that cut into mainland are the beds of the long ago glaciers and you can trace their retreat to the high coastal mountains where their remnants still remain. To continue reading about how tides and currents will effect your cruising in the Inside Passage click over to CruisingNW.com

For more information on our Learn to Cruise the Inside Passage…
For a sample itinerary of our Learn to Cruise the Inside Passage trips…


Rust and Rot – Taking on the David B

Rust and Rot - Rebuilding a wooden boatWhen I think back about our time rebuilding the David B, I remember many stories. Some of those stories are in my book, More Faster Backwards: Rebuilding David B, but most of them are still in my head and preserved in pictures. One night while we were still working on the boat at Lopez Island still stands out. We were invited to attend a bonfire with some of the more colorful local live-a-boards and artists.

For next next few months I’m writing a series of short stories from the David B’s rebuild that didn’t make it into the book. You can find these stories at Pacifc Nor’West Boating. This month’s story is at http://digital.turn-page.com/i/118680/85


Cruise the Inside Passage – Presentation April 10th

If you love the Inside Passage and are dreaming of cruising to Alaska? Join us for an evening of photographs, fun stories and tips? on cruising the Inside Passage at the Whatcom Maritime Association’s monthly meeting on April 10th — 7pm. 2633 S Harbor Loop Dr, Bellingham, Washington

It’s free and open to the public. Click on the link below for printable flyer:




Directions to Squalicum Yacht Club

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Think of a Road Trip…

you went on, maybe back in your early twenties. Do you remember the view out the windows, the miles going by, the freedom of choosing where you were going to go and how you were going to get to your destination? You were there, in the moment, living. Did you have your tent along, or did you crash at friends’ houses. Was it sunny and beautiful and windows-rolled-down cruising or crazy snowing and are-we-going-to-get-there-alive thrilling? Remember that wonderful feeling of having the music cranked up?
The thing is, it’s fun to live those trips and almost as much fun to re-live those trips later. We have all these memories, and for me seldom an hour goes by without thinking about something from the past. It’s not like I’m dragging up all these memories of just road trips. It’s all kinds of stuff. It’s just that the memories of what I had for lunch yesterday , or what I told my accountant last week aren’t going to stick with me like that ones from the road trip.

When you’re on the David B, you’ll see things that you might never get to see again. Humpback whales feeding together in groups, glacier carved fjords, native totem pole ruins slowly decomposing into the earth, bears meandering on the beach. The list is endless, no day is the same, but the memories, that’s what’s really important. They’re yours to bring back anytime. Like that road trip.

Call us. It’s time you went cruising.

Captain Jeffrey and Christine








We hope to see you soon!
Captain Jeffrey and Christine

PS. You won’t need your tent for this road trip!

Tips for Buying Your Boat’s Electronics Package

Laptop Chart PlotterOutfitting your boat for cruising in the Inside Passage doesn’t have to be over-the-top expensive. You do, however, need to be prepared to spend a lot of money, but if you follow some basic guidelines for decision making, you can put together the best electronics package that will fit your budget.

When we were first buying electronics for the David B, we asked ourselves the following questions for each purchase:

  • How much does the equipment contribute to safety of the boat and crew?

  • How easy is it to operate?

  • Is it in my budget?

Click on over to CruisingNW.com for a complete list of our tips on buying electronics and why some electronics are more important than others.

The Next Big Thing

The Only WitnessI enjoy reading and writing. This is especially true in the off-season when we’re working on the David B’s winter maintenance. A day or so ago mystery writer and author of The Only Witness, Pam Beason sent me an email with the opportunity to join a “blog hop” where I get to answer some questions about my writing and spotlight a couple of my favorite authors. My author picks are Elsie Hulsizer and Wendy Hinman both of them share the same kind of love for adventure, wilderness and being on the water that I do. I have more information on them at the bottom of this post, but first here are the answers to the ten questions about my writing:

What is the working title of your book?
More Faster Backwards: Rebuilding David B

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was sitting in the galley of my boat, the David B, with my husband Jeffrey telling stories to our guests. Two of them seriously suggested that I write a book about restoring the boat. I wasn’t convinced that I could write, but they pressed me to commit to writing the boat. By the time we returned to the dock two days later, I had decided that I’d try to write the book.

What genre does your book fall under?

More Faster BackwardsWhich actors would you choose to play you in a movie rendition?
I’m always doing a million things and haven’t spent much time watching movies recently, so I had to ask friends who would be a good fit to play me in a movie. The answers were a tie between Kate Winslet and Laura Dern. The runner’s up were Hope Davis, Leelee Sobieski, Helen Hunt and a young Sophia Loren. They are all awesome actors and I’m sure they’d make me more interesting than I really am.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
More Faster Backwards takes place on a voyage to Alaska where I remember the endless hurdles my husband and I faced restoring an old wooden boat to run as a small tour boat business.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I chose to self-publish. I’m not against traditional publishing, but I knew that it would take years to find and agent and a company to publish the book. I also decided to self-publish because I knew I had and audience who was would be interested in buying the book now. To me it made more sense to publish myself and have exposure rather than hold out for the possibility of finding a traditional publisher, which might never happen.

Since I’ve done all the work to publish and market More Faster Backwards myself, I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about it. If there’s ever publishing company interested in me as an author, I’ll have a good understanding of how the industry works and I think that will make for a better working relationship.  ??How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? ?It took me two years to write the manuscript. I woke up every morning and wrote from 5am-7am. It was the quietest time of day and I’m most creative in the mornings.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
My dream is that More Faster Backwards will be compared with A Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet and Passage to Juneau by Jonathan Raban.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Pam Young, author of Sidetracked Home Executives: from Pigpen to Paradise and Marla Cilley, author of Body Clutter: Love Your Body, Love Yourself  were my inspirations to write More Faster Backwards. They encouraged me and gave me the confidence to tell my story.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? ?We all struggle with the idea of who we are and who we want to be. More Faster Backwards tells how my husband and I really worked together to achieve our goals. The story is uplifting and positive. We’re normal people with big ideas and readers find that MFB can inspire them to take steps towards following their own dreams.

Now that I’ve answered those questions, here’s some more information about Elsie and Wendy.


Glaciers, Bears and TotemsElsie Hulsizer is the author of, Glaciers, Bears and Totems: Sailing in Search of the Real Southeast Alaska and Voyages to Windward: Sailing Adventures on Vancouver Island’s West Coast. She acquired her fascination with the sea growing up on the shores of Puget Sound and learning to sail on an 18ft wooden sloop.  That fascination took her to the University of Washington where she  earned a master’s degree in biological oceanography, and then to a career in environmental management in Rhode Island, Philadelphia and Seattle. Retired now, she lives in Seattle, cruises every summer and writes in the winter. Her early interest in the sea grew to a fascination with the cultural, geological and historical factors that shape a region.

 In addition to her books, Elsie’s articles have appeared in local and national boating magazines in the U.S. and Canada.  Her writing is augmented by her photography.

Wendy Hinman is the author of Tightwads on the Loose: A Seven-Year Pacific Odyssey (May 2012, Salsa Press), about a seven year voyage she took aboard a 31-foot boat with her husband. Click here for purchase details.

Wendy Hinman grew up moving every few years as a child because of her father’s job as a dentist in the Navy. During her childhood, she had the opportunity to live in multi-cultural environments in Guam, California, Hawaii and Washington D.C. with strong Asian influences and loved it so much she’s devoted her life to exploring as much of the world as she can.Tightwads on the Loose

She used her degree in Economics from the University of Michigan to found a successful international business, which along with her insatiable curiosity has taken her to over 30 countries.


Where’s the Salish Sea?

Salish Sea Map
Map of the Salish Sea & Surrounding Basin, Stefan Freelan, WWU, 2009

Most of the time when I talk about cruising on the David B, I say that we’re cruising the San Juan Islands, or Gulf Islands, but it turns out that we spend most our time cruising the Salish Sea. Find out where the Salish Sea is by visiting my blog over at Yachting Magazine.