Discovering the natural wonders of Southwest Florida

Discovering the wonders of Southwest Florida

By Christine Wenk-Harrison

A recent road trip to visit family in Florida took us to Rotonda West, about 50 miles south of Sarasota. Our hosts have a home on a circular canal where bird watching is a daily pleasure. With no outlet to salt water, only a limited number of small boats (pontoons and motorized skiffs) occasionally pass by. Jim thought a kayak would be ideal until his brother advised him that alligators also inhabit the canal.

We did, however, get to kayak when our family took us to nearby Don Pedro State Park for a two-hour kayak paddle to the park’s barrier island, which is accessible only by boat. We walked along the beautiful mile-long beach, which offers some of the best shell collecting I can recall.

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Chartering the islands of Grenada and the Grenadines

Chartering the islands of Grenada and the Grenadines

By Van Diehl, with help from Ted and Claudia Bowler

A group of us recently took a wonderful sail charter to Grenada and the Grenadines. One of the Caribbean’s nicest sailing areas, the Windward Islands consist of Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Martinique and Dominica. The islands got their name from the British, who had to beat to windward to sail there from their colonies. The islands lie almost across the easterly trade winds, which makes for an easy northerly or southerly passage. Just far enough apart to allow for an exhilarating open ocean sail, the islands are lush and richly tropical, with high mountains that trap the clouds and produce dense green vegetation.

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Mljet

Chartering along Southern Croatia

By Walter LaMendola with Bruce Cochran, Michelle Denton, Pam McCain, Charley Oliver and Nancy VanDeMark

“Why?” I’d wondered when Nancy told me that our group of sailor friends wanted to go to Croatia on holiday. I only had half-formed notions about Croatia and its people, but I should have known the “why” was typical sailor stuff.

The reasons included a long archipelago of sparsely inhabited Mediterranean islands; miles of beach, rock, vineyards, forest, palm trees, farms and olive groves; the southern Adriatic’s clear waters; and the generous people sustained by its riches. Mostly, it had to do with history and sailing with sun, wind and stars.

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Exploring the overlooked anchorage of Polkinghorne Islands

By Steve Lorimer

On several trips to northern British Columbia or southeastern Alaska, I’d noticed the Polkinghorne Islands just west of Wells Passage. We’d passed these islands in deep fog without seeing them a number of times, but in summer 2016 I vowed that it was time for a visit.

None of the guidebooks mentioned the islands as a safe anchorage, but when talking with Billy Proctor, an old-time commercial fisherman, environmentalist and year-round resident of Echo Bay, he mentioned anchoring there while salmon fishing in nearby waters. That did it! He had confirmed what I had speculated, and as we left Sullivan Bay in the Broughton Islands, we headed for the Polkinghornes.

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Ontario's North Channel

Friends take a charter of Ontario’s North Channel

By Jerry Major

After several years of enjoyable sailing trips to Ontario’s North Channel aboard Major Dad II, my 26-year-old 27-foot O’Day 272, my fascination with the surrounding natural beauty and serenity has not diminished. However, my cruising buddies, brothers Steve and Howard Anderson, and I discovered an exciting alternative to sailing my boat on the long trek from Toledo Beach Marina on Lake Erie near Monroe, Michigan, to Manitoulin Island in the North Channel.

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Kynoch Inlet

Sailing Kynoch Inlet, Fiordland, in British Columbia

By Steve Lorimer

Fiordland Conservancy in central British Columbia, Canada, has some of the most beautiful scenery you could ever hope to see. To get there, you must cruise several miles from the north end of Finlayson Channel to Sheep Passage and continue into Mussel Inlet or turn into Kynoch Inlet. Together the inlets comprise Fiordland, and a visit to both provides several days of anchorage alternatives.

Once in Fiordland you pass bold snow-topped mountains, rushing streams and waterfalls. In some ways it’s similar to Princess Louisa Inlet in lower British Columbia.

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A dream cruise in the U.S. Virgin Islands

A dream cruise in the U.S. Virgin Islands

By Anne Hammond

Boulder Valley Sail & Power Squadron members joined U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary members in February 2017 to sail the U.S. Virgin Islands aboard Dream Machine, a Beneteau Oceanis 45-3 from CYOA Yacht Charter at Frenchtown Harbor Marina, St. Thomas. After provisioning and the boat briefing, we took Dream Machine to St. John, a half-day’s sail. We caught a mooring in Great Lameshur Bay, dinghied to the wide, undeveloped beach, and swam in the bay.

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Gray whale in Guerrero Negro

Boaters get up close and personal with gray whales

By Cheryl Veldhuisen

A favorite activity for boaters in California is taking a trip off the coast to see migrating gray whales.

These 45-foot-long, 35-ton mammals spend the summer months (June through September) feeding in the Arctic Ocean by scooping up mouthfuls of the ocean floor, straining out the unwanted mud and water through their baleens, and eating the remaining krill and tiny amphipods.

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Maine Windjammer Cruises schooner Mistress ready to set sail.

Cruising Penobscot Bay

Sailing Maine’s coast aboard a full crewed schooner

By David Mangold

We wanted to sail the coast of Maine but were not keen on doing a bareboat charter. Maine Windjammer Cruises made our decision to explore the evergreen-spangled islands of Penobscot Bay easy by providing us with a rustic schooner complete with captain, crew and provisions.

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The Galapagos of North America

Sailing Channel Islands National Park

The Galapagos of North America

By Keith Dahlin

For over a year, my family and I have been sailing Steadfast, our Spindrift 43, out of Channel Islands Harbor in Ventura County, California. Eleven miles west of the harbor, a two- to three-hour sail, lies Anacapa Island. Beyond Anacapa sit three larger islands: Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel. These islands, along with Santa Barbara Island to the south, make up the Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary.

Called the Galapagos of North America for their unique natural history, these islands also have a cultural history that spans at least 13,000 years. Local anthropologist Phil Orr discovered the 13,000-year-old remains of “Arlington Springs Man” on Santa Rosa Island in 1959. Perhaps the oldest dated human remains in North America, Arlington Springs Man supports the theory that the first immigrants to North America migrated along the Pacific coast from Siberia and Alaska using boats to inhabit the Channel Islands.

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