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30 July 2014

Think Sweaters, Not Bikinis {Some Places On Our Sailing Bucket List}

Where should we go on our next sailboat?
While we've been figuring out where to buy our next sailboat in the States, we've also been tossing around ideas about where we want to sail to and explore. We're not sure how long we'll want to cruise full-time - it could be two years, five years or forever - so we probably need to think about what our "sailing bucket list" is so that we can prioritize where we absolutely want to get to. Of course, where we end up buying our next boat will have something to do with where we end up sailing to first.

So here is the start of our "sailing bucket list" - it definitely keeps evolving and growing as we think and read about new places. These are some of what I like to think of as "cooler weather" places. Bring your sweaters and leave your bikinis at home. 

The San Juan Islands, Washington State

Located in the Salish Sea between Vancouver Island and mainland United States, the San Juan Islands are an archipelago of 172 islands and reefs, only four of which are accessible by public ferry (Orcas, Lopez, San Juan and Shaw). That means that there are a lot of places you can only explore on your private boat! If we buy our next boat in the Pacific Northwest, this is where I think we would start off our next sailing adventures from.

A few of the places we want to go and see

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island - the busiest port in the San Juans, it is supposed to be a quaint little town chock full of shops, restaurants, historical sites, museums and art galleries. Sucia Island - known as the crown jewel in the Washington State marine park system, it has a reputation as one of the top boating destinations in the world. Garrison Bay, San Juan Island - we can learn about some history at English Camp, which is part of the National Park Service. Stuart Island - described as a marine park for mariners who want to get away from it all. Sounds perfect. 

Want to know more?

You can find a free San Juan Islands cruising guide on the Salish Sea Pilot siteSV Cambria is currently sailing in the Pacific Northwest and they have lots of great information about their adventures in this neck of the woods on their blog. Cruising World has an article on a seven day cruise from Bellingham to the San Juans. Northwest Yachting Magazine has a list of the top 10 places you don't want to visit, unless you like grounding your boat (always good to know what to avoid). If you don't have a boat, you might want to check out the tourism site which has information about the islands you can get to on a ferry.

Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia

Lying off the far eastern side of the Russian Federation, the Kamchatka Peninsula is relatively unexplored by your average tourist. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and known as the "Land of Volcanoes". I first learned about the area when I read James Michener's Alaska. In the early 1700s, the Danish explorer, Vitus Bering, was commissioned by Peter the Great to build ships and lead two explorations from the Kamchatka Peninsula to what is now known as Alaska. Maybe we can sail from Alaska to Russia and retrace Bering's route? 

A few of the places we want to go and see

The nearby Commander Islands - Vitus Bering was shipwrecked and died here. Today, you can go and see the amazing wildlife including seabirds and fur seals. The Valley of the Geysers - the second largest geyser field in the world. Avacha Bay - some people (aka the Kamchatka tourism board) say it is the biggest and most picturesque bays in the world. Located in Avacha Bay is the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. It's the second largest city in the world that isn't reachable by road.
 
Want to know more?

So do we! Has anyone traveled there by sailboat or land?

The Inside Passage, Alaska

The Inside Passage is a protected coastal route which runs from the Puget Sound in Washington through British Columbia and then up to Skagway in Alaska. The Alaskan portion is 500 miles from north to south and includes a thousand islands and thousands of coves and bays and is home to the Tlingit, Haida and Tsminshian peoples. People usually explore the Inside Passage on a big cruise ship, but wouldn't it be so much better to do it on a sailboat?

A few of the places we want to go and see

Glacier Bay National Park - has rugged mountains, fjords, dramatic coastlines and, of course, glaciers. Ketchikan - has the world's largest collection of totem poles. Tongass National Forest - not only is it the largest national forest, it is also a great place to safely see lots of brown and black bears. 

Want to know more?

Check out SV Lealea's adventures on their blog and You Tube channel, as well as hear the crew talk about their experiences on The Sailing Podcast (you can also find an interview with me there too). You can find information on the Glacier Bay National Park here.

The Baltic Sea

Located between central and northern Europe, the Baltic Sea has everything you could want - lots of history, bustling cities and quiet towns, islands and peaceful anchorages. Several years ago we went on a Cities of the Baltic cruise (thanks to a cheap, last-minute deal) which was a great way to see some of the sights in a short amount of time, but it would be so much more fun to be able to explore the area at a more leisurely pace by sailboat.

A few of the places we want to go and see

Fårö Island - lying to the northeast of Gotland Island, Fårö is a popular summer resort area known for its peace and quiet, interesting limestone rock formations (rauks), an old lighthouse and a lot of sheep. Riga - the capitol of Latvia, is a UNESCO World Heritage site noted for its Art Nouveau architecture and is supposed to have a Prague-like feel to it. Aland Islands - an autonomous Swedish speaking archipelago in Finland, with around 300 islands to explore.

Want to know more?

SY Dolphin Dance has a list of the top 10 sailing destinations in the Baltic. You can find information about how to get to the Baltic Sea via the Kiel Canal on SY Kissen's site. Martin Edge has a series of posts about anchorages, harbors and marinas in Finland on Sail in Finland.

What's on your bucket list whether by boat, plane, train, bus, camel etc.?

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9 comments:

  1. I contemplated putting the Faroe Islands on mine too. I have been to Iceland and the shetland islands and loved it, and it really made me want to go!

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    1. We made it to Orkney Islands many years ago, but never as far north as the Shetland Islands.

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  2. I went on a Baltic cruise to Riga in March and it was fantastic!! Though Kamchatka sounds really adventurous and remote so perfect for me ;)

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    1. The fact that Kamchatka is remote and not heavily touristed is one of the reasons we want to go there as well. Not sure if it will ever happen, but nice to dream about.

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  3. Wonderful off the 'sailed' path? (I'm trying to be clever and it's not working, but anyhow...) That is an awesome list! I mean a lot of passages like these wouldn't be on most people's list because of the way you can reach them. Jessica from the blog Team Wiking posted recently about a cruise from San Fran to Alaska and Glacier Bay National Park was breathtaking from her pictures, I can't imagine in person!

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    1. Love the "off the sailed path" phrase - it was clever :-)

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  4. If you do the San Juan Islands in Washington State, you just have to pop by Port Townsend. There is a grand wooden boat festival and it's my favorite place on earth!

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    1. When is the boat festival - sounds like that would be fun to check out!

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    2. It's in September 5-7th. Here is their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/250477261758691/

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