I am actually writing this column in May, 1996, as Judy and I prepare for a trip to Alaska which has us away from May 25 until about July 31; you should be getting this Jib Sheet just as I return! Hopefully ours will have been a trouble-free trip.
In the May issue, I ran a column about the need for checklists, citing tales about boaters' problems with loose couplings, Diesel leaks, and holding tank valves. A couple of the boaters in question recognized themselves, and were incensed that I had told their tale, even if there were no names used.
What they failed to note that one name was used, mine! The loose coupling was on my boat, and I should certainly have noticed it, but I hadn't.
I tell you this, because I think it's important to tell these tales, and own up to them! I have friends and acquaintances whose boats have hit rocks in Malaspina Inlet, the Wasp Islands, and various reefs. Lord knows, a lot of us have hit logs. There are only two ways we can communicate such an event: (1) Keep mum, and get some (sick) pleasure out of it happening to the next guy; or (2) Tell the story so it might not happen to someone else.
I prefer the latter choice, and so in my next column I'll tell you what I learned from my Alaska travels, and, perhaps, those of the half-dozen-or-so other boats going up north that we know about.
How do you prepare for a trip all the way up the Inside Passage? To my way of thinking, the same way you do for any other trip! Remember, it was April and May when I got my boat ready, and I did the usual springtime stuff. Next, I reviewed paperwork, including checking to be sure nothing would expire while I was gone, including my Washington registration which, inconveniently, expires mid season! And then I determined whether there was anything special I needed, and I added it to the boat's inventory.
As for spares, I've learned my lesson, and already carried an extra fresh water pump on the boat; they are simply an unreliable part. I also carry spare head parts, for sooner or later I'll probably need them, too. I carry lots of lube oil, and a full complement of filters. I plan to change the oil when due, so I also carry a container to keep the used oil in until I come to a proper disposal site.
The only new thing I added to the boat was a secure hasp for an existing cabinet, so that I could have Canada Customs seal it upon entry into Canada, and have it unsealed upon arrival in Ketchikan by a U.S. Customs man. In this way, I could take dinner wines through Canada for our use in Alaska without paying duty on them.
This was our third trip up, so I had accumulated a great set of charts for the areas through which we expected to pass. Managing all of them is a hassle, so I also made a portable chart cabinet, equipped with tab dividers to keep the charts in order. And then, I spent lots of time poring over them and talking with other experienced Alaska travelers to get all the cruising ideas we could.
Well, as I said, this was, I am hopeful, a great cruise! You can expect a full report.
In the meantime, happy ---- and safe ---- boating!
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Last updated 9/12/97 by SCR