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Seattle to Vancouver; suggestions please...

Discussion in 'Marinas & Waypoints' started by YachtForums, May 26, 2009.

  1. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Hi all,

    I'm touring several yards in the PacNW from June 16th to the 26th. Planning to stay in British Columbia over the weekend and hit Whistler for a white water rafting trip. Looking for suggestions on...


    1. Points of interest ranging from Portland, OR to Vancouver, BC driving I-5.

    2. White water rafting trip near Whistler, or surrounding area. (class 4)

    3. Would like to take a ferry trip. Which one is best, most scenic?


    Suggestions greatly appreciated and much needed. I'm a NW newbie!
  2. captain_jack

    captain_jack New Member

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    Ok, bust out your maps.

    The most scenic ferry ride you could take would be from Annacortes to the San Juan islands. This would be an all day type of trip, its a drive on ferry, so you take the car if you want, to drive around on some of the islands.

    The same ferry also continues on to Sydney, B.C., on Vancouver Island, where you could get a connecting ferry to Tsawwassen, B.C. which is 20 minutes south of Vancouver.

    If you are looking for a shorter trip, but still want the ferry experience, try the Mukilteo to Clinton ferry. From Clinton you could drive north on Whidbey Island, then loop back to the 5 freeway near Mount Vernon.

    Be aware that some ferries get very busy in the summer. Waits for the Mukilteo-Clinton run were more than 3 hours early in the day this past Friday.

    Here is a link to the Washington State ferry system website,
    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/
    you can make reservations on some of the boats, as well as view webcams from the loading areas.


    Not sure how you feel about volcanoes, but you will pass some significant ones on the way from Portland to Vancouver, including Mount Saint Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker and others. You may want to plan a stop somewhere and take in the scenery.

    If you are a fishing kinda guy, drive to the Ballard area of Seattle, which is home to the "Deadliest Catch" fleet, you might see some of the famous boats there.

    Local tour boats in Seattle also offer day trips around the area, this is a nice way to get a feel of the place, including some of the most expensive waterfront real estate in the country, like Bill Gates's property as well as Paul Allens place.
  3. Brian

    Brian Senior Member

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    The ferry trip from Horseshoe Bay to the Sunshine Coast is nice through Howe Sound leaving the snow capped coast mountains and sailing past islands to Langdale. Once on the other side, you could drive 10 min. to the village of Gibsons (did you ever wach the cheezie old TV show "Beachcombers"?). From there you could also carry on North through Sechelt and Pender Harbour to Earls Cove (one hour) and take another ferry(the brand new "Island Sky") to Powell River. You could then take a ferry over to Comox (Vancouver Island), drive down the old scenic Island Highway through communities collectively known as Oceanside to Naniamo, then ferry (another new ferry) back to Horseshoe Bay for a circle route (BC Ferries has a deal on this called Circle Pac to save 15% on fares. Look under travel planning on their site)...

    http://www.bcferries.com/
    http://www.bigpacific.com/
    http://www.discoverpowellriver.com/
    http://www.vancouverisland.com/Regions/towns/?townID=4061

    Honestly, I don't work for the tourist agency!
  4. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    WOW... Great info! Thank you VERY much for taking the time to respond. This is exactly what I need (and everyone needs)... first-hand local knowledge.

    OK, which one of you guys works for the Washington State Tourism Bureau? ;)
  5. Dan Evans

    Dan Evans Senior Member

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    Carl,
    I cant contribute as much info as the NW tour guides that have already posted here but there are a few things I have done in the NW that I would happily do again!

    I think Captain Jack is right about the San Juan Islands being the best ferry ride. I have never actually been on the ferry through there but I did stay and play in the islands for a while. If you have some time to kill whale watching is very popular there and if you are as lucky as me you will get to see some kayakers flipped by an Orca!

    There are forts scattered all over up there and since my dad is a big history buff we have been to almost all of them. Fort Casey was probably my personal favorite. It is on Whidbey Island, which, if you decide to explore you will also come across Deception pass which is breathtaking. Make sure you take your camera. The state park just south of Deception Pass is also something you dont want to miss.

    Another way to see the Seattle area is by air, Kenmore Air is everywhere in that area and they do some really great seaplane tours of the area. The tours leave out of Lake Union.

    As far as Canada goes, I have only spent a little time there but I did get dragged to Butchart Gardens and by the end of that trip I was glad I went! Imagine Butchart as if Disney had been a garden instead of a theme park. Butchart is between Sidney and Victoria and has a small dock in the bay on its north end that had some really nice tenders tied up while I was there just incase you wanted to do some spotting...

    Any clues as to what yards you are going to visit? There are so many in that area that I dont think a 10 day trip is long enough to see them all!

    Dan
  6. OutMyWindow

    OutMyWindow Senior Member

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    I’ve never gone white water rafting, but this site should help. Either way, just driving up to Whistler is a treat in it’s own right. Big Mountain scenery.
    http://www.whistler.com/rafting/


    Taking a car ferry from Seattle to Victoria is a nice trip although a whole day affair and may prove more trouble than worth.
    I would suggest flying over to Victoria from Seattle, rent a car once there and check out this great City, lots of British flair.
    If you go to Victoria, come back to Vancouver on the Swartz Bay – Tsawwassen Ferry route, that should satisfy all your Island scenery cravings and it’s only a 1: 35 minute long crossing.

    Once in Vancouver, head for Stanley Park, rent a bike on the corner of Burrard and Denman and ride along the seawall (this is a must) lots of Beaches, marine traffic and other type of scenic delights. You can easily burn off a whole afternoon doing that if you want.

    If it rains which is a strong possibility, stay in your Hotel, watch daytime dramas while eating take-out, and curse this dam rain forest location.
  7. OutMyWindow

    OutMyWindow Senior Member

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    Edit:
    Should read "Georgia and Denman"
  8. Brian

    Brian Senior Member

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    Good suggestion for the Swartz Bay to Tswassen ferry, right through the Gulf Islands & Active Pass (a real treat),
    Plan B is pretty funny... although I'd add in some good local beer!
  9. captain_jack

    captain_jack New Member

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    There is no automobile ferry running between Seattle and Victoria.

    There is a high speed passenger only ferry that operates between the two ports.

    Car ferries to Victoria, B.C. depart from two places, Annacortes, and Port Angeles, WA.

    _____________________________________________________________

    You did'nt mention what boatyards you will be visiting. Washington state has many, from Christensen megayachts to Bayliner runabouts, do you know what yards you will be visiting, and in what areas ?

    There are some noteable shipyards on the Washington coast, in the Westport and Aberdeen areas.
    Are you stopping out there ? The highway north from there runs all the way around the Olympic Peninsula, and is quite scenic, with some gigantic trees within short walking distance of the car, as well as our ocean beaches, so that might be an option if you get out that direction.
  10. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Again, great info and a BIG thank you to Jack, Brian, Peter and Dan for posting! At this point, I have tickets, a rental car and a map, but I'm wingin' it a little on the schedule. Here's the short list of yards I'm visiting...

    Christensen
    Delta
    Nordlund
    Northcoast
    LeClerq
    Westport
    Richmond
    Rayburn
    Crescent/Queenship

    If time permits, there are other yards I might visit along the way, but I also want to make time for the one place I've always wanted to see... the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The drive to Whistler tops the list. The white water rafting thing is still questionable. In my book, if a boat needs a paddle... then something has gone wrong.
  11. GFC

    GFC Senior Member

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    If time permits and you'd like a "three hour cruise" on the Columbia or Snake Rivers just let me know. We're in Pasco, WA, about 5 miles upstream on the Columbia from where the Snake meets it.

    You'd be boating in a desert area which most people don't expect to see in the PNW.

    46.11.37N, 119.02.05W

    GFC
  12. captain_jack

    captain_jack New Member

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    Nice list !
    I hope you're bringing a camera with you.
  13. Brian

    Brian Senior Member

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    Sounds good Carl,
    A few things;
    -Does Northcoast still have a facility in Wa? I thought they moved operations to China.
    -If you're going to visit Richmont Yachts might I suggest calling or visiting Bracewell Boatworks. They are just a few blocks away and there's a pub next door right on the Fraser River.
    -Im sure there are many cruises in Vancouver like this...
    http://www.boatcruises.com/
    -The Sea to Sky Highway (Vancouver to Whistler) has been going through a multi year upgrade in preperations for the 2010 Olympics so you will be treated to a much upgraded highway.
    -When in Vancouver you should check out the marinas at Coal Harbour (smile as Outmywindow will no doubt catch you in his lense), False Creek and Granville Island. They are all pretty close.
    Hope the sun shines when you're here!
  14. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    The Northcoast visit isn't to tour the yard. Which reminds me, I need to remove their listing from YF's splash page.
    He'd probably add me to the wildlife in his thread!
    Hey, I'm from Florida. I've had enough sunshine to last a lifetime! Let it rain... :)
  15. Brian

    Brian Senior Member

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    Be carefull what you wish for!
    Another thought, search the web for "Vancouver float planes". That would be a fun way to see our area. Some leave from right downtown and offer sightseeing flights.
  16. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    If you find yourself stuck in Seattle for a few hours and get a hankering for seafood, I highly recommend Shuckers at 4th & University (downtown).
    An old fashioned, clubby kinda joint where they serve the Rybovich of the oyster world: Miyagis.
  17. Dan Evans

    Dan Evans Senior Member

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    Okay now you just made everyone here jealous. I tried to get a tour set up through Jay Minor at Delta last summer but he was out of town. You will get to see the new facilities and maybe their new projects if they have been started yet. Beautiful yard, just dont get lost since the area around Delta isnt the most friendly.

    Across the river from Delta is Boeing field and they have a nice museum with Reagans Air Force One and some others, a Concorde too I beleive.

    In the Seattle area my favorite places to eat are Red Robin and Anthonys (both on the Seattle waterfront) and McCormicks grill (Lake Union).

    Make sure you also go to Pikes market and watch them scare old ladies with flying fish, if you are brave enough they will throw one to you. Word of advice...catch the fish! Nothing to ruin your day like 10 pounds of dead smelly fish meat in your face.

    Nordlund has a project that is nearing completion. It was still a convertable yacht when I saw it but the top should be on by now:) They also have a large project on hold that may now be for sale. Make sure you ask Gary and Paul where Pick-Quicks burger is so you can get a shake on your way out of Tacoma! Peope in the NW say that those are the best burgers you can get...HA! Just ask anyone in the SW about In-N-Out!

    Another point of interest that you may like to see, if you have the time, is Townsend Bay Marine. Its in Port Townsend which is east of Port Angeles so if you are going to that Westport location it may be worth your trip. TBM is working on a BIG project that I beleive is worthy of a YF feature if the owners and yard agree. I beleive that there is a higher-up in that company that frequents YF but I have no idea who it may be. Maybe if he reads this he can set you up with a tour. If not and you would like one let me know and I can arrange it.

    The Edmons-Kingston ferry gives you a shortcut between Seattle and Port Townsend/Port Angeles. If you are traveling to Port Angeles and leaving to Canada from there this ferry would cut your time significantly. I know Blackball ferries leave from Port Angeles and if you take that route to Canada make sure you check out the pilot boats at end of the breakwater (port side as you leave PA) they are Nordlund/Nolan creations.

    I fear that if we keep throwing ideas at you your trip will go from 10 days to a month! Let me know if you need someone to carry your bags/drive you around/tag along;)

    Dan
  18. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    It seems I opened a vast knowledge vault. As part of my pre-trip nuptials, I spent this past weekend quizzing Google on how to get perfectly lost in the NW, while finding myself at the same time. The results paled compared to the information in this thread. Again, MANY thanks!

    So much to see! So little time… :(
  19. Dan Evans

    Dan Evans Senior Member

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    Last time I was in Washington I was there for a friends birthday just for the weekend...a week and a half later I finally headed home:D Its my favorite place to be, as you have probably guessed from the essays I have now written on this thread!

    Will you be sharing pictures when you get back?
  20. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Most definitely! 'Twas planning to upload a few each night, but will most likely enjoy some time away from the keyboard. Although this is a biz-trip, come hell or high water, I'm getting on a raft and letting it rip. Ain't nuttin' like that in these parts!

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