The best information will make or break the trip; it separates those who are deliberate and thoughtful from those who rely upon luck and their abilities at the moment. However, do not over-plan this adventure by creating a day-by-day schedule. Running on a schedule is the surest way to be disappointed, be stressed and will make you do things that will be regretted. Information sources that we used includes guidebooks and maps, electronic sources and people sources
Guidebooks and Maps
These two volumes of the Marine Atlas provides the essential paper versions of what is needed. Tip: Like all the guidebooks that follow, take these to Staples have the binding cut and have them spiral bound so the pages will lay flat.
These two strip charts will take 1,400 miles and make it understandable in a big view.
The current year's Waggoner Cruising Guide is a have-to will take you to Ketchikan. The current year's Ports and Passages is a reference for currents and tides and even if chart plotter source is used, this is good as a backup and to cross-check the information.
The Douglass book on Exploring Southeast Alaska is essential and a good companion to Charlie's Charts. Use both of these provided a good full picture. Douglass has books on the other parts of the Inside Passage but we did not have them.
Research the trips of others. We had the day-to-day spreadsheet of trips done by others and we had interviewed other cruisers, taken notes and compiled those.
Talk to people at the marinas about where you are going and ask questions about their highlights, where to go, and what worked for them.
Chartplotter goes without saying. We run two back-ups with Navionics running on our iPhones and on the iPad and this app includes tide and current information that is essential to know.
AIS (automated identification system) provides real-time position and speed of other vessels. Go the extra step and transmit your position and speed to others. Why? The faster vessels can plan for you, there are fewer surprises when visibility is bad or there is a sharp turn, and your support team can also find you.
PredictWind is an app for the mobile device that provides great graphics and information on wind. However, without cell service all Internet applications will not function.
VHF Radio Weather: Both NOAA and Environment Canada provide a good resource and coverage is typically very good. There are spots in northern BC and Alaska that even this reception will be blocked.
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