Trailer Boating in Alaska

A trailer boating adventure in Alaska that proves to be efficient and fun.

We're just north of Seattle, have a week off, and want to cruise southeastern Alaska. Normally that would mean a long slog offshore to get there and back, with little time left over to actually be in Alaskan waters. Not an efficient use of our limited time. So we said to hell with bouncing around in the Pacific and decided to hit the smooth straight highways north.

I'm a huge fan of trailer cruising. Instead of spending most of your vacation getting to where you want to go (and then back), you get to your destination quickly, comfortably, and use less fuel. Even if you have a big boat like our 8,000-pound, 28' Aspen Power Catamaran with its 10' beam, all it takes is a good tow vehicle and an easy-to-get $10 wide-load permit.

Our plan is to trailer across the border into British Columbia, follow the scenic Fraser River Canyon north until we can make a left towards our launch site at Prince Rupert--the literal end of the road and a mere 30 miles from Alaska. The trip takes a day and a half, and we'll sleep and dine in the boat at an RV camp for the one overnight. We'll leave Friday right after work and get home late on a Sunday evening, giving us nine full days, six of them in Alaska. If we did it all by water it would have been reversed: about six days up-and-back (weather permitting), and three there. That's why I love my trailer.

Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

Larry, Peter, and me, with snow on the mountains in June.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

The rig looks unwieldy, but Larry’s Chevy 2500 ¾ ton diesel pickup had no trouble. Even on winding mountain roads we averaged 10.5 mpg. A faster and efficient way to cover ground.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

There were horror stories about bad roads, but all were in great shape. Over an 8'6" beam you need a wide-load permit which we took care of online.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

We brought our motel room with us.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

We tried using the swim ladder to get up on the boat, but it was way too hard. So we brought along this 10' Home Depot special.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

The nice thing about a catamaran is that there's plenty of room on the aluminum trailer (a $9,200 option) to stow the ladder.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

Free launching at Prince Rupert, with secure parking at the municipal dock for the truck and trailer while we were away.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

We had unusual weather the whole time. It was sunny and clear. Days were in the fifties, nights in the forties. Glad the cabin was heated.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

Alaska, and surprisingly calm waters--good for spotting debris from Japan’s tsunami. The shaft and prop are well protected from the occasional bump.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

Cruising comfortably at 16 knots with the single Volvo Penta 150 bhp diesel sipping fuel at 3 mpg. Good thing we had the range, as gas docks are pretty rare up here.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

White puffy clouds are as rare as manatees in southeastern Alaska.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

Port Simpson, a typical remote settlement based on fishing.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

There's one of these in every settlement.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

No roads in or out of this town, you've got to have a boat, and everyone does.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

There are weird things living under our keels, like this sun starfish.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

Our crab trap also caught Dungeness crabs.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

Fresh crab and salmon every night.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

Digging for clams in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

Ashore to explore places few boaters have tread.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

With about 16' of rain per year, moss grows on everything.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

If you're going to be a tree hugger, pick a big one.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

Larry's big butt. We all ate too well, and far too often.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

The other way to get around in southeastern Alaska is by float plane, so we gave it a try.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

We were down there the day before. Nice to get another perspective.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

One of the few other boats we ran into. Can't imagine getting up here under sail.Peter Robson and David Seidman
Trailer Boating in Alaska

Trailer Boating in Alaska

No one could explain what this is. The locals around Ketchikan think its part of a covert submarine base. Our depth sounder went berserk and Google Earth always shows clouds over the spot. Spooky.Peter Robson and David Seidman