About The Pacific Northwest
Roughly 10,000 years ago, everyone now living in the Pacific NW received a priceless gift. Vast parapets of glacial ice, hundreds of feet thick and millions of years in the making, began to recede. As the luminous blue walls calved and retreated, deep caverns emerged between isolated mountain tops. The ocean flooded in to fill the void, and created the inland waters we now call Puget Sound. The mountaintops became islands, none more than a few miles from the next. The waters teemed with life, and while the earliest human inhabitants here may have lived on land, they lived from and by the sea.
Our Pacific NW seascape, prevailing throughout the NW portion of the most NW of the contiguous states, actually extends hundreds of miles north of our international border with Canada and into SE Alaska. Some now refer to the entire region as “The Salish Sea”, honoring ancient sea people who lived here and spoke dialects of the Salish language group. Residents of the Pacific NW, by choice or by accident of birth, all happen to live on the shores of some of the most fantastic boating waters on Planet Earth.
Favored recreational boating areas include Puget Sound, generally protected from Pacific storms by the Olympic Peninsula. Immediately north, the San Juan Islands are similarly sheltered by Vancouver Island. These leeward conditions, and winters with often only a few days below freezing, permit more people to enjoy boating on more days and in more ways than nearly anywhere else.
We live in an environment where the vision of cobalt blue waters lapping against forested emerald shores, (before a backdrop of snow capped crags and peaks), is considered, “typical” scenery. It can be convincingly argued that no boating environment is more magnificent than the Pacific NW.
The priceless gift includes a blank slate for each and every one of us who love the smell of salt air and the eternal, rhythmic, heartbeat of the sea. We each can create our own private recreational universe here, and fill it with those things and activities we consider beautiful and appealing. Trolling for salmon as the first pale rays of autumn sunlight begin leaking over the Cascades? A pampered weekend in a resort marina, with a 4-star restaurant at the head of the gangway? Beachcombing through piles of sun-bleached drift? A summer afternoon, anchored in a forested cove, lazing in the warm sun with a good book and a cool beverage? Shopping the farmer’s market at a quaint, waterfront village? All those adventures and more await us as we go cruising in the Pacific NW.
There is almost no “wrong” way to enjoy our priceless gift. Big boat, small boat, powerboat, sailboat, new boat, old boat…even a chartered boat will do. The only mistake one could make would be to ignore the opportunity to fish, crab, explore, and socialize on Pacific NW waters. It’s never too late to get started. Dreams and wishes can become precious memories in these latitudes; just add water. Those of us who take advantage of our priceless gift and pursue the boating pastime in the Pacific NW soon discover we have a lot in common with the ancient peoples who first settled here thousands of years ago. We may reside on land, but our lives are substantially improved and defined by our relationship with the sea.