Exploring the Pacific Coast—San Diego to Seattle

Second Edition

Published Reviews


Northwest Yachting Bookshelf

It seems that for as long as you boat in the Pacific Northwest, you always hear the same question: What is the best way to go up (or down) the coast?

For those of us who started boating and navigating offshore using only a sextant or an RDF, the prudent way to transit the "Graveyard of the Pacific" was always to head offshore until the water got blue or about 150 miles, whichever came first. Luckily our friends Don and Réanne Hemingway- Douglass decided there had to be a better way.

Over the years, Don and Réanne have racked up over 150,000 miles of cruising experience and that alone should get your attention. Not only that, they have compiled this knowledge in a series of fascinating and extremely detailed and informative cruising guides. . . . exhaustively researched right down to doing their own soundings and creating their own diagrams of less used passages and anchorages. In addition, Don and Réanne provide the reader with their own insights developed from their years of experience that make reading these guides a treat and the main reason I keep a set at home, in addition to on the boat. You can never remember it all and they are just plain fun to have at your fingertips when cruising questions come up at dinner or over cocktails.

As with all the Douglass' books, Exploring the Pacific Coast - San Diego to Seattle is thoughtfully laid out and gives the mariner detailed instructions on the best way to use the book, as well as what assumptions have been made by the authors when it comes to the charts and equipment you should have aboard for a trip like this. And this is just for starters.

This is the first book of its type that provides not only detailed harbor information but routing options as well. The harbor diagrams are neatly laid out in successive layers of information, starting with Route diagrams, through Approach and Entrance diagrams, ending with Harbor diagrams. Plus each harbor is nicely detailed right down to a description of the expected holding power of the bottom you're likely to encounter when you anchor.

Included on these charts are waypoints labeled in shorthand with the Lat/Lon for each point on the page. In addition, you have arrows indicating the directions to various destinations with their GPS waypoints—1200 of them. This means that if you have plotting software on your home computer, you can easily map out your route with ETAs, time in route and much, much more, all adapted to your vessel. And all in the comfort of your home so you won't have to waste time on the boat figuring all that stuff out when a million other things are begging for your attention.

The best part of this great new book is that the Douglass' have taken what used to be a dreaded sea voyage and broken it down into a series of easily doable day trips. Gone are days when the trip from Seattle to San Francisco was an endurance run with long watches. In this modern era with this book, the proper equipment, and proper planning, the voyage becomes one of fun and adventure. Plus you get to see some great little harbors that, for the most part, we used to just skip over preferring instead to stand long watches, eat in shifts, and forget about showers if the weather was bad. Not any more. This trip just got much more enjoyable.

Suffice it to say, the Douglass' have done it again. This is the perfect book to add to your mariners' bookshelf this holiday season. Better yet, you'd better buy two—one for the boat and one for the coffee table. If you're thinking about going up or down our coast this is a must-have item

Guide Review
September - October, 2002

When it comes to cruising, there’s no such thing as having too much information. So for anyone thinking of cruising the Pacific Coast, this guide is a must-have. It’s based on three years of on the- water research by veteran cruisers Don Douglass and Réanne Hemingway- Douglass, together with Kevin Monahan.

There’s no question that the Douglass’ know their stuff. They have over 150,000 miles of cruising experience and have authored best selling mariner’s guide books from Southeast Alaska through British Columbia and Puget Sound.

The result of all this experience is the most comprehensive guidebook available covering the U.S. western coastline. According to the cover, there are 1,200 anchor sites, 2,500 GPS waypoints, hundreds of detailed diagrams and photos, plus expert local knowledge. We didn’t count them, but it definitely includes every port, cove and anchorage, providing great charts, advice, descriptions of approaches and what you’ll encounter there. All this is backed up with pictures and aerial views. There’s also plenty of historical information and personal anecdotes both by the authors and others, to make it an interesting read and get you fired up about visiting every spot mentioned in the guide. In fact, it makes a very favorable argument for making the trip up or down the coast in day-long hops, and provides all the routes and Lat/Long waypoints.

For those in more of a hurry, this guide also provides two more routes, offshore and the express route, which is crab pot free and favored by delivery and tugboat captains.

Whichever route you choose, or perhaps a portion of each, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to plan and execute your cruise of the Pacific Coast as safely and comfortably as possible. And unlike some guides, they don’t scare you to death in the process. For example, when they cover Pt. Conception, known as the “Cape Horn of the Pacific,” they conclude that its reputation is highly exaggerated.




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