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The Inside Passage is the preferred route for yachtsmen who want to explore Washington state, Canada and Alaska. The passage stretches from Olympia, Washington, past Seattle and north to the San Juan and Gulf islands, where Canadian waters take over, unveiling an additional 25,000 miles of diverse shoreline that encompasses rock cliffs and sandy beaches.

Picturesque deepwater anchorages, thousands of islands, bays and majestic fjords are wonderful for spotting bears, whales, wildlife and sealife of all kinds. Though it’s easy to find remote anchorages with no other vessel in sight for miles, it’s just as easy to find world-class resorts, hire fly- and salmon-fishing guides, or take flight for backcountry helicopter skiing in the Coast Mountains range.

Then again, the point of cruising in a destination like this one is sometimes just to relax and soak up the serene beauty of an anchorage surrounded by a blanket of evergreen trees perched on peaks towering thousands of feet above.

This story, told in photographs, is a journey that explores just a few of the rich sights, colors and textures of a region that ranks among the world’s finest for yachtsmen who want to cruise amid unspoiled natural beauty.

Welcome to the Inside Passage, the thread that connects the great Pacific Northwest.