Desolation Sound is a peaceful area with dramatic views of the surrounding mountains ascending from the sea. The mornings are often mirror calm with a good sailing breeze in the afternoon. This makes for a nice relaxed start followed by a fun sail in protected waters. This area is popular to sail and swim during July and August and in May, June or September – the crowds are gone and the water is warm enough to enjoy your swim. People come here to relax, sail and enjoy the stunning scenery.
The Gulf Islands stretch along the inside of Vancouver Island. The area is close to Vancouver and relatively dry during the summer so it’s no surprise that it is popular. You will experience a well developed cruising area with all the amenities – marinas, restaurants, pubs, farmer’s markets and delightful island communities. The Gulf Islands anchorages are scenic with lots shell beaches and sandstone formations topped with Arbutus and Garry Oak trees.
The Sunshine Coast is serviced by roads and ferries from Vancouver, Powell River and the Comox Valley. There are towns and small settlements scattered along its length with a good number of isolated anchorages. Princess Louisa Inlet is probably the most well known boating destination with Chatterbox Falls at its head. The Sunshine Coast also includes Texada, Jedediah, Lasqueti, and Savary islands – all which lie in the Strait of Georgia between Sunshine Coast, Powell River and Vancouver Island. The area boasts several marine parks including Jedediah Island with its orchards, wild sheep and goats from earlier homesteading days, Copeland Islands Marine Park and MiddleNatch Island nature reserve and gull colony. These islands are very pretty and have a multitude of small anchorages where one can stretch your legs on walking trails to viewpoints.
Discovery Islands – Cortes and Quadra Islands
The Discovery Islands lie between Desolation Sound and surround Quadra and Cortes Island including Read, Maurelle and Sonora Islands. Quadra and Cortes offer calm anchorages near Desolation Sound. The other Discovery Islands are known for tidal rapids which have earned a healthy respect from all mariners. This is a very pretty group of islands with quiet anchorages and convoluted passages that must be traversed with tide book in hand. Sailing these waters can be challenging navigation but always well worth the trip.
The Broughton’s Group
The Broughton Archipelago and surrounding islands are rich with wildlife and indigenous culture and history. It boasts BC largest marine park and the myriad of islands between Johnstone Straits and Queen Charlotte Strait make it popular for sailing, kayaking, fishing and boating. Whales, porpoises, bears, sea lions and eagles can be sighted daily. Even sea otters are making a comeback in the area. Nearby Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Sointula or Alert Bay make for convenient stops to re-provision before making the journey north to the Central Coast.
The West Coast is a wild and rugged place totally exposed to the open Pacific Ocean. This is an area for the experienced sailor. During the day you will experience challenging wind and wave conditions from across the ocean. Then at night, hole up in a protected bay to contemplate whether your character is fully developed yet (challenges are said to be character building!!). This is a coast of exposed beaches, long rocky headlands and anchorages that are usually empty. There are few communities and one must be fully prepared to be tested and rewarded by nature on a daily basis.
Great Bear Rain Forest and Central Coast
The Central Coast is home to the Great Bear Rain Forest, deserted anchorages and long sandy beaches where the only foot prints are bear, wolf and sea life. You can go days without seeing another person or vessel and spend a lifetime exploring the nooks and crannies of the Hakai protected marine area. We are just beginning to explore this untouched coast and have fallen in love with its breathtaking beauty and wilderness.