Princess Louisa was without a doubt the high of our first summer cruising together on Summer Breeze. A little more than a month after setting out through the Puget Sound, San Juan Islands and Gulf Islands of Canada we met in up with friends and fellow sailors from Olympia and became part of a flotilla to the end of Princess Louisa Inlet.
Our group consisted of Myra and Joe on Balder 2, their friends and temporary shipmates Rick and Sue, Rich and Michelle on Pen Oziequah, and Gary and Deeva on Sidetrack.
We headed out together on the morning of August 29th from Nanaimo, crossed the Strait of Georgia (long trek!) and headed up Agememnon Channel to Back Eddy Marina in Eggmont, where we paid a hefty sum to dock with no amenities. After dinner at their restaurant/bar (above) we piled into Sidetrack for a rousing game of Farkle!
The next morning we timed our departure so that we would arrive at the entrance of Malibu Rapids just before slack tide. This is the very narrow and fast running opening to Princess Louisa inlet. This narrow and shallow S-shaped channel flows up to 9 knots during peak flow. We shot our way through while the current was moving a fair bit slower!
Backing up… it was an incredible morning just getting there. We had a perfect breeze for sailing most of the way up Jervis Inlet and arrived at Malibu Rapids ahead of schedule. John was having so much fun he just kept sailing around while we waited. We were surrounded by mountains and sunshine the whole way!
Getting through Malibu Rapids wasn’t so hard, but it did require a steady head and hand at the helm and watchful eyes in all directions. Once we passed through… the incredible landscape only got better! The images speak for themselves, and we consider ourselves amongst the lucky ones to have experienced this majesty.
The remainder of our day was spent exploring the shoreline and Chatterbox falls from land and sea (we dropped dinghy and kayak in the water shortly after docking). After dinner we joined the gang for another highly spirited (I’m talking about you Myra! 🤣) game of Farkle!
The following morning we woke to discover it wasn’t a dream! Princess Louisa Inlet really does exist and it really is that beautiful! We set out for a water excursion… me in the kayak, John and Sadie in the dinghy… back down the inlet to McDonough Island. We went ashore adjacent to the island for a bit of hiking.
There was one solo Great Blue Heron sharing the dock with us while we were there. This is how he spent much of his time… watching patiently through the larger gaps in the dock in hopes of a meal. I never did witness him catching fish this way but he must have at some point cuz he kept right on doing it!
Shortly after our water excursion John and I set out to hike (scrambled is more the reality) up to an old trappers cabin. We’d spoken to several people on the dock who had started the trek only to turn around midway. The repeated tales about the trail made us curious, and of course we had to rise to the challenge. It’s a 5 mile round trip with and elevation gain of 2641 feet. What made it challenging is there was really not much of a trail per say, and because of that we found ourselves having to turn back several times to find the slightly worn route again. It was also wet and often very steep. Most of the hike was spent pulling ourselves up the inclines by roots and branches and rocks, always checking to make sure it was secure enough to bare our weight.
We were contemplating having to turn back in order to reach the bottom before dark when we stepped out at an overlook with an incredible view down the inlet. After catching our breath and taking some pictures we turned around to see the trappers cabin just down the hill from the trail in the deep shade of the woods. At this point it’s nothing more than a pile of logs so it’s no wonder we didn’t see it.
The following morning we left dock in the dark and headed back down the inlet. Needless to say it was a day filled with beauty. And to top off a great adventure we came upon some Humpback Whales as we neared Egmont Point!
Soon after our Humpback siting we all docked for the night in Pender Harbor where we enjoyed real showers, did laundry and restocked on provisions. In the morning we parted ways with our flotilla. As they headed south toward home in Olympia, we turned north for more adventures. We spent another three weeks afloat, cruising around more of the Canadian Islands and back into the San Juans before ending our summer journey in Bellingham. Those adventures are yet to come so stay tuned! (Or sign up for email notifications of my infrequent posts at the envelope icon on this page.)