Sailing the Canadian Islands

After farewells and good wishes to the rest of our Princess Louisa flotilla, we turned toward Desolation Sound roughly 50 nautical miles to the north, pretty much requiring a stop along the way. The west facing harbour of Lund was that stop. The only moorage available was the breakwater in the middle of the bay, but it was cheap… and the best view in town! With no access to shore, John first rowed Sadie in for a break, and then rowed me in for some refreshments.

British Columbia, Canada

Sunset from Summer Breeze at mooring float in Lund Harbour

British Columbia, Canada

John and Sadie at dock in Lund

In the morning, after restocking some provisions, we headed north toward our destination… Desolation Sound. It was our understanding that this area is incredibly beautiful and surrounded by mountains, so we were really looking forward to this leg of our journey. Our route took us between the western coast of British Columbia and the Copeland Islands. As we neared the turning point into the sound the excitement rose, but as we turned the point our hearts sank. We just looked at each other and shook our heads. What should have been a view of numerous islands backed by majestic mountains was nothing but a thick layer of smoke.This really didn’t come as a huge surprise since most of our summer journey had been effected by smoke and we’d been told there was an uncontrolled fire burning on an island in the sound. In no time I was coughing, and after coming so far it was incredibly disappointing to turn back, but that’s what we did. Next year, in the spring when things are green and fresh, this will be one of our first destinations. (With another visit to Princess Louisa Inlet along the way.)

British Columbia, Canada

Desolation Sound filled with smoke from wildfires

We cruised back down to Copeland Islands Marine Park in search of a place to anchor for the night. After the disappointment of Desolation Sound we were feeling smug and lucky when we scored a quiet little cove all to ourselves. Once settled we rowed ashore to check out “our island”. John was settling Zephyr in on our off shore anchoring system while Sadie and I hiked up the hill. We didn’t make it far before we were accosted by a swarm of mosquitos… all of them hungry!  I was too busy swatting at the tenacious little monsters to pull out my camera, but John managed to get a shot our of “camp site” while I distracted the swarm. Thankfully only a few of the blood suckers made it back to the boat with us. I spent the rest of the evening swatting them, listening for that high pitched buzz, and paranoid that some were hiding… just waiting for me lay down and turn out the light. I’m not kidding… they seek me out! It was my mission (and John’s assigned mission) to make sure they were all dead before bed!

Copeland Islands, British Columbia, Canada

Sadie, Zephyr and Summer Breeze- photo credit John Thompson

British Columbia, Canada

Summer Breeze at Copeland Islands

Copeland Islands, British Columbia, Canada

Kingfisher

In re-planning our route we chose Hardy Island Marine Park as our next destination. We had enough wind to put the sail up for part of our journey back south… the best medicine for the dampened spirit of our skipper. We found a quiet bay to anchor in and dropped the dinghy and kayak in the water… with John and Sadie in their usual places in Zephyr and me in the kayak we set out to see what we might see…

British Columbia, Canada

Cairns on the banks of Hardy Island

British Columbia, Canada

Rock cairns, Hardy Island

British Columbia, Canada

John rowing Zephyr, Hardy Island Marine Park

British Columbia, Canada

Hardy Island Marine Park

The shoreline is very rocky making it difficult to land our wooden dinghy, but we managed to find a comfortable spot and took Sadie ashore to explore the island. On the far side we found a comfortable spot for her arthritic old limbs to get in and out of the water. The moment I picked up a stick she was acting like a pup!

Sadie…

I really loved the shoreline here… the rocks, and the marine life! This curious seal seemed to follow me around… popping his head out of the water from time to time just to see what I was up to. And then there was the silly gull who seemed to have bit off more than he could chew.

Hardy Island Marine Park, British Columbia, Canada

Curious seal

Hardy Island Marine Park, British Columbia, Canada

Sea gull dining on starfish

Hardy Island Marine Park, British Columbia, Canada

Colorful starfish

Hardy Island Marine Park, British Columbia, Canada

Starfish

British Columbia, Canada

Rocky shoreline at Hardy Island Marine Park

British Columbia, Canada

Shoreline, Hardy Island Marine Park

British Columbia, Canada

startled gull takes flight

British Columbia, Canada

Colorful shoreline, Hardy Island Marine Park

Without a doubt my favorite picture of John in Zephyr to date! Designing and building this boat (along with dagger board, rudder, mast and boom) was a big bucket-list item for him. I was happy to be a part of the build, but it was his baby all the way, and he rightfully rows her with pride. Truly a job well done.

Hardy Island Marine Park, British Columbia, Canada

A man and his boat!

British Columbia, Canada

Summer Breeze at anchor in Hardy Island Marine Park

My peeps

From Hardy Island we headed back up Jervis Inlet, where John found enough wind to throw up the sail. Next destination was Harmony Islands where we managed to find a comfortable place to anchor in a narrow channel amongst numerous other boats. We managed to get out for a row in Zephyr. It’s a pretty spot, but with limited shore access and somewhat crowded conditions we chose to stay only one night.

British Columbia, Canada

Jervis Inlet

British Columbia, Canada

Harmony Islands

Sadie… waiting for what’s next

From there we headed back to Egmont in preparation for a journey up Sechelt Inlet. Like Princess Louisa, to get there you have to cross rapids. The infamous Sechelt Rapids are much wider than Malibu Rapids, but run much faster. Here the current speeds can reach 16 knots, making it a popular spot for kayakers who travel great distances to ride the standing waves.

Did I mention the rain? Yeah… it was pouring rain by the time we arrived Egmont. We grabbed a slip for the night at Bathgate Marina where we were able to restock and do laundry. And, with the exception of a rainbow break or two, it kept right on raining…

British Columbia, Canada

Rustic scene near Egmont

Did I mention the rain? Yeah... it was pouring rain by the time we arrived Egmont. We grabbed a slip for the night at Bathgate Marina where we were able to restock and do laundry.

A break in the rain at Egmont

British Columbia, Canada

Looking toward Jervis Inlet from Egmont area

While there we hiked about 2.5 miles to a view point over the rapids at a time when the water was flowing fully. Lots of kayakers were there enjoying their sport. They were fun to watch, and seeing the water running and swirling reminded us the importance of dashing through during slack water.

British Columbia, Canada

Kayaker riding a standing wave at Sechelt Rapids

British Columbia, Canada

Kayaker at Sechelt Rapids

British Columbia, Canada

Kayakers and onlookers at Sechelt Rapids

The following morning we set out at our planned time to hit the rapids when the current was running slowest at slack tide. It was STILL pouring rain. From there we took a long wet cruise to and up Salmon Inlet to… the most appropriately named (for our visit)… Misery Cove!

Rain, rain, go away!

Misery Cove, Salmon Inlet, British Columbia, Canada

John rowing Sadie in for a potty break in the rain

Salmon Inlet, British Columbia, Canada

A break in the rain

After a few days in Sechelt Inlet we timed our return through the rapids and headed back to Pender Harbour where we anchored for the night in preparation for crossing Malispina Strait… destination Jedediah Island. That’s up next, along with a few more Canadian and US islands enroute to the conclusion of our summer voyage. Stay tuned for more stories and a lot more beauty!

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