We have been working our way up the east coast of Vancouver Island these last few days and what a ride it has been! We have had overall great weather with steady winds at times, warm temperatures, wildlife sightings and met many of friendly people. Here is a recap of the last few days...
After checking in with customs in Sidney (which turned out to only be a phone call at the end of a dock), we made our way up into the Gulf Islands and found a great anchorage near Saltspring Island. The next morning we cruised through the Gulf Islands, which were completely beautiful. The weather was warm and winds were calm. To get to Nanaimo, we had to exit the Gulf Islands through one of 3 passages. Based on our timing and the currents, we decided to go through Portlier Pass into the Strait of Georgia. The rapids were running and we hit some pretty large waves where the pass hits the strait. The winds picked up and we had quite the ride up to Nanaimo, where we anchored for the night.
The next morning we woke up around 4:30am to catch the flood tide up the Strait of Georgia. The sunrise was beautiful and winds picked up as the sun got stronger. We sailed our way up to Comox and spent the night in the harbor.
It was another early morning out of Comox toward Desolation Sound, but it was well worth it! Desolation sound is a cruisers heaven. In fact, we anchored in a bay called Prideaux Haven and it was incredible. It is composed of many little islands that create several bays that are deep and large enough for many boats to anchor. The British Columbia Coast Range mountains were surrounding our views in every way, the water was warm enough to swim in, and the other people anchoring in the bay were incredibly friendly. We were able to paddle around in the kayak, swim in the water and enjoy the warm weather. If we had the time, we would have easily spent days at that anchorage!
We took off from Prideaux Haven yesterday morning to cruise through Desolation Sound and through a series of channels and rapids. As soon as we left Prideaux Haven, we felt the isolation sinking in and finally, truly, felt like we were alone. It was a peaceful and incredibly beautiful day. Our route took us through Waddington Channel, Price Channel, Calm Channel, Cordero Channel, where we hit the Yuklata and Dent Rapids at slack water, and then ultimately we found ourselves at the Blind Channel Resort in Mayne Passage. Warm showers, ice, water and fuel were all welcome treats. Boaters seem to be a very talkative bunch, and we found ourselves chatting with our neighbor in the slip next to us for a couple hours over wine and bourbon. This morning we woke up in time to hit the Green Point Rapids at slack tide and then followed the Chancellor Channel through Wellbore Channl and then into the Johnstone Strait. It drizzled on and off all day, but the winds didn't pick up until we hit the Johnstone Strait, where we raised the sails and took the southerlies all the way to Port McNeill. At one point around 4:30 today, I looked over the bow and saw a large splash! We have been patiently waiting for a whale sighting and we finally got our show. A large humpback whale played around in front of us for about 20 minutes, breaching, waving, bobbing up and down, it was incredible- such a great way to end a very long day!