Desolation Sound is the one locale that everyone agrees is the most stunningly beautiful place on the west coast of British Colombia. “Have you been to Desolation Sound yet?” is always the first question we are asked when people hear that we are cruising in BC. Obviously we couldn’t miss it! We were visiting in late April so we were confident that we would have the area mostly to ourselves (unlike July and August when there can be up to seven boats in just one anchorage!) but we had to keep our fingers crossed for good weather.
It took us three days of leisurely cruising to get from Jervis Inlet to the top of the Strait of Georgia. We stopped at Sturt Bay on Texada Island which was peaceful and gloriously sunny when we arrived. We watched two seals sunbathing in the shallow water at the mouth of the bay; it was hilarious to watch them lifting their flippers into the air to catch the rays. Next morning the wind turned to the southeast and the swell came into the bay so we were glad to be leaving and had a beautiful sail up to the small settlement of Lund.
I have learned to curb my expectations of the general stores in these small burgs. The cruising guide talks them up a storm and I’m sure they are stuffed with delights in the high season, but at this time of year barely a carrot was to be found. Having said that, Nancy’s Bakery in Lund did made magical cinnamon buns.
Our first stop in Desolation Sound was Tenedos Inlet. For some reason I cannot fathom, most of the bays here have narrow, shallow, rocky entrances and the inner bay of Tenedos Inlet was a good one. We navigated through and had the lovely anchorage completely to ourselves – perfect. The next day was bright and sunny and we had a long walk around Unwin Lake which lies at the head of the inlet. We took the trail further along a chain of lakes but there had been a lot of blowdown and trees and branches had fallen across the path. We clambered on for a while, cutting a trail with the parang but eventually gave it up before we got completely lost!
That afternoon we moved around to Prideaux Haven – the jewel in the crown of Desolation Sound anchorages. It was another tight squeeze to get in but once inside we found a beautiful sheltered spot to drop the anchor and stay for a few days. We were very lucky with the weather and had a clear view of the mountains with barely a cloud, then out of the blue it started hailing. It only lasted half an hour and the sun continued to shine bright and strong despite the hail storm; a very strange mix of weather!
There were a four other yachts in the anchorage but it certainly wasn’t crowded. We explored the various nooks and crannies of the bay by dinghy and watched the ducks and herons getting on with their daily business. Desolation Sound was certainly stunning and undeniably beautiful but for jaw-dropping splendour I think I prefer Princess Louisa Inlet.
Leaving Prideaux Haven was the official start of our southern migration which will ultimately lead us down to Mexico, Central America and Panama. No more north in our courses from now on – yay!!! We made 40NM the first day then were stopped in our tracks by a couple of days of strong SE’lies. We holed up in Secret Cove until the wind blew through and we knocked of a few more southerly miles crossing the Strait of Georgia in beautifully calm seas.
Now we are in Maple Bay visiting our friends Carolina and Steve for the last time before we leave Canada and head down to Puget Sound, back in the US of A.