Desolation Sound – just as I pictured it!

Desolation Sound in the late afternoon sunshine

Desolation Sound in the late afternoon sunshine

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.

Two seals sun-bathing in Sturt Bay, Texada Island

Two seals sun-bathing in Sturt Bay, Texada Island

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.

Neil standing on the log jam in Urwin Lake

Neil standing on the log jam in Unwin Lake

 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!

The fantastic view from Prideaux Haven

The fantastic view from Prideaux Haven

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!

Bright sunshine and hail - strange weather in Desolation Sound

Bright sunshine and hail – strange weather in Desolation Sound

 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.

Vancouver Island across the wonderfully calm Strait of Georgia

Vancouver Island across the wonderfully calm Strait of Georgia

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.

Playing chicken in Dodd Narrows with a tug boat towing a raft of logs

Playing chicken in Dodd Narrows with a tug boat towing a raft of logs

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.

More soon!

Suzy

  1. Bruce Stewart’s avatar

    Stunning country. Would love to cruise there one day. I see you guys are heading south to Panama. Where to from there – east to the Caribbean or further afield in the Pacific?

    Reply

  2. Ivan Byriel’s avatar

    Hi Neil and Suzy,
    Wow, another fantastic posting. What an adventurous life you guys are having on your lovely little sailing boat. It is like having National Geographic on my computer with automatic updates every couple of weeks. Fantastic !
    No doubt you will be distraught that you will miss the I.P.A. this year ! All that cutting edge technology you will miss ? No ? Not surprised. The industry here is D.E.A.D. Mati, and the government has pretty much said it will stay that way while they can import cheap oil from their brothers in the M.E. There goes exploration for a few years. Quest Exploration has just gone belly up.
    Alan and I are still on our ConocoPhillips project in Central Kalimantan. About half completed. Elnusa have followed their usual game plan. Bid it cheap and then perform poorly to maximise their losses. They are exactly on track as far as we can see. Their local “buddies” in COPI just don’t seem to be able to get over the level of incompetence that Elnusa are capable of, but Alan and I are just taking it in our stride, like the professionals we are (self pat on the back) Elnusa will end up blaming someone for the disaster, so both Alan and myself are expecting a sharp, stabbing pain between the shoulder blades at any time. And, you will miss Ramadan and Lebaran as well !!! The only time of the year you can drive across Jakarta with less that a full tank of gas and a cut lunch and 6 pack being necessary. I just KNOW that made you jealous ! (go on, admit it)
    Anyway, just wanted to touch base and say a BIG “Hello” from your old “teman” in Indonesia and to let you know I enjoy your blogs immensely. The GPS ship tracker site tells me every time you move anchorage, so I can relate Distant Drummer’s position to your blogs.
    All the very best and fair winds and calm seas and splice the main brace and all those other nautical salutations from the boring old jungle of a seismic survey crew in KalTeng. ATB mates.

    Reply

Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com