Desolation Sound is small section of a very large area of fjords, islands and rivers in the North West of British Columbia, off the north coast of Vancouver Island. We were fortunate to be able to explore a section of Desolation Sound on ‘Speedwell’ (see June Log), with Jon’s cousin Garth & his wife, Fiona. They met us in Comox – a 3 day sail from their home port of Sidney on Vancouver Island.
We set sail across the Straits of Georgia toward Desolation Sound. First stop Lund, which is at the end of the road on the BC mainland, where we were obliged to test Nancy’s Bakery’s sticky buns!
From Lund we headed for Desolation Sound, leaving civilization behind us for several days. The sailing was terrific: the vistas of mountain ranges with snow-capped peaks in the distance, rocky islands with so many varieties of conifers and the ubiquitous red-barked Arbutis in our immediate surrounds, were breathtaking. We were astounded at the number of homes built on remote islands… how did they do it? How much time do they spend there?
We moved to a new anchorage almost every day, partly because we wanted to sail and partly because we wanted to see what new, breathtaking vistas would open up to us as we sailed up the Channels to the next stunning anchorage. The channels were deep (over 300ft), winds were flukey at times, but each day we managed a good few hours of stellar sailing. Anchorages were deep with rocky bottoms (with 90’ of chain we struggled to find 30’ of water), the tidal range is 8-12 ft, so the parks board provide lengths of chain drilled into rocks so one can tie a stern line to the shore. We were able to get ashore to hike from many anchorages and enjoyed the diverse landscapes, from grasslands to forest.
We had many firsts; Garth and Jon dropped a prawn trap in 300ft of water and came up trumps the following day with a bucket-load of prawns (the best ever); reversing rapids at Squirrel cove, where the water runs into a lake at high tide and back out at low tide; tugs with log booms trailing behind them, anchored & waiting for the 7 knot tides to change so they could go with the tide to their destination; Dodd Narrows, where the current through the narrows goes in the opposite direction to the tide (at 8 knots) forcing us to wait several hours; an otter feeding near the boat; Arbutis trees.
After a week of sailing Desolation Sound we headed back through the Gulf Islands to Speedwell’s home mooring in Sidney. It was wonderful to be cruising again, it was way too short – we hope to do it again soon.