Circumnavigating Vancouver Island Flotilla | Day 10 | Sea Otter Cove to North Harbour

Dawn brought more fog but light winds and a lazy swell. With the tide low, we snuck out of Sea Otter Cove with a few feet (or inches for Epoch, which draws six feet) under the keels. The trip down the coast to Quatsino Sound was easy and uneventful. In July and early August, we saw a lot more traffic out here—mostly small sport fishing boats. This trip, the radar … Read more

Circumnavigating Vancouver Island Flotilla | Day 9 | Bull Harbour to Sea Otter Cove

With an extended forecast for good weather, we weren’t in a rush to get to Quatsino Sound. In fact, the forecast looked like the best day for rounding Brooks Peninsula—our next major hurdle after Cape Scott—is still a few days away. It’s enough time to spend a day at Sea Otter Cove, but not enough time to explore the inner part of Quatsino Sound. Our plan was to leave Bull … Read more

Circumnavigating Vancouver Island Flotilla | Day 8 | Port Alexander to Bull Harbour

After two nights at Port Alexander, we were ready to move on. The weather at Cape Scott still was a bit bumpier than we’d prefer, so we made the short trip to Bull Harbour. The next day looked better. In fact, the next day looked like the beginning of four days of light winds on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. Perfect! Bull Harbour is the last good, all-weather anchorage … Read more

Circumnavigating Vancouver Island | Flotilla Days 6-7 | Port McNeill to Port Alexander

Before leaving Port McNeill, we studied the weather obsessively. We had a plan A, plan B, plan C, maybe even a plan D. Basically, it looked like we might have an opportunity to get around Cape Scott on Saturday (day 6). We’d anchor in Sea Otter Cove, then continue to North Harbour in Quatsino Sound the following day. When we went to sleep in Port McNeill, this seemed to be the best … Read more

Circumnavigating Vancouver Island | Flotilla Day 5 | Forward Harbour to Port McNeill

Johnstone Strait has a reputation as a difficult body of water. Current can run to four or five knots. Surrounding terrain funnels wind through. The challenges for a boater are to avoid beating into the current (which can greatly prolong your time in Johnstone Strait), avoid wind-against-current situations, and avoid traveling in the dark (too much debris in the water). On a northbound trip, we want to ride the ebb … Read more

Circumnavigating Vancouver Island | Flotilla Day 4 | Cameleon Harbour to Forward Harbour

We’d hoped to make it into the Broughtons today, but the weather had other ideas. The typical summer weather pattern for Johnstone Strait is relatively calm mornings followed by building northwesterly winds in the afternoon and evening. Once the sun goes down, the northwesterly usually diminishes. Today, though, the northwesterly was blowing in the morning. The Chatham Point lightstation reported 25 knots of wind and four foot moderate. Fanny Island … Read more

Circumnavigating Vancouver Island | Flotilla Day 3 | Campbell River to Cameleon Harbour

On most of our flotilla trips, we take the “back way”—Yuculta Rapids, Gillard Pass, Dent Rapids, Greene Point Rapids, and Whirlpool Rapids—north from Desolation Sound to the Broughtons. This time, we’re in a hurry, so we’re taking the “highway” route. This route is less protected and less scenic, but shorter and only requires transiting one rapid: Seymour Narrows. Seymour Narrows is just eight miles north of Campbell River. Currents run … Read more

Circumnavigating Vancouver Island | Flotilla Day 2 | Nanaimo to Campbell River

We left the docks at Nanaimo just before 6:00 a.m. for the long cruise north to Campbell River (about 75nm). The forecast for the Strait of Georgia was quite good, so we figured we’d skip our planned stop in Comox and have a long (but hopefully calm) day on the Strait of Georgia. The downside to the calm conditions is smoke. Visibility was about one mile most of the day. … Read more

Circumnavigating Vancouver Island Flotilla | Day 1 | Roche Harbor to Nanaimo

We’ve started another flotilla, and will be circumnavigating Vancouver Island over the next four weeks! Our group met on Sunday at Roche Harbor in the San Juan Islands and headed for Nanaimo in the morning. The wildfire smoke has been pretty bad for the past few days, but today seemed like the worst so far. We left Roche Harbor by 7:00 a.m. and the sun was just a faint orange … Read more